Thank you! Moms with many children need friends, even though it might sometimes seem like we are completely unavailable and sometimes not the best of friends ourselves. Moms of many still need friends – even though we are surrounded by people, we can get lonely. We need to have a friend to confide in, and adult conversation is greatly appreciated! In order to make things easier, I have a few tips that might help you in your endeavor.
First, and probably most importantly, friends of moms with large families need a lot of patience. It may take forever for us to return a call. Please don’t take it personally! Some days there is literally no quiet moment. Most of my friends have stopped calling. The screaming in the background is so distracting. Our free time is extremely limited. Extra kids means extra chores, and this may or may not get easier as our children get older. Our resources are stretched in many directions, and our children require a lot of our time and attention. Finally, please be patient with our forgetfulness! Managing a large family means a lot of moving parts and a lot of appointments, schedules, lessons, and schooling to manage. I might forget what I told you last week. Please, do not take it personally, I sometimes forget my kids’ names.
Second, hospitality is so important. When we invite you over, please know that every part of the house has been cleaned at some point this week, but it takes a minor miracle to get it all done at the same time! If I waited until my house was perfectly clean, we might not meet until we are drawing our social security checks. Please come over to see me and the kids, not the house. And don’t be afraid to invite us over to your place. No matter how big or small the house, it seems that people like to congregate. And if you are brave enough to invite us over, we promise to help clean up so that you will want invite us over again. Besides, there is always something to do, so we won’t have a long time to stay.
Third, flexibility is important. As with any friendship, being adaptable makes things easier. For example, there is rarely a good time to call my home! As soon as I answer, at least half of the children need me, or the baby starts crying, or the dog starts barking at the UPS guy! A Facebook message or a text (if the kids haven’t lost my phone lately) are much better ways to get a hold of me. Better yet, a great way to spend time with a mom of many is to abduct her – out to dinner without kids is a great way to keep her attention, and, given enough notice, most moms of many would appreciate a night out without the little ones.
Being friends with a mother of a large family can be a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it. Befriending these moms means that you have more choices when arranging marriages (just kidding, sorta). But seriously, you can be sure that even if your friend is not so available, she has plenty to offer up, and can be a great resource for prayers for your own parenting journey. And if she has a lot of kids, she will probably have some experience with the struggles you are going through with your own. Moms of many can be great shoulders to cry on or problem solvers when you need to brainstorm.
So, I hope you will give it a try, and persevere! While moms of many may require a little extra effort to befriend, I hope you find that the friendship is worth the extra effort.