Being a good friend and being good at adult friendships are not the same thing or easy. When I was younger, friendship was easy. I wrote letters with colored gel pens to friends sitting right next to me. [ As an adult it costs money and Canada Post is slow. ] Now, I am a parent and have responsibilities outside of the universe of best friendships [ BFFL ]. Time really does fly, just like my parents said it would. With each minute that gets eaten by adulthood, one more good intention does, too. What if one day all of my friends wake up and realize how much I suck at this friendship part of life? [ if they haven’t already ]
Whether or not you have kids and no matter what is going on in our lives, we all [ mostly ] have the ability to find time for what and who is important. As we grow up, that kind of prioritizing is something we all should do or try to learn to do. Kids or not. [ I am 100% bad at this ] Prioritizing doesn’t ever work in my favor. So this is an apology to those lost in this mayhem of my life. I may not manage it well, but I truly mean well. I blame myself for those failed friendships, [ but not the toxic relationships, those can stay where they are, in the past ] with the reasons of my lack of ability to balance friends, anxiety and life.
Being a stay at home mother of two young boys, I can honestly say that that ‘me’ time isn’t always there. If I am not making breakfast, stopping little aggressive toddler fights or wiping butts, I am making supper for Connor and cleaning the house; maintaining the messy status. I send a snap chat or two, text a couple people. But that is about it. Friends? What are those? Many people [ people as in my ‘friends’ ] have seemed to distance themselves when I had kids. I stopped partying at 19, what teenager does that? There is probably only a handful of people [ legit can count on one hand ] from my high school years that I talk to, through my kids and all. [ They understand my life because they didn’t leave. ] We are still very good friends, especially where it counts, they get it. [ side note: I am horrible at replying to people, following through with plans and I always avoid public places where I know people, so I am to blame for lost time ] I have had three jobs and have joined multiple groups for my kids since high school [ even rekindled with people from past friendships that just sailed away ] but honestly, none of those relationships lasted. I would talk to those people for days on end and then nothing, dead end. [ see ya, goodbye ] People have hurt me and I have hurt people who I did not mean to hurt. But I’m certain that the friends who we are meant to stay with forever understand that. People with children obviously have people in their life who are on another level of “importance.” I mean, they are literally and totally dependent. But as much as kids need their parents, we parents need other people, too. Some adult conversation. [ with someone not our spouse ] We may need to bitch about our spouse occasionally.
People tag me in memories on Facebook DAILY, from the past years. [ parties, embarrassing moments and friendly reminders of the exciting life I used to live. ]
“How have you been?”
“Remember this day?”
“So much fun!”
Yup, those were the days. I don’t remember a lot of them, off the top of my head but when Facebook, or someone reminds me, I remember. [ vividly ] I sometimes rely on Facebook too much, for birthdays, events coming up, special dates I am supposed to remember. I always seem to have good intentions and mean well to my friends, but sometimes it not seen that way.
I stare at all the beaming faces looking back at me in all these pictures daily. We’re laughing about something, [ 90% of pictures of me are candid laughing ] carefree and happy. I can’t take a decent picture, and if I do I am trying too hard [ even in professional pictures ] and it is a lot more work than it should be. We were all connected then. There was an unbreakable bond of friendship in the atmosphere, you could tell, even looking back. But now, we only talk every few months [ if that ] or not at all, mainly because messages often get forgotten; by me. [ 99.8% of the time it is me, not you ]. Guilt washes over me a lot, more often than not as I look at the date on some of the messages [ in any form ] and pictures I am tagged in. I have gotten in this habit just recently to delete messages, so the next day I have zero past messages, anywhere. Like many things in my life, some messages, reminders, etc. I get, I read them while I’m on the go; thinking to myself “I’ll respond as soon as I get the time”. And then life takes over. Every. Damn. Time. [ good excuse right? ]
As a parent of young children; boys, it feels like there’s a constant conveyor belt of things that I should get done, I have a daily schedule, lists everywhere. If I am not getting my kids dressed or fed, we’re getting groceries, running around town, taking them to appointments, going to the park; we just moved so times this by 1000 for things to do and I have a broken foot, in a cast for six weeks. This past summer, I tried to keep things as unscheduled as possible, there are always things that I have and wanted to do. Exclusive family time [ on SCHEDULED weekends because of the out of town work Connor was doing, the past eight months ], making dinner, visiting the grandparents, reading stories, walking the dog. Pure exhaustion at the end of the day [ at noon even, you feel the tiredness creeping in on you ]. At the end of the day the exhaustion stretches your ability to see straight; the kids sleep with us, so we’re not sleeping overall [ Connor was gone for so long, the kids want every inch of his attention ]. There is this non-stop juggling of time; time with the kids; with our partners [ sorry babe ], with our extended families [ they truly get a gold star for this past eight months; in-laws for the win ]. All of this on top of our mission to shape our young lives. Raising little boys to be men; that right there is a full-time job on its own.
And before I know it, it is not just the lost messages I lose. When I am able to manage the time to see friends, family even, it has to be on my schedule [ the schedule that is my kid’s 99.8% of the time ]. I don’t spend much time without my kids, so with wanting to see me, you get my kids too, every time. Everything I plan to do [ if I even get that far with plans; I usually end up bailing ] is either with my kids tagging along or kid friendly. When we do end up getting together, it’s not long before my kids go crazy because they are exhausted and need sleep. Though before I could freely be able stay up until the wee hours of the morning, chatting and laughing over pointless information and stories, with no interruptions.
I have changed. And I want to acknowledge it. I know I have been failing at being a good friend. But I promise it’s not forever.
I’m in the deep neck of the woods and nose deep in parenting little kids who need me for pretty much everything right now. But in this stage of life, this all doesn’t last forever, its in the moment, day by day. These little humans quickly grow up and need me less in time. They’ll learn to tie their own shoes one day, they’ll be able to get dressed without me having to switch their clothes to the proper way. They will soon make their own breakfasts. They’ll finally wipe their own butts, clean up their own messes. And as unspectacular as it sounds to you, I want to hold onto it as long as it presents itself. [ unless you are a parent, you won’t appreciate the little tedious things I am speaking of ] Because the good stuff will go quickly too. [ I bet you are thinking in your head, that our friendship has gone quickly as well, but if we really have a ‘friendship’ or any ‘ship’ at all, it will strive ] For my kids, I want to remember their little voices, the shape of their full adorable toddler bellies, I want to soak up this time when they think I’m the best, most fun and hilarious human that ever graced their earth.
When they start to grow up; not taller or bigger but becoming more mature, I will have more time on my hands. I’ll eventually learn how to balance this better. I’ll always be a mother. I’ll eventually be sleeping through the night again [ not waking up when I hear a deep breath two rooms down ]. I promise, I will be the good friend I want to be again. The good friend I still am.
In between my life and yours, I promise to understand. I know that life changes, our priorities and expectations change with us too. Because not only do kids happen, dream jobs happen. University/College happens. Moving happens. When you send me 25 messages and consistently text me so that there is always a message from you in my phone; I see you, I appreciate you. For you and I, we can have an hour conversation and be back where we left off in no time. And if I say that the only way you can hang out with me this month is to sit on the floor of my messy living room after the kids go to bed, understand my reason.
I’m still here. I’m still me. And I still value our friendship; if you can hold on, I promise I’ll see you soon. [ famous last words ] The most precious time of my life with my kids is moving so quickly and I don’t want to miss these moments. Life has gotten in the way of my friendships and I am really sorry for the neglect. I hope you understand.
But under any circumstance, I’ll be here when you need me.