Creating Relationships on Planet Mom
by Jean Blackmer
Lisa T. Bergren is the author of Life on Planet Mom: a down-to-earth-guide to your changing relationships. As a wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend, she’s discovered firsthand the value of creating and keeping strong, healthy relationships.
Lisa is the best-selling author of over thirty books. She and her husband have three children, ages 14, 11 and 6. She divides her time between running them to many different activities, corralling them for family dinners, taking part in Bible study and, in her spare time, writing and editing. Find out more about her at FamilyTripster.com and BusyMomsDevo.com.
How have you seen your relationships change since becoming a mom? By necessity, more of my time and energy goes to my children, so those other relationships in my life have to adjust, or in some cases, they’ve gone by the wayside. I see relationships as being like characters in a book. Sometimes they’re heroes or heroines, very visible in every chapter. And sometimes they become somewhat secondary for a while, reemerging in Part III for a big comeback. I’m into letting things flow naturally. It’s all very organic for me.
How can a woman keep her friendships strong and healthy? In our crazy, busy society it’s a significant challenge, yet so important, to spend time with our friends. Because we’re going in so many different directions we tend to put our friendships on a back burner. But women need their girlfriends! I try to regularly stay in touch with my friends. I do this by thinking about a friend, praying for her at that moment, sending her a quick e-mail or picking up the phone and calling her to say, “Hey, I have five minutes, and I just wanted to hear what’s happening with you today. I was thinking about you.”
Describe a relationship struggle you’ve experienced and how you handled it. I had a very close girlfriend; we got together once a week and even shared holidays and vacations with each other. We basically shared everything about our lives with each other for several years. Then, at one point she and her family became very involved with youth baseball, and they stopped going to church. I felt this was a mistake for her and her children, and I was very frank with her about my feelings. The conversation went poorly, and she withdrew from my life in total. It broke my heart. I was really sad for a long time. It was such a mystery to me how she could just walk away from our friendship and not look back.
I’m a loyal person so it went against everything in me. But from this experience, I learned I have to be able to speak my mind honestly and the response of the other person is up to them. I also learned to hold on to friendships with open hands. I had to let that friendship fade and concentrate on the other women friends I had and develop those relationships.
What guidance would you give to a mom who feels alone? Anything worth something takes effort. Reach out! Even if you’ve reached out before and met with resistance or defeat, reach out again, or reach in a different direction. Or try to say yes, like a friend of mine did when she moved to a new town. When anyone asks you to do anything, anywhere, say yes. It might not be your favorite thing to do, or work well in your schedule. But one opportunity always opens up other opportunities. Begin rolling in the right direction. Say yes. And become the kind of person people feel comfortable inviting.