Does your family create a summer bucket list?
My kids gave me a long list of things they want to do once school gets out.
It includes going to the zoo, the park, museums, and the beach. They would like to make crafts, host play dates, and have sleepovers with their friends. These activities all sound fun. However, if I can be honest here… I don’t look forward to most of it. I know that sounds awful but let me explain.
I love spending time with my little ones. The things we do together are super fun; there is plenty of laughter, joy, and teachable moments. But being with another mom and her little children makes everything so much more fun. As a work-from-home extrovert who spends most of her days staring at the computer screen, I have learned how vital it is to my spirits to connect with other adults my age. I know that grabbing a quick cup of coffee with a friend, or hanging out another mom during a playdate, recharges me. When I am recharged and refreshed, I am a better mom.
So when a friend calls and says, she and her kids would love to join us for a day, I am thrilled. Everything is better with a friend…
If we decide to go to the beach together, I can relax knowing two pairs of eyes are watching the children in the water. When it’s time for a bathroom run, I don’t have to schlep all my kids into one tiny stall because just one has to go. I could go on and on, but pretty much every play date or excursion is better with a friend!
Even if you are not an extrovert like me, friends make everything better. They lessen the workload, not just when you do things together with your kids, but when you volunteer, work on a project, or go through a rough time. Research shows that friends increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness, and reduce your stress. This isn’t just for grown-ups, it’s for kids too!
No one knows this better than 12-year-old Lena Daniels. She is the main character in the Faithgirlz series Lena in the Spotlight written by Alena Pitts and Wynter Pitts. In the first book of the series, Lena meets Mallory Winston, a famous Christian singer, and stars in her first movie. In Book 2 she embarks on a whirlwind adventure that takes her on the road to promote her film. She soon discovers that God may have more in store for her then she could ever think or imagine.
Now she’s back in the third book of the series, Shining Night. Just as Lena is getting back to ‘real’ life at home, she is presented with an opportunity to help a little girl in need. She rallies her school and community to pull off a huge fundraising concert. She quickly realizes she can’t do it without the support and her encouragement of her family and friends, as well as her foundation in God’s Word.
Not only does this book series teach kids the importance of having and being a good friend but it also shows them how their faith can and should be a part of everything they do no matter what your age.
There are plenty of times that I enjoy being with just my kids. They are my favorite people on the planet. However, they don’t take the place of good friends that can come alongside me to do both the fun and the hard stuff together.
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How has it been helpful for you as a parent to have friendships that can help you recharge? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!