I hear the phone ring and look down. It’s my friend, one of my best friends. I miss her and can’t wait to talk with her. It’s about 5:00 p.m (that witching hour). I answer the call and she dives right into a challenging moment she’s going through. I’m all ears, listening intently, witnessing her experience.
“Mommy can you help me catch a snail,” my son yells across the room. I ignore it initially, and he repeats, this time louder making me miss what my friend is saying. “Can you tell me that again?” But I know, and she knows, where this conversation is headed. She tries to explain again but this time my son says while grabbing my hand, “Mommy let’s go outside and catch those snails.”
Now I hear small wails from the baby. He’s hungry, I know it. It’s that high pitched wail that gives it away.
My friend is talking still but I’ve completely lost focus on the call and the story that she told me. Suddenly, all I hear is silence. It’s my turn to say something, but I didn’t follow the story and I have nothing to say in return.
I hesitate but know it must be said because this conversation right now is a lost cause. I’m unable to focus. “I am so sorry can I call you back?” Immediately I feel bad. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Being honest with myself, it isn’t the second either…
It wasn’t always this way. It’s more recent. But all the same, I suck at being a friend because I’m a mom.
I Give The Kids Everything
I hope you know that it’s not that I don’t care about you or that I don’t want to be there. That couldn’t be further from the truth – I absolutely want to be there, I just can’t. I’m stretched thin. When I have the time, I don’t have the energy. When I have the energy, I don’t have the time. I give it all to my two boys.
I’ve Missed Milestones
I know I’ve missed milestone birthdays. I’ve missed weddings. And in the spirit of honesty, I’ve missed a lot of other special moments with people that I care about.
Somehow other moms are capable of it. They perform the balancing act great. They see friends often (without kids), they socialize on weekends, and they never miss the big moments like weddings or milestone birthdays. You know, the events that real friends are there for.
You’ve always been there for me, to listen. To give advice, to be there with me. It’s not fair, but life rarely is. Even by acknowledging this, I can’t promise you I can change it.
I hardly make plans without my kids. Any plans I do make without kids are with my husband. So the reality is that I hardly ever have uninterrupted conversations where you actually finish your point. I can’t seem to manage it.
You Deserve Better
I know you know this about me. I know you feel my absence, and don’t say anything. I’m not making an excuse for it. You deserve better.
But what I really want you to know is that I’m still here. I have your back. You can always trust me. I’ll always be loyal to you. I am a real friend, even though I suck at being a friend right now.
Even though I always applaud you for your successes, I probably won’t be there to celebrate. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means I can’t right now, not when my kids are so young. My place is at home.
I know at some point you will stop calling. I won’t blame you. But you must know that if you ever need me, I’m here, at home. I’ll take the call, I’ll try to listen. And if I can’t listen, I’ll call you back when I have some alone time, whenever that might be, to listen to what you have to say.
For now I’m just thankful that you still call. Even if i can’t focus on you. One day the little people that distract me will have their own lives.
Life will have evolved. We probably won’t do the same things we once did, but we will find new things. Because true friendship sees beyond the now. I hope you stick it out with me, because without a doubt I will stick it out with you.
Related: Why I Don’t Need A Lot Of Friends.