I’m sorry I’m not the greatest friend in the world. I could be so much more attentive and involved, make so much more effort. Kind of like I used to, before having kids.
Friendship has changed for me since I settled down and had babies, as it probably has for most mums over the years. Before kids, socialising was all we did – Friday night drinks were standard and we’d have all sorts of other plans together.
When babies came on the scene our friendship changed dramatically. As we became knee-deep in nappies and breastmilk, our catch-ups morphed into playdates over coffee and banana bread rather than over a bottle of red in a trendy bar. We still chatted and connected, but it became about motherhood, blocked milk ducts and sleeping through the night. The days of long deep and meaningful conversations had changed forever, and I think that might be partly my fault.
The thing is, friendships for me have never been the same since starting a family. I blame myself. Life is so full on now that making the extra effort in my friendships just doesn’t get a look in. But there are a few things I want you to know.
I’m sorry I never call
Who has time for phone calls these days anyway? Phone calls and motherhood just don’t mix, and I’m kind of guessing you’re the same. You should hear me go off at the tele-sales people when they call one too many times, usually when I’m right in the thick of everything. I really let them have it. Phone calls are just another interruption in the day, and I’ve got enough of those going on, which is why I would never bother you with one.
We barely see each other
I know it can be months in between our catch-ups and when we do get together we always spend the first 10 minutes apologising for the lack of contact, explaining how crazy life has been. This makes me think it’s as hard for you as it is for me. Once that’s out of the way, we get on with the nitty gritty, and I love that we can still connect, gossip and share our deepest hopes and dreams with each other, just like we used to. The face-to-face events may be few and far between, but I LOVE the way we can just get back into the swing of things as soon as we catch up.
Read more on friendships after kids:
- An open love letter to my mother’s group: “You’ve kept me sane all these years”
- When this anxious mum reached out, a “village” were there to change her life
- The 6 types of friends you make when you become a mum
I’m not always focussed on our conversation
Okay, I’ll level with you, and this is especially true if we’re in the school yard or on a playdate. Whenever we’re talking, my mind is always half attending to some other task in my head, whether it’s an internal shopping list or what I’m doing for dinner that night. Other times, I’m so busy scanning for my twins in the playground while we talk that I’m only half listening to you and when it’s my turn to talk, I can barely string a normal sentence together. Geez I hope you don’t notice that, but if you do, I’m sorry.
It can take me a week to respond to your text
Let me just say that when you text me, I jump to that phone ping. I am seriously excited that someone in the outside world has not only thought of me but has made a point of contacting me. And if that’s you, thank you! Trust me, I read your text within minutes of your sending it. Replying though? That’s a whole other process that can take days to complete. Constructing a response in my weary head and getting the time to text it back, without a hundred typos and via several interruptions from the kids means there’s about a seven day turnaround time.
I couldn’t do this without you
Look, I know I’m a bit rubbish in the friendship department and I know that if I really tried, I could stay in contact better and be more proactive in organising catch-ups with you. I should text you more often and tag you on Facebook now and then, to let you know I’m thinking of you. Because that’s the thing, right? I may not be the greatest friend around, but you have to know I’m thinking of you all the time. Not only that, but I need you, lady. Without your unwavering friendship and our three-monthly catch-ups I’d be hopelessly lost.
Our friendship might have changed over the years but I need your friendship now more than ever. Especially in this parenting world where I feel like I’m going insane half the time. You help remind me that I’m doing a great job and that I’m still the same person deep down. I always walk away from you feeling grounded and energised, ready to head back into the trenches for another few weeks.
Please don’t give up on me. And when are you free next?