PLANNING GAL PAL TIME

Over here, I shared five perks and benefits that come from prioritizing gal pal getaways – basically the WHY you oughta elbow room into your schedule for them…

gal pal getaways
five different states but one sisterhood | taken in the foyer of the newly renovated SMU Theta house (March 2018)

This time, I’m back to share about H-O-W to prioritize this special time with your gal pals.


gal pal noun
informal
 1. a female friend.

So, first something that’s always made me feel a bit quirky and awkward is that I don’t have or do “best friends”. It could come across as judgmental – and honestly for awhile, it has been – but the main reason I prefer gal pals is because I quite simply crack under the pressure of a “best” friend; being one and having one.

I don’t think I’m up for the stuff that comes with what I imagine that to be and I’m 45 years old y’all – I’m trying to win as much as possible as I’m approaching 50 – and the thought of failing at friendship because of stress and comparison-living is not for me.

I don’t want to put that much pressure on anyone else either.

Don’t get me wrong – I long to have the connection with another woman, or several where I can be honest about my hair falling out, my challenges with being a great steward of God’s money or simply share about the hurt in my mama heart that my first and only child has strolled up out of our living situation and really, truly has not looked back.

I value friendships with women.

Not just what I can glean from the relationships but what I believe I have to offer.

And I’ve been blessed. The women in the last post are only a few of the women I consider myself fortunate to be close to. And maybe we don’t get always away to hotels, but we do spend three hours around a kitchen island talking and catching up on weeks at a time while the littles play in the next room under our watchful eye.

gal pals
we’ll take the connection time where we can get it, right?

Or they meet me at the local coffee shop even though they don’t drink coffee (I know, how are we still friends???) just to listen to and hear me.

There has been a 12-day cruise to the Mediterranean.  There have been spa retreats, sleepovers in one another’s homes. There have even been babysitting co-ops where we swap children in a rotation so that the other momma can run back home for 3 hours, soak in the tub and make it back in time to chat over a piece of cake before tucking her littles in bed back at home.

After being widowed 13 years ago, I learned the value of female friendships in a way that I don’t wish on anyone. My identity was shaken as I was ripped out of the “married’s club” and quickly learning to navigate the world of single motherhood. There were blessings and highlights, most of which light up in mind in connection with good friends.

___

I have been studying the book of James (c-o-n-v-i-c-t-i-n-g!!!) and in chapter 4, I kind of got hit in my face…

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

I was reading and receiving for something completely different but thought of how this can be applied to all of the women out there who just do not think that their season lends itself to prioritizing quality time with their friends.

Friend.

Woman.

You.

I hope you’ve not checked out, that you’ve not already thrown in the towel or waved your flag of surrender – you can do this!!! If ever you’ve scrolled down the page of a friend’s feed and couldn’t bring yourself to click on their post without envy, comparison or just feeling your stomach turn inside a little – you NEED to do this.

I’ll show you how.

First?

B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Kind of for me too, because I realize I was holding my breath when proofreading this…

gal pal getaway
just the two of us for a girl’s night in downtown Fort Worth (April 2017)

This is not just for mamas of young children, multiple children, home schoolers, married women or those who work outside the home. This is for every single woman reading these words (and the few men who read and consider these words to help them love on their wives – you’re welcome!).

If you’ve ever once longed to have some time to just be you with other women who see and love you, then pay attention.

PLANNING INTENTIONAL TIME WITH YOUR GAL PALS

1. Give yourself permission, admit that you desire this

Whatever reason you’re telling yourself you CAN’T do it is the first thing you need to speak against.

“My husband says we don’t have money for stuff like this.”

“I’m working a lot of overtime and can’t see it fitting into my schedule.”

“There’s just so many of them – and they all need me at the same time (as you step away to find the one who got super quiet).

Those things may seem like the reason you can’t make this time a priority but it’s not true. Maybe you’ve not given yourself permission to express your need or desire for this kind of time. If you truly could say to yourself – without apologizing or downplaying it – that you need and want this kind of time, your responses to the above would objections may sound like this instead…

“My husband says we don’t have money for a big getaway this quarter, but he did say he’d take the kids to his parent’s house for the weekend so I could host a much more economical option here.” (Yep, you’ll want to clean, but the best gal pals will come early and help ya!)

“I will look ahead over the next 6 weeks and determine what I have to lose by not taking a few breaks from work to spend with (fill in the blank) and my gal pals. Even an afternoon off and lunch with my other gal pals taking a “wellness break is better than nothing at all.”

You, with the house full-‘o-kids (for the record, two children – in my opinion – puts you in this category) ALL THE MORE REASON FOR YOU TO GET AWAY AND SPEND TIME WITH YOUR GAL PALS. Heck, you probably just need time alone and in that case, contact me here for help.

