|me & our friend Ali!|
I have attempted to comfort myself in some way by telling myself, "well, you were just too busy being such an amazing mom that you didn't have time to be a great friend". Ha! That didn't work too well on the days I also felt like a sh*tty mom! I have had days where I feel overwhelmed... like I can barely make it to the store, let alone to lunch or a playdate!
Then there's the added financial piece. To make a friend-date now involves a sitter, the cost of the actual outing/meal, and the gas to get there! Many times I felt I had everything else worked out and then the day would come and I just didn't have the money to get there!
Subsequently, I felt like my friends (some who have kids, and some who don't) just didn't understand. I let them down... again. Recently though, I have a different "respect" for those times in my life. In hindsight, my almost disabling feelings of being overwhelmed was at least in part due to my postpartum depression. As a family, we have had a busy (for lack of a more dramatic word) 4 years. We got engaged, moved in together, married, moved again, settled in to mixed family life with Sissy and Spiderman, then had two more children (babies A and B), and moved again into our current, beautiful, huge condo!
Hubby has his business off the ground, he is working so incredibly hard so that I can be home with our kids. I have officially transitioned from working FT to being a SAHM and feel like I finally (and I mean, FINALLY) have time to devote to volunteering, reading, and putting effort (like true, real, honest EFFORT) into our family, our marriage, and my friends. We have instituted Family Appreciation Night , my hubby and I are participating in the Rachel Wojo Read Your Bible in a Year Challenge together, and I am making a conscious effort to pay attention and be "present" for my friends and extended family.
These years have also taught me how to say "no". Sometimes, as a mom especially (but you don't have to be a mom to relate to this statement) you just can't do everything. That's right: You. Can't. Do. Everything. And honestly, you let less people down if you're honest. The timing doesn't work with nap time, you don't have the money, you just know you won't get to it, or you just don't want to!
Believe me: There will come a time when you DO HAVE TIME. or you ARE ABLE. THEN you can help, check in, meet for lunch, etc. Until then, just relax. Enjoy your kids. If you feel too overwhelmed to enjoy them (because I was there too) then take the time to figure them out. Stay in your jammies all day and study them. Look them in the eye, pay attention to their every move, play with them, find out what brings them joy. In doing this, you will find joy. It will take effort. Relationships; whether it be with your children, your husband, your mother, your in laws, or your friends take effort. And I will repeat for emphasis: true, honest, whole-hearted effort.
You need to be accountable, forgiving, loving, patient, and focused. You will not always get it right. But the glory is, we are all a work in progress. "Life is journey, not a destination" -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What are your "tips" for maintaining healthy relationships? Friendship or otherwise...