During the early days of the pandemic, after panic shopping and doomscrolling and screaming into the void and staring into space wondering when life might be normal again, Car and I started a habit of the 3×3. In our three set focus areas (mine was House, Creative, Other), we would pick our top three priorities of the day, and then swap our lists. It was simple, basic, and perfect for starting to find our groove in whatever the heck 2020 kind of normal was.
It wasn’t entirely a new concept. We had been encouraging each other and leaning on our friendship as an accountability tool since the days of daily chat threads on Facebook. If I had a particularly overwhelming to-do list, I would share it and update photos as I ticked things off. Some days Car would have a pile of work to get through, and would have a moan about it and then pop back in on her breaks to say hi, give a quick update, and disappear again.
It was almost like our chat was our office tearoom. I’ve been a stay at home mum for 16 years. Car works from home. Our chats in their various forms, are where we go to swap stories of our kids and husbands, chat about our projects, moan about our to-do lists.
When I first came across the twitter thread introducing me to the phrase “errand hang”, it immediately made me think of how technology enables friendship to become ingrained in the everyday. Car will message from the school pick up line. I’ll message from the maccas car park waiting for the teen to finish work. She knows what nights I go out, I know what mornings she’s out the door for school early. Having a friend in our pocket is a little glimpse into a side of their life we might not normally see. Sharing those glimpses ourselves, allows us to be seen. As a stay at home mum, I’m a bit of an outlier amongst the kid activity circles I run in. All our children are older, so most of the other mums are back at work and their kids in school (or off at boarding school), while I’m still at home full time & homeschooling. Knowing there’s someone at the other end of the chat to cheer me on without judgement even if I’m having a spoiled housewife tantrum, it’s encouraging. It’s true friendship.
In the depths of the pandemic, it’s been helpful to have an anchor in the same-sameness of lockdown repetitiveness. Someone who will remind us that doing the days takes more than doomscrolling the 11am presser. Someone to watch old 90s dramas with. Someone who isn’t stuck in your house with you, to applaud another row of knitting. Someone to remind you there is a big old world out there, and one day it will be open to us again. Even now we are past the days of lockdown, the level of connection persists.
Right now, it’s Car messaging me about the news story she’s reading. It’s me messaging as I think out loud if I really need a third coffee at 8.15. It’s a friendship built over a decade and a half, from sharing projects to sharing stories of our kids to sharing our daily rhythms. It’s routine, it’s mundane, but somewhere along the way, it turned into a little bit of ministry magic.