The National Mall will be glowing green today, as more than 300,000 Girl Scouts from across the nation gather to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of their founding.
I was never a Girl Scout, although I should get an honorary merit badge for my love of Thin Mints and Samoas (I was briefly one of the Campfire Girls, who may be featured somewhere around the dinosaurs at the history museum).
Girl groups aside, all of this focus on female camaraderie has me thinking about my own girlfriends.
With kids, careers and the whirlwind of everyday life, it can be difficult to make room for girl time. However, research shows that women with strong female social networks live longer and deal better with stress, which in-turn affects your immune system, heart, body weight and mental health.
Unfortunately, society is more disconnected than ever. Despite being surrounded by technology designed to grow our networks, it is easy to observe our friends passively instead of reaching out and interacting.
Here are a few ideas to help you connect:
- Book Club: The offers "Book Clubs to Go!" kits, complete with a binder of questions to jumpstart discussions. The benefit: Great gab time. The book discussions always lead to interesting conversations, as folks share their thoughts and related past experiences.
- Dog Park: Alexandria has numerous dog parks and each one has a different personality. Sure, my dog needs to play. But really, I go for me. I don’t know what I would do without my dog park girlfriends. The benefit: Happy dog, happy ladies.
- Exercise: Stick your tot in childcare at and take a yoga or Pilates class. Get a few girlfriends together for an early-morning power walk or stick your kiddos in the jogging stroller and run to the playground. The benefit: While enjoying the company of friends, you get a workout.
- Play Dates: Motherhood can be crazy, and is not meant to be forged alone. Get together at a house or a park and let the little ones loose while you chat. When my oldest daughter was an infant, my circle of moms was from prenatal yoga and birthing class. We learned so much from each other. The benefit: Adult interaction and a group to share the joys and weather the storms.
I’m glad that there are organizations like the Girl Scouts that help reinforce the importance of healthy and strong relationships between females of all ages.
Earlier this week, while attempting to research for this article between diaper changes and craft projects, my phone buzzed with a text. A few minutes later, a fellow mom-friend stood at my front door with a latte.
“Something in my head told my you might need some caffeine, too,” she said.
Girlfriends are the best.
How do you connect with your girlfriends? Tell us in the comments.