Do you ever struggle with making friendships with other women?
When I became a full time working mother of twins back in 2007, the time I spent hanging out and nuturing my relationships with other women went down the drain! I was exhausted from sleepless nights and busy days at work so I preferred to spend any free time I had curled up on the couch with one of my littles, getting spit-up on my shoulder and changing diapers every 30 minutes (remember, I had two at once so there was a lot of feedings and diaper changes)! The dissipation of my female relationships was also compounded by the fact that I suffered from MAJOR mom guilt….how could I go out and hang with my girlfriends when I spent 50 hours a week (or more) at work, away from my twins?!
Fast forward 11 years. Pretty much any real female connection I had was gone. The only girl time that I had on a consistent basis was virtually with my fitness community. I kept blaming my husband for our lack of meaningful friendships. He’s a homebody and loves our quiet evenings home alone, as a family. While I truly enjoy this quality time, also, I kept feeling that something was missing. I knew I needed to stop blaming him and take control of what I wanted. And it all started with a little nudge from one of my fairly new friends who sent me a message about a weekend all female conference that was within driving distance to my house! My gut said an immediate “yes” so I went with it and immediately purchased a ticket!!
Well, the two weeks leading up to the conference were chaotic, bordering on crazy! A whirlwind Spring break trip to Washington, DC and New York City followed by arrival home Easter weekend to find my dad in the hospital. If I had not committed already (and bought a ticket), I would have cancelled. The other thing that kept me in the game- my friend (and truly an inspiration in my life) was coming to stay with me the day before the event. So double commitment, exactly what I needed! My past self would have said that I’m way too busy (and stressed) to be going away for the weekend and I would have backed out, thinking that nobody would miss me if I didn’t go. But now I HAD to go because others were relying on me!
To deal with the overwhelm, I set a small goal! I just had to make it to Andrea’s arrival on Thursday. And all that was between me and some girl time was getting hair and nails done and spray tan (cause you have to look and feel good for girls weekend, right), cleaning the house, packing, and the most importantly, screwing my head back on straight!
I took a deep breath on my trip out to the Albany airport to pick up Andrea. I couldn’t believe that I had made it without a major breakdown! Upon her arrival, I felt uplifted, happy and more energized! And the fun began!
Dinner out with Andrea and the family on Thursday! And then united on Friday with our girlfriend, Lorelei!! Off to the Herkimer Diamond Mines for a day of slamming rocks to break the gorgeous clear quartz crystals free to exert their power!! And then back in the car for our weekend adventure at the conference!
The Align and Rise conference put on by Ladies Aligned in Saratoga Springs, NY, was nothing short of amazing and EXACTLY what I needed to re-ignite my desire for REAL human female connection! Nobody came with an agenda… only to connect and find new female friends!! All women were authentic- showing up as their true selves.
And the weekend allowed us to tap in to who we are as women, show our vulnerabilities in a non-judgemental environment, and really commit to ourselves, each other and our futures in this world! I not only got to meet new women but I got to REALLY know the two amazing women who I went with! Sharing a room and drinking champagne in bed while sharing our childhood stories is called real connection- getting to know the core of the person who I call friend.
So why did I feel so connected to the women at this conference and feel so energized and happy upon returning home? Let me get all sciency on your for a second, because that is what I do as a doc! Hanging out with your girlfriends causes the release of a hormone called Oxytocin. It is the hormone that is released during pregnancy and also while in labor. But is also termed the “cuddle hormone” since it is released with contact, either human or even animals (like petting a dog)! It not only can strengthen the bond between a male/female couple but also enhance the connection between two women! So their is scientific evidence behind the feelings I had upon arriving home!
Check out THIS amazing article for the many benefits of having female relationships (it may be from 2005 but still very insightful)!
I also received the book A Tribe Called Bliss at the event. Funny story… I had purchased this book on audible in February but never finished listening to it since it didn’t resonate with me at that time! Now, 3 months later, I can’t put the book down! If you want to learn how to grow a girl tribe of your own, I suggest giving it a read! And, I admit, at the age of 46, it is harder to make friends. It requires effort. It requires dedication. But the benefits make it all worth it!
I am beyond grateful that I finally took the first step back to re-establishing my female friendships! I now commit to getting together with a girlfriend weekly since the natural high you feel from connecting with other women who are on the same page as you in life is exhilarating! And I commit to continuing to expand my network of friends since you can never have too many, right?
So now I ask you, when was the last time you spent quality time with your girlfriends? I challenge you to make this a priority, and soon!