“When you have a good friend that really cares for you and tries to stick in there with you, you treat them like nothing. Learn to be a good friend because one day you’re gonna look up and say I lost a good friend. Learn how to be respectful to your friends, don’t just start arguments with them and don’t tell them the reason, always remember your friends will be there quicker than your family. Learn to remember you got great friends, don’t forget that and they will always care for you no matter what. Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.” ~ Marilyn Monroe
Mother’s Day is just down the street—and it’s got me thinking about the women in my life.
I’m a mother. I’m also a daughter. I’m also a twin sister. I’m also a wife.
Women have so many roles to play, that sometimes it can be confusing; which hat we’re putting on or did we put on the correct outfit for those shoes?
Personally, I have a very difficult time dressing down from my “mommy” role—it infuses almost every cell of my being, even if I’m in the midst of a different character in my life’s story.
One role-confusion that I’m thankful for, though, is the marriage of friendship and motherhood that’s blurred the relationship with my own mom.
I’m so grateful that this kind, optimistic, gorgeous woman that I’m blessed to call “Mom” showed me from an early age how important female friendships are—because, I truly believe, that, as a female, the secret to happiness lies in how well you treat your relationships with others of your sex.
Friendships do come and go, sad to admit. Yet, the friendships that last are worth your time, effort and appreciation.
So, as this day of celebrating mothers approaches, here are reasons why female friendships are worth more than their weight in gold.
1. No one knows you like a girlfriend. Those embarrassing moments, those hard-to-recreate experiences of hilarity—your girlfriends know more about you than you’d like to admit to a judge and jury under oath. How special is that?
2. Only another woman can understand. There are a plethora of life occurrences that only another female will get. Don’t get me wrong, a good man will try (thanks, honey), but no matter how much effort he puts in, he cannot understand everything you go through. You know who can? Your girlfriends.
3. Wisdom. I’m also extremely fortunate to have been blessed with a wise mother. I’m aware that not everyone can say this. I know that I’m fortunate, but, let me tell you, being able to walk through life’s journey with someone who always (and I mean always) sees the pieces that I’m missing is enough to make me thank my lucky stars—and my mom.
4. Pedicures. Okay, this one might seem comparatively shallow (or at least, some of the commentors from one of my recent blogs would say this). However, there’s something purely relaxing and wonderful about sitting in a massage chair next to one of your best pals, delighting in something as basic as having pretty toes. (Yes, I’m aware that this could definitely be done with a man too, especially since one of my favorite movie scenes ever is Bernie Mac getting a pedicure in Bad Santa.) Let the negative feedback roll in, I’m sticking to my guns on this one—pedicures rock.
5. Evolution. I can see the evolution of my own self by looking at the friends I’ve chosen at various points in my life. At the same time, some of my closest female relationships have been around since I was born, or shortly after. Surely, these relationships are special and worth investing in. Likewise, rather than viewing out-grown alliances as a waste of time or something to lament, try looking at them as learning experiences and simple opportunities to see how far you’ve come.
6. Fun. There’s a reason that “girls night out” has a connotation of joie de vivre—women are a blast, plain and simple. All women every where need to have the occasional girls night out—or they should if they want more laughter and joy brought into their lives and souls.
7. Sharing. No, I’m not only referring to sharing clothing or make-up (although, truth be told, that’s great too). The stereotype that women are better communicators is not necessarily spot-on, but I really do think there is truth to the notion that women share more—and bare more—in our relationships than many of our male counterparts; and, speaking from personal experience, sharing words, thoughts and affection with my girls is enriching to my life on more levels then I can name.
8. Beauty is ageless. Cheesy, but absolutely true is that beauty is timeless. Some women actually do grow more physically beautiful as they age, but I’m not talking about this. As women grow older, there’s a certain confidence, radiance, and authentic inner light that dazzles. Wrinkles be damned, I can’t wait to get older.
9. Not all women are b*tches. Women have a bad rap as being catty and nasty to each other. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to find examples of this almost anywhere you look. Still, I think this is like most groups in life—the loudest, most annoying participants often get heard, but this doesn’t make them the majority or the most important. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that there are women who don’t judge each other harshly, who appreciate and lift up other ladies instead of dragging them down, and who possess the sort of self-acceptance that allows them to seek out other successful women; I know this because I am one. Believe what you want, but there are plenty of women out there who adore others of their sex—and who have no desire to tear them to bits.
10. We’ll likely be around for awhile. There’s a scene in Sex and the City where it’s mentioned that female friendships are important because, in the end, it’s just us anyways. Now, I know that I need my husband to stick around forever, and I’m certainly not putting too much stock into this sad thought. Regardless, girls, try to remember that your female friendships are important to maintain. Children grow up and husbands need their own space too. Don’t be a martyr. Put energy into your friendships.
Being a woman rocks.
Of course, there are downsides—I’m just not sure what they are.
So consider taking the time these next few weeks—even if you’re not a mother—to honor being a woman, and to honor all of the other women in your life who have helped shape you into your fantastic self. And if you are a mom, well, then “happy Mother’s Day.”
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta