- Do you feel like you are constantly cancelling plans?
- Do you feel guilty for not seeing your friends so much?
- Or do you feel guilty when you do go out as you could be spending time with the kids or your other half?
- Do you maybe feel like you’ve moved on from some friends?
Well you’re not alone!! It happens to us all.
My friendships have all changed since I became a mother. My priorities have changed, my energy levels have changed and my freedom has most definitely changed. My son has lately declared he has his first ‘best friend’ and this has set me thinking. The boys have known each other since they were six months old. They fight like cat and dog but love each other like brothers and it makes me smile to see them together. It also makes me a little sad at how I have let some of my own friendships slide a bit (ok a lot!).
I have been friends with my best friend since we were 6 years old. We moved into the house next door and her parents invited me to join in their barbeque. We were inseperable from then on. But we had a complicated relationship. We didn’t agree on a lot of things. We had other friends who didn’t all hang out and we liked different things. How did we survive? I have no idea! It just worked. And now 26 years later we are the same. She is my constant. I met my other best friends when I was 17, I lived with them at university for 9 months and even when I dropped out we stayed close. We couldn’t be more different but yet here we are still in each others lives. But the challenges we face now are testing us.
Before kids I was a party girl. If I wasn’t working I was out. If I had a free weekend the party was at our place. We did group weekends away, couples nights out, girls holidays. Inside of me still beats the heart of that girl but she’s just so goddam tired. Sure we’ve all got older so that definitely factors in to. But have I just been neglecting my friends? Because my life changed did I just opt out of their lives? How do you go about getting back on track?
With my best friend we can go for a long time without talking, infact we have never chatted on the phone. We will message each other and see each other at least once a month though. I wish we lived closer so it was easier to spend time with her. As it is it’s a 3 hour round trip to catch up so it’s tough. I think with us both working too it can seem like a massive struggle to fit visits in which is the problem we face at the moment. Once the kids are grown a bit I’m hoping it will get a little easier to grab more time together but for now it is what it is. We have survived other obstacles so this period is just another part of our lives we are manouvering together.
I have an assortment of other friends. I guess I am lucky in that respect. I have different groups and different ‘types’ of friends. ‘Mummy’ friends who I onlu got to know through the kids, yet some days these ladies pull me through and I can be so open with them without risk of embarassment and even the offer of gin! I have work/social friends who have little to do with my family life and are sometimes the perfect antidote when you want away from it all. I have old shool friends who I can reminise with and have a proper laugh. I also class a massive bunch of women on a facebook baby forum as friends as I feel like I know them as intimately as anyone else even though we’ve never met.
So you have a free day, you’ve made plans to catch up with your mates…you just can’t be bothered! If these are your close mates they will understand, but not if it keeps happening. You have to have the kind of honesty to let them know why you aren’t around. If they have kids themselves chances are they will get it. And the ones without kids just need you to let them know – they aren’t mindreaders. A couple of friends of mine literally seem to have dream lives. They have their own places, steady jobs and lots of friends and good social lives. Yet they are constantly there for me. They drive bloody hours just to come see me and my terrors when they could be getting their nails done instead. It is this kind of sacrifice that has earned them my undying love. They might not have a clue how I’m feeling sometimes, but are there and that means everything. I know these are relationships that I am definitely failing at though. It doesn’t worry me too much as I know I will regain ground in the future when life settles for me and then I can be the one to do the running more for them. But have to remind myself sometimes to take a minute out and just be there for them. Ask them how their week is going, remember when they have big events coming up. We are close enough that they know me and know how much they means to me. Sometimes the key is just telling people what they mean to you and his is what most of us forget to do. Maybe right now you don’t have time for the kind of relationship you once shared but if it’ s something you want to keep hold of you have to put in a little effort.
When things start breaking down it’s generally because neither of you are that interested in keeping it going – much like any relationship! I have lost a few friends over the years, we would probably still stop and pass the time of day with one another, comment on a facebook post and send a card if they had a baby or got married. But we just don’t have space for them in our lives anymore. And that’s ok. With a husband, two kids, my family, a full time job, a blog, baking and some charity work…somethings got to give.
It can be hard to juggle everything and ultimately the sacrifice is always going to be social – you can’t jack in your job or hand a baby back when things get too much! But you can slowly start removing yourself from friendships. As long as this is not a sacrifce that makes you sad. If going out makes you pine for home then don’t go. You won’t enjoy yourself and your friends will notice and feel like you aren’t giving them your all. If you aren’t getting anything in return from a friendship then remove yourself from it and see how you feel after a few months. If staying in has become the norm and you need a change then get back out there. If you can’t physically get back out there can you call a friend who could come to you for takeaway and wine?! This solution is particularly useful for other mums who can’t always get babysitters or don’t want to get out their jammies! Ultimately we need to take a deep look at our relationships and decide for ourself how we feel.
My friends will all know who they are from reading this and I’m sure I’ll be hearing from them later! (Least it’ll show me who’s reading this damn thing! 😂)
Do you think you have a good balance? Look forward to hearing from you all as always!