Monday, June 21, 2010

We All Need Girltime

I recently read an article about “Mancations” and “Girls’ Weekends” and it made me think. I’ve never had a Girls’ Weekend. I love the idea in theory and I admire the Moms who take them. What a way to nurture yourselves! But, I’m not sure I could do it. I miss my boys terribly when I’m gone (for work), I hate being away more than I have to, and I can't bear the thought of leaving them overnight.

Luckily, my closest female friend is also the primary breadwinner working full-time outside of the home and she has similar feelings about leaving her boys. Our bonding tends to revolve around our kids. Not fully relaxing, I’ll admit.

But, who else will listen to me complain about how I rushed out of the house late, drove around the block, ran back in to get my lunch, and arrived at work on time but with my shirt on backward? And still respect me? And smile and nod in a way that says “Been there, done that”?

So, we talk about what our guys are doing, we catch up on each others' families, we gripe about work, and we hatch fantastical schemes about how we could spend more time at home (without losing income). Girltime is for venting, sharing stories, and feeling less silly or more silly (depending on our needs at the time).

Women’s relationships with other women provide an essential source of support. We’re drawn together by an innate interpersonal need, which is strengthened by socialization. Even introverts like myself, who fade into the background in large group gatherings, thrive on the closeness and intimacy of good girlfriend relationships. This is all part of good self-care.
Friendship self-care also means slaying the energy-sucking relationship vampires in our lives. We've all had them - girlfriends who are constantly needy, high maintenance, and rarely reciprocate. Your time and energy are too limited and too precious to waste on one-way adult relationships.

Self-care means surrounding ourselves with positive, nurturing, reciprocal relationships characterized by care, respect, and give and take. There are tons of studies citing the health benefits of having a strong support network and using it. Being with others, spending time with them, feeling connected and supported are all essential to good emotional and physical health.

Make time for your girlfriends, in whatever form that works best for you. Self-care is for you, it helps you be better with others, and it can definitely include others.

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