Something I miss...

Before having kids my life was vastly different (but aren't most parents).   I had a very wide circle of friends and was constantly on the go.  There were weekly dinners and leisurely lunches with girlfriends.  Trips away for spa weekends and longer vacations to warm tropical places.  I had a great life and loved every minute of it.

But it definitely changed after the birth of my first child.  Most of my friends then were either single or married but with no children.  I know it wasn't their fault that things changed it was mine.  Honestly, after having Hayden I was overwhelmed with being a first time mom.  I had worked for almost 15 years and now I was home all the time with a baby.  I gradually started to shut myself off from friends so they just started to drop off.  It still makes me sad to even type this.

I did start to find some "mommy" friends but it was different.  I found out quickly that some (not all) of these friends were different than my old friends.  I have met many types but my favorite is "My kid is smarter than your kid" mommy with a close second being the "Oh you are doing that wrong" mommy.  The game had changed and I really wasn't prepared for it.

Another big one for me is "I own kids but I don't like all kids" so while I may hit it off with a mom you must be able to tolerate the kid(s) that comes with them.  I lost a few potential friends along the way with the kid(s) being just too much to handle.

So I just started to focus on Hayden and trying to be the best mom I could be.  We seemed to find a new normal and I started new hobbies that I could do on my own.  Life was good but I was still missing my friends.

When Hayden was 3 we moved from the fairly isolated community we lived in to a bigger city.  Calgary had so much to offer us and I finally thought I would make new friends.  I joined a "mommy" board.  In the beginning it was good and I did make some lovely friends.  But it got ugly in the end and I got tired of moms judging & criticizing each other so I left the board.   I let a few friendships die then and I'm still sad about that.  (I will say I have tried a few other boards and must say my experiences were better.)

At that time we started to go through fertility treatments to try to have more kids and again I found that a very lonely time.  Old friends were somewhat sympathetic but really didn't understand it all.   Fast forward 5 years and we now have 3 kids.  So of course our life got busier through the years and I have just seemed to let more friends go.

I really really envy people that can juggle both kids/husbands and close friendships.   Being a mom is hands down the hardest job I will probably ever have and I just never seem to have anything left at the end of the day.  I hear people say "You must make time for yourself"but that's easier said then done. With two kids in school there is homework, dinners, after school activities to organize plus I still have a toddler at home full time.  Add in a husband (like mine) who has a demanding job and is usually putting in 60+ hours a week at the office it's hard to have your own social life.

I know it won't always be like this and as the kids get older they will need me a little bit less but then I wonder if I will be able to make friends just for me.   Don't get me wrong I still have friends that are wonderful and I know if we had the time we would be closer but my tank  (& probably theirs) are just to empty after tending to our families.

I hope after reading this you don't think "why did you have kids " because I want to say I don't regret for one minute having my family and I love them deeply but I just sometime miss the close relationships that I had in my previous life.

For now I need to be content to steal those occasional evenings out with friends and enjoy the life I'm living right now with my beautiful family.  And for all the friends that I have let go I'm truly sorry and I hope you will forgive me.

I would love to hear how other moms find that balance between family and friends.

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Soshayna said...

The beginning was difficult for me...I was fortunate in that I had a few friends that had small children also, so playdates helped me to refuel a little bit. That being said, it is vital to schedule something for yourself...I don't go out a lot, usually just too tired at the end of the day to muster make-up and energy knowing the girls will be up early in the am and I will be exhausted. That being said, I did start going to yoga on parents watch the girls and I get a couple hours to focus inward, it really brings me peace and perspective. You are doing the most important job, Michelle, but the goal is not to get to the end and have children who got your all and nothing left for yourself...I know many mom's who are now grandparents who just fell apart when the kids were grown and moved on. It is hard to find balance when they are little like ours...but I urge you to find something small, an hour or two that you have scheduled into your week just for you. Then do something with it that you love, you will be surprised how that will help you foster new friendships or find time for old ones. You are a good mommy...don't forget to be good to yourself too! Hugs!

Leslie said...

Well done you for being so honest! I feel the same way a lot an I only have 1 :). So when are we doing girls night? Maybe a Corrie marathon? :)

melanie said...

I can relate to this so much. We we had our first NONE of our friends had children so they didn't really get it. So I joined a couple play groups but just because someone is a Mum doesn't mean you are going to have anything in common with them other than the fact that you are both Mums. That being said, I did make two good friends through my efforts to get out there but it was hard and for the most part I felt like I was putting in A LOT of effort for very little return. For me my saving grace has been two really good single lady friends so I can call up and escape with when I need to get away from the kids. These two friends are just for me (even though my oldest loves them too and always wants to hang out with them) but what I mean is that I don't have to invite them over for dinner, I get to leave the house even if I am just going over for tea for a couple hours. I really believe we only need a couple really good friends in this world.

I will say though that I find it really hard to get people to commit to anything these days. The Mister and I tried really hard to get a monthly potluck going with friends - we did this for a whole year - but getting people to commit or even show up when they said they were coming - was really hard. I don't think this is just Calgary either, I think it is our society these days. It is frustrating.

And I don't think anyone reading this would ever think you shouldn't have had kids. You are allowed to feel frustrated at times, and you should be commended for talking about it.

I honestly feel like I could babble on and on about this subject - maybe I need to write my own post about it. ;)

Misty said...

I think there are more of us than you would guess that feel either exactly like you do or very close to it. Like Melanie I don't think that elusive friendships are a Calgary-only issue but it doesn't help that we are smack dab in the middle of a dull winter either. Is Lonely Mama Syndrome an issue we can resolve on our own? This is a question I have been asking myself for the past year. I don't think so, it takes a community of families committed to friendship and that takes a lot of effort to find and a lot of effort to mantain. The online world can help us to some extent but it doesn't take the place of a conversation over coffee and a warm hug from a friend. I wish all of us the best in this journey! (I may have to post about this too!)