I’m Sorry I’m a Bad Friend

1

Mom and baby

Dear Friend,

I know you sent me a text three days ago. I was going to respond, but then I got distracted by the fighting kids and the laundry on the couch and the beeping of the oven timer. By the time I recovered from the non-stop of mothering, I completely forgot you had texted me. I remembered a little before midnight, but I decided you were likely sleeping, so I didn’t respond. I need to apologize to you. I’m sorry motherhood has made me a bad friend.

I know you understand. But I still feel the need to explain. This season of life is demanding. I have young children. They have not learned how to tie their own shoes, make their own sandwiches, or fill their own milk cups. So from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed, my time is spoken for.

I love it, you know. I love motherhood. I love this life. It’s a sacred calling, and I am so blessed that I get to live it. I prayed for these children, but this job can be overwhelming. It can be all-consuming. And friendships require communication. They require cultivation. I know that when we are texting back and forth for 12 minutes and then I go silent, it might send the wrong message. It might look like I don’t care or I’m not listening. Or I am busy doing a dozen things more fun than talking to you. I promise that I do, I am, and I am not.

It's hard for moms to maintain friendships with all the responsibilities that come with being a mom. If I could text you through these things, I would tell you I am sorry I had to put down my phone, but my daughter has once again taken off her diaper, dragged her training potty in front of the TV, and is currently walking around bottomless through my living room, threatening my new rug with whatever bodily urge might hit her. And so I abandon our conversation to run to get another diaper and wrestle it onto her little behind.

But by the time I am finished with this task, it’s snack time, and so I have to run down the list of every single food item our pantry holds while the children decide what they will have for snack. One has food allergies that the other one doesn’t, so of course I present two separate lists. And so it goes. Snacks, drinks, clean up, go play, and please don’t hit your sister. 

And night time. Oh, night time. It used to be for going out and coffee shops and late night breakfasts. Now it is bath time, prayers, stories, songs, good night, and please don’t get out of bed again. And then I am spent. All hollowed out.

I find a place on the couch for a few precious minutes of nothing. I breathe deeply and mindlessly scroll through social media. I read. I watch 22 minutes of a rerun of Friends. (TV parents can have children and still spend hours in coffee shops with their friends, apparently. It took them 10 whole seasons to move to the suburbs and never see each other again. And seriously, where IS Emma when Rachel and Ross are at Central Perk? Who is watching Emma?) Then it is time for sleep. And I wake up to do it all again, with variations of church and work and doctor’s appointments. 

So please don’t think I don’t miss you. I miss sitting down over brunch and talking without the interruption of tiny voices. I miss late nights listening to music, drinking coffee, and not thinking about what time little ones will be waking up the next morning. I know you have your life, too. You have your own family and responsibilities, and this is just a weird season where we don’t see each other much.

Friendships are important to moms.One day life will be less demanding, and we will take that girls’ cruise we have talked about. We will go to lunch at a restaurant without a playground or a kids’ menu. Maybe I will call you, and we will talk on the phone for an hour without anyone interrupting or needing anything from us. It will be glorious. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be here. Just text me. Keep sending me funny memes. Tell me about your day. I’ll either respond in 30 seconds or three days, but I promise, I’ll respond.

Your friend always,

Me

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Julie is a Texas-born missionary kid that grew up in New Zealand and finally found her way back to Lone Star state, by way of Missouri and Tennessee. Back in the DFW area, she met her worship pastor husband, Jake, in 2011. In 2013, Julie gave birth to a feisty little boy named Jude. In the summer of 2016, Ella Jene was born and balanced out the family. Julie loves good coffee, thrift stores, and occasionally faking a New Zealand accent. She is also a teacher, a singer, a songwriter, an Alabama fan, a traveler, and a Jesus follower. She considers herself to be an expert in food, music, and mistakes. Julie tells stories about her life and the people in it over at The Potluck Diaries.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m sure that’s all true. As a child-free wean though, I’m not going to be the only one holding on to the friendship. Yes, you have little humans relying on you and I know that. But if you can’t return my calls or texts, don’t be surprised when they stop. Hit me up when you’re able to have a life outside of the kids, but don’t be surprised when I don’t reply immediately either.

    Please find mom friends who are in the same stage of life. No hard feelings. I can’t relate to your daily life and you probably haven’t seen a movie or read a novel, so we don’t have much in common anyway. I don’t really want to go out to eat if you are bringing your children anyway – it’s more like watching you try to feed, entertain, and corral your child than actually getting to talk to you anyway.

    Sure, maybe some women don’t care if friends aren’t in touch and you never see each other. I always see that posted on social media. I guess I’m selfish. I want friends who are actively involved in my life – I don’t want to be on the back burner for years, waiting around for you to have time for me again. I need friends who can talk me down or text about little annoyances and who I can see IRL more than for birthdays. Maybe I’m unreasonable, but I have read more than once about how moms deserve all this leeway in friendships. Of course we all have seasons of life where we’re busy, but if it’s going to be a decade, let’s be real and just demote the relationship to “acquaintances” or “used to be friends” and see if we become “friends” again down the road.

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