If you've been following me for a while then you know that every year, around this time, I meet up with 4 of my friends for our Annual Girls Weekend. This year marked our 10th year of weekend get-aways. 10 years. I almost can't believe it. It's not hard to believe that we've been friends for that long... in fact we became friends before that... with 1-2 of the friendships going back nearly 20 years. But that five women have committed to taking the time and paying the money to go on a girls trip for 10 years in a row feels huge to me. That is commitment that moves me.
So Many Excuses to Not Get-Away!
That means that 5 incredibly busy women have prioritized time away with each other and made it happen. No matter what.
- No matter that during that time we've had 3 divorces... everyone has come, every year. We've celebrated 2 weddings... and we have one more coming up this December!
- No matter that 1 girl is on a strict budget and 2 have often used credit cards to come... everyone has come, every year. Even when they got hit with HUGE tax bills, bought new houses, had cars die, gave up per diem hours to attend, and had to scrimp in other areas to make it work.
- No matter that my girlfriends have birthed 5 babies during that time. We have, in fact, had someone pregnant more years than not, including last year when one of them was 8 months pregnant. Everyone has come, every year. Even the year when one of the girls had a late miscarriage the day before the trip... she came.
- No matter that our work schedules are insane-- conference attendance, speaking schedules, book launches, private practices to run, and a dozen reasons to say "I'm too busy!" Everyone has come, every year. Including this year when one woman had to return from a business conference, barely kiss her kids and husband, and then get back on a plane to head off to see us.
- No matter that it inconveniences our husbands/boyfriends because they have to sacrifice the money, watch the kids, and do life alone for a few days. Everyone has come, every year. Even the years when some of the girls didn't have a spouse, they had family watch their kids and they still came. Even the spouse who isn't available 7-8 months out of the year steps up joyfully if we can plan around his schedule!
- And speaking of kids... between my 4 girlfriends, they mother 8 children, ranging this year from 10 months old to 15 years old. But they come every year... I shake my head in awe...
Kids and Girlfriend Get-Aways
I don't want to downplay the commitment I make to be at Girls Weekend every year, because no matter whether we have kids or not, all of us have full and busy lives; but I absolutely am in awe of my friends who are moms who don't use that as an excuse to not show up for their friendships. When I hear about the Little League games my friends are missing by being gone, the extra stress it puts on their spouses those weekends, or the times when their kids are sick and they aren't home to nurse them... I stand in deep gratitude for these women.
Here are some tips I've picked up from them that might help make it easier for other mom's to make the very difficult choice of justifying a get-away weekend:
- Daddy Time: Several of them said, "It's actually kind of awesome to watch our kids have these special weekends with Dad... yes it's stressful in some ways, but this way they get to plan pizza night, feel like they have Dad's undivided attention, and create memories."
- Modeling to the Kids: With statements like "I can only hope that my girls are watching me do this and looking forward to the days they are grown up and get to do girls weekends!" and "I just tell my kids-- just like you get to go a have a slumber party sometimes, this is Mommy's slumber party," my friends are teaching their kids that friendship is worth scheduling.
- Expectation Management: They all agreed, "Actually, the more we all do it, the easier it gets. Now it's not a surprise or a hardship to go away as much as it was in the early days, the families just know it's going to happen and they're practiced."
- Personal Self-Care: Now when I ask them why they come, most of them just say, "I wouldn't NOT come!" or "This is the best weekend of my whole year!" We all recognize it as the time when our own cup gets filled up with love. We process life, share what's making us happy, talk about our fears, and become better people for having been away. I think, undoubtedly, that we all show up back home with more love to give.
I do think, like anything, that the more one does it, the more meaningful and easy it becomes. One girlfriend weekend may, or may not, change anyone's life or feel worth the stress... but you add up the years and how much value we add to each other's life, and I really do believe that we are adding years to our lives. And each year we can go deeper, share more vulnerably, cheer for each other more loudly, and laugh so much more. We've made our weekends meaningful and life-saving.
Today I just wanted to pop into your inbox to say that no matter what excuse feels so true for your life... I am one loud vote on the side of you saying yes to some friendship time that extends beyond a lunch or dinner. Something about staying up late laughing and snorting, waking up and whispering about life, and spending a long full day together is truly as magical as life can possibly get. Keep it cheap, keep it easy, and keep it meaningful-- but whatever you do, get the invitations emailed and get that date on the calendar!
p.s. Huge love to Valerie, J'Leen, Karen, and Krista for juggling friendship as one of the priorities of your very busy and full lives. I am blessed by your commitment. xoxo
p.s.s. Other posts about Girls Weekends: