Does anyone feel like the moment you became a mom, you let go of all your friendships? I do. I’m the I’ve-gotta-spend-every-extra-second-with-my-kids type. Turns out that’s actually not the best idea for good (and sane) parenting. I’m a working mom, so I naturally have some guilt about that, and I try to devote all my non-working time to my family.
Here’s Problem 1: I have neglected my friendships. There was a group of college friends I hung out with a lot pre-kids, but once I had a baby I slowly drifted out of communion with the group. Completely my own fault. I kept saying no to outings they would plan because I felt like I needed to be home with the baby, or that I didn’t want to leave my husband with both kids (even though he never made me feel bad about that). I quit calling my close friends to chat because I felt guilty about being on the phone when my kids were awake. I felt like I needed to give my kids my all. Okay, so that doesn’t make me a bad mom. But I’ve become a hopeless excuse for a friend. (Facebooking does not equal quality friend time!)
Here’s Problem 2: I have fairly frequent lapses in sanity. Since my husband coaches two different sports, there are stretches of time throughout the year in which I go solo with the kids for most waking hours. My patience fizzles out pretty quickly with a 3-year-old boy to wrangle and a red-headed-five-year-old-girl’s attitude to deal with. The Mommy Monster is not pretty. Or nice. And she doesn’t always make good decisions.
My therapist told me that there is a huge gap between “bad parents” and “good parents”, but a very small gap between “good parents” and “excellent parents.” He assured me that my incessant efforts to be an “excellent parent” may not be worth it. “You know that you are the primary caregiver and nurturer of your children,” he told me. “So it makes sense that you have to take care of yourself first so that you have the ability to take care of your kids.”
Um, so I can hang out with my friends again? Awesome!
Wait, um, well, I’ve probably hurt their feelings since I haven’t reached out to them in so long.
“Call your friends.”
Okay, well, then, here’s my list:
1) Continue to be a “good” mom (and wife, although this post isn’t really about that – don’t want Steven to think I’m leaving him out!)
2) Go out with the girls and have fun sometimes.
3) Reconnect with a few old friends that I’ve neglected.
4) Do something for me every now and then.