I read this post on mom.me today, it was being shared in my social networks, and I have to say it triggered me, on many levels.
First, I want to share a little of my own story. Sure, I have 'lost' friends over my years of parenting, though I have to be honest, that's more because of our constant moving as expats and personal choice then it is because of being a parent. Certain friends did not chime with our lifestyle anymore, so we stopped paying attention, which is just a normal part of evolving and growing.
But I have also made countless new friends over my nearly eight years a s a parent. A whole new circle in every country. Given that we've lived in 6 different countries since we've become parents, that's A LOT!
Now, am I still friends with all of them? No, but I am with some, and that's ok.
As a fellow work-at-home mom, like the author of the post I referred to, I can relate about parenting being lonely, but for me, it's more a needs and geographical thing than it is about me being a *bad* friend (more on that later) or a parent. We just live in a fairly remote area, local friends are quite rare.
I can also relate to the authors lack of depth in relationships, but again, I wouldn't blame that on my parenting or *bad friend-ness* so much as on our moving, and my own reluctance to give in to a relationship. For me, it takes time to get to the depth where I can be upfront about my deepest feelings, time I have so far lacked, because I have been moving every year or two.
I also feel that culture plays a big part in this, as we see it as failure when we as parents admit that it's not all rosy and rainbowfart. To top this, there is a culture of responsibility, probably a result ofbirth control and family planning, where parents are held responsible for having children. And since we are the sole responsible, we cannot complain. Ever. We brought it on ourselves, didn't we? It was our choice after all to have (all of) these kids. Community feeling around parenting is very lacking, to say the least.
Here's my theory: I think most moms are kind of terrible friends and we can't help it. Try as we might, even the most spectacular women can only do a few things really, really well. And with kids to raise, a romantic relationship to tend to, a career to juggle and housework to manage, being a kick-ass friend almost always gets pushed to the back burner.I think there has not been an age where it was easier to be a friend. We are connected in so many more ways. But it is up to us to use that. Yes, as a mom, it may be harder to plan things in advance, and yes, there may be cancellations. But that does not make you a bad friend.
Even with continents separating us, I still check in with my friends back home. I'll send them an email, a Facebook message, o even an old fashioned letter. Sometimes, we skype.
I have close friends that I only see maybe once a year. Friends that go way back. These friends accept when we cancel and reschedule, even at the last minute. Because they are human too, because they care, because they understand.
If a friend does not understand the fact that your a human, responsible for other, small and dependent humans, then that friendship is not worth pursuing.
When we moved back to Belgium, I reached out to a mothering group that was local to the area I was
I will always choose to be a bad friend over being a bad wife, mom or employee and I think this is true for most moms.Now this was the sentence - out of the whole article - that triggered me most. Does it make you a bad wife to take time for yourself to hang with a friend? A bad mother? I think not.
I think mothers who spend time to pamper themselves are probably better mothers than those who forget themselves and claim martyrdom. There is no need to completely put your own needs aside. Obviously your need for company depends on your character. I'm quite extroverted, so I need a lot of company.
Becoming a parent will make relationships less easygoing, it will mean becoming dependent not only of yourself, but it doesn't make it impossible to connect to other humans aside from your kids.
I have to say, most of all, I feel sorry for this writer, that this is what she is feeling. That this is the culture we live in that separates mothers from the rest. And that even though I have felt this way, it is possible to fiend friendship within motherhood.