“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”
— C.S. Lewis
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship recently and how my friendships have blossomed, ebbed and flowed over the years and at various stages of my life. I've also been thinking how motherhood can make maintaining and nurturing friendships a huge struggle.
I'm very lucky to have various groups of female friends ranging from lifelong childhood friends who live overseas, to my various mum friends that I have met over the years via my husband, work, hobbies, mother’s groups and school.
Recently I’d become pretty resentful about how hard it was to find the space in my hectic schedule to spend quality time with my girlfriends. We are always so busy and time poor – having rushed conversations in the playground at drop off or pick up, or only having time to send quick messages or comment on each other's FB posts.
Some of my friends live overseas and catching up with them is often brief but wonderful. It feels like no time has passed since we last saw each other. Sometimes we catch up together with our kids. Sometimes we catch up on our own. It is always too short and too long till time and money permits us to have our next reunion somewhere together in the world.
There is no doubt that female friendship and camaraderie is good for the soul and I find that I crave it more and more as my kids are getting older and are slightly less reliant on me. Perhaps this is because I went to an all girls’ school for 13 years or perhaps it is because I now have three sons and my house is full of smelliness and testosterone!
I came across this great article in the Huffington Post which explains the science which proves that friendships are great for women, what benefits are gained, and the reasons why we find it harder to nurture our friendships as life gets busier and more stressful. The article concludes that research proves the benefits of female friendship – and that spending time with girlfriends makes us healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and feel more beautiful!!
So it is a bit of juxtaposition that we don’t devote enough energy into spending more time with our current friends or making new friends.
This is why I came up with the concept for METreat Retreats. Some of the happiest times I've had in recent years are when I have gone away on various retreats. Sometimes I have gone on my own and had the pleasure of bonding with and creating new friendships with like minded women. Sometimes I have gone away with established friends. At these retreats, I felt like a younger and more carefree version of myself. Yes, we relaxed, restored, exercised and challenged ourselves – but most importantly we connected, laughed (oh so much) and had fun!! I honestly felt that I had tapped into something that had been buried deep down and suppressed by years of the relentlessness drudgery of some aspects of motherhood.
I would love for other mums to experience the joy and freedom of a weekend away together without the responsibilities of family and work life. I hope to provide the opportunity and space for mums to experience this renewal, restoration and rediscovery of the child within themselves. And I also think it is so important for us to be able to enjoy delicious food, drink wine and coffee and eat chocolate!!
For as Linda Grayson so aptly put it:
“There is nothing better than a good friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate!”