Hours of chatting on the phone with girlfriends are seemingly a thing of the past. Nowadays it’s either text messages, chats over play dates, or maybe a quick call during the commute home. I envy the mothers who seem to have figured out a better balance and who can keep up regular girl’s time. I haven’t figured out how to weave that balance into mommyhood well.

Busy Friends Across the Country

There is a group of four of us girls who have been friends for decades. We’re in different stages of lives: widowed with kids, married with kids, divorced and dating, etc., but all of us have one thing in common: finding free time is hard. We’ve also spread across the country – three of us in different parts of Florida and one in Pennsylvania. So, how do we keep up with each other?

Do you ooVoo?

A couple of years ago, I was listening to a co-worker complaining about his 12-year old son constantly on group video chats with his friends. I asked what technology he used to do this. I just used FaceTime and didn’t know of a way to have a video chat with more than one person. He asked his son who told him about an app called “ooVoo”.

I looked into this application and found that surprisingly the technology was free, and (maybe more surprising) I could easily use it. My girlfriends and I installed the apps on our phones or tablets and we had our first call. The call quality was good – we could all hear and see each other clearly.

To be clear, I am not compensated in any way by ooVoo and I am sure there are other applications that provide a similar service. They recently updated their app and there are a lot of complaints in the app reviews about messaging and group lists. I’ve never used these functions, so it’s still the same to me. Also, I find it’s not so much this particular application as it is the ability to easily have a group video conference call using a phone or tablet.

Our Monthly Virtual Lunch Dates

Ever since our first call we started setting a regular monthly call. Once a month we take a weekday lunchtime and block off an hour for a virtual lunch. We agreed that if at least three of us can make the call we’d keep it on the calendar and if there were not enough people for the scheduled time that we would try to re-schedule or hold until the next month. We grab our lunch before the call and eat while we’re catching up.

While this certainly doesn’t substitute for times away together, it does help staying in touch. Some months this is the only way I am in touch with the girls. Other months I’ve been lucky enough to see or talk to one or some of the girls, but when we get the four of us together there is always something to talk about.

It still seems funny to use video conference with friends, but I’ll take time with my girlfriends any way I can and in this busy season of our lives this option works well.

~ Aimee

Story was originally published at www.StandTallMama.com