2. ALL OF THE HACKS, TIPS, WORK-AROUNDS YOU USE IN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, APPLY THEM HERE TOO

You already know how to make time and space for the things that you feel you ought or should be doing. You do!

How do you work that 65-hour job every week? How do you keep all five of your children alive everyday? How do you ensure you have gas to run the countless errands all before scooting into the pick-up lane after school on time?

You figure it out.

A little tweak that I would add to this one is work backwards with the end result in mind.

What I mean is. Take a whole minute to consider dream of what a successful gal pal getaway would leave you feeling at the end of it. Really, set your timer, close your eyes and picture it.

Do you want to share space with others who get your season of life (and level of energy) with good food and lots of options to nap? Then you may want to plan a getaway with plenty of space.

Do you want to finally take that cooking class you’ve all been Marco Polo-ing about and eat all the food that no one else in your house enjoys?

Do you want to return energized because you shared some of your dreams and got the encouragement and direction you’ve been needing to take that next step?

gal pal
always time for coffee! (March 2018)

Or do you want to return feeling understood and heard like only a great gal pal can (nothing against those amazing husbands out there, but you have to admit – we do have our own language)?

Once you decide how you want to walk back into your life after you and your gal pals go your separate ways – and all the gals need to agree on this, otherwise there’s just stress and unnecessary friction – then start planning from there.

3. DO YOUR PART, WORK FROM YOUR STRENGTHS

This time is meant to help you alleviate stress, move out of your stucknness and give you a break from your overwhelm. Unless you intend to, it’s not the time to take on a new thing or stretch your learning curve.

It’s time to tap into the things you’re curious about, excited for and that give you life.

Are you the foodie in the group? Go ahead and research recipes or restaurants you know the majority of the gals will enjoy.

Are you the question asker? Pray that God will help you be extra attentive so you know when and how to ask the important questions to help your friends dig deeper, to become unstuck. (This is me! I’m so grateful I have friends who get this + seem to love this about me.)

Are you the silly one? Be sure to bring an activity or game that everyone can opt into with a small learning curve.

Are you the thoughtful, gift giver? Then make up goodie bags and personalize them for each of your gal pals for them to enjoy long after the getaway is done.

Whatever your strength is, think of how it can benefit the group and offer it ahead of time so that the other women can lighten their load/shift their focus to the part they will own.

It’s not about being “on” or having it all together.

Time with these women is about encouragement – yours and theirs – learning and growth. At least that’s what mine are often about and what keeps us prioritizing time in our schedules for more.

4. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

If you’re like me, you can go into a time like this with a whole lotta expectations and before you know it, you’re trying to steer and guide the group to meet what’s happening in you.

This is tricky.

I believe that our time is the most valuable thing we have to give, because those enjoying quality time with us are getting to see who we really are; they’re receiving from our gifts. And this is great!

Unless we only think about ourselves.

gal pal
me showing the ladies Texas (March 2018)

The hardest thing for me about these kinds of times is that I don’t really always understand why women would want to include me in their group; why they want to spend time with me.

I’m not cutting myself down (or rather, I’m not trying to), but I’m a bit of a nerd. My mind is best in think mode – so what I say and how I respond to people isn’t always polished or pretty. I’m often misunderstood and though I really want people to like me, many do not. I’m also still struggling – yes, at 45yo – with insecurity in some areas that I need other God fearing/loving women to speak into from time to time.

So when I meet women who genuinely want to sip wine, laugh, talk, share and connect away from their men, kids, jobs and stressors – WITH ME – I’m fascinated.

Fascinated and grateful. And excited.

I’ve been making time for gal pal getaways for decades.

I’ve seen and understood the value of them for a long time.

And I think you do too.

But, if you don’t do it, let me ask you – why? And at what cost?

The scripture says, “you do not have, so you kill.”

And I believe we do. We kill off a part of who we are as women in the doing and being to everyone else forgetting (or tying to forget) that before we were his wife, we were a woman with friends. That before we became their mom, we were women with friends. That before we took that job or got that promotion, we made time to check in on or be with our friends.

At least I hope we were because women need other women in their lives.

gal pal getaways
the end of our tour at the Adolphus Hotel, downtown Dallas (August 2018)

Accept that it may look different – the time with your girlfriends, but do not lie to yourself and tell yourself that you no longer want or need it. And don’t beat yourself up.

Once you get comfortable owning what you desire in your relationship with women, you’ll begin to more readily attract it.

It’s a process. And it requires practice.

Be gentle with yourself and your friends, but do not give up on it.

Your soul needs it and theirs do too.

 

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