I have always wanted to be a mother. I knew that I would spend time with my family and be intentional about our interactions and development. And that is exactly what I did. I make sure to have dinner made so that we can sit down as a family, eat and communicate. It’s through these times that I find out about the 9 hours of the day I am unable to be with them. My 3 year old even gets his moment to shine. So, does my commitment to my family make me a bad friend?
We all know how the grind goes. Pick up the kids, cook/prepare dinner, some play time, bath, story/book, prayer, bed. And all of this is done between 6pm and 8pm. Then there is the extra hour of “Moooommyyyyyyyyyy, I have to go potty.” “Can I have a hug?” “I have to ask you something.” So, now it’s 9pm and I finally have the opportunity to engage in adult conversation and reconnect with my husband. So, when do I have time for my friends?
One of my bff’s and I try to have mommy night at least once a month. But, I’m talking about the old school yacking it up on the phone with your girlfriend. I don’t get to do that anymore. Especially since most of my girlfriends are also cocoamamas. So, if it’s not my kids, it’s her kids that need something and may distract us from the phone call. So, how does one balance being a good mom and a good friend?
I believe that a good friend understands. When I am able to sneak a good phone conversation in, I try to get the most out of it. And, I’ve had to stop apologizing. I also had to tell myself that the phone works both ways. I can receive calls just as I can make them. So, I have to stop feeling guilty if I don’t reach out.
How do you balance both?
Annie is a former CocoaMama who is married to her best friend of 15 years. They have two sons, a 6 year old and a 3 year old. She currently works at the Pennsylvania State University full time where she is also completing her doctoral degree in higher education. She has worked and been a student for as long as she has been a mother. So, she has had to learn how to simultaneously juggle all of her identities. While she has not perfected this skill, she continues to assure that her family remains her number one priority.
6 thoughts on “Does being a good mom make me a bad friend?”
We involve the kids. It’s called grown-assed women play dates. The kids think its for them, but it’s really for us. While they are acting a fool, we are sitting back with a couple of glasses of wine, commiserating and yacking it up. We make them dinner, and continue to yack. This happens every week, same time, same place. Perfect for keeping up with folks.
And we do the same, albeit for a smaller group, after church on Sundays. The house rotates, but while we are in the kitchen cooking, the kids are running all around, getting into lord knows what, and as long at they aren’t killing each other, everything’s cool. So this group of friends I see twice a week. And sometimes twice on Sunday b/c a non-Churchgoing friend in the same group does dinner at her house sometimes Sunday night. Again – she has a park right across the street. We sit and watch the kids and talk, then feed them and ourselves over a glass of wine. Heavenly.
With another group of friends we try and do a similar thing – instead of beating our heads trying to get away from the kids, we just put them in a safe place where they can’t hurt themselves, and then ignore them while we do our thing. Usually BBQs or the beach in the summertime, potlucks once a month in the winter. Go to the park and have a picnic. If someone has a big back yard, have a cocoamama’s potluck dinner once a week.
I don’t think it makes you a bad friend, but I also firmly believe that you have to make time for the people who are important to you in your life. Living out here without any family, my friends are my family. And they are my children’s family too. They need those friends as much as I do. So they are a crucial part of our lives. And friends that I don’t see all the time, older friends, I keep up with via text message and email. It’s not hard to send a text that says you were thinking about someone – you can do that on the toilet! TMI, I know. But I do that all the time.
Toya–your ideas sound great! We have a little play date group, but those are still a lot of work, as the babies are still so small. I’m looking forward to a time when I can put the baby somewhere safe, and not worry about much. She started cruising this week, so that time is approaching (I’m both excited about this, and already nostalgic for the days when she was content to just be in my arms!).
You’re so right about a little text message; it goes a long way.
Unfortunately, I am not balancing at all. Between family and work obligations, my friendships are admittedly being neglected. I’m not sure it’s possible to have everything in balance all of the time. Balance for me looks more like important things getting some attention, sometimes.
This might be a little dangerous, as we need support outside of our immediate familial relationships to stay emotionally healthy. But you said it–work leaves precious few hours for kids and husband; kids leave precious few hours for husband. I imagine the balance becomes better as kids become older, but it can be rough going until then. Friends who understand this (whether they have the same demands on their time, or not) are so important.
Another thing my husband and I try to do is give each of us a night or two “off.” With our nights, we can do whatever we want. He usually uses his to go to the gym; I use mine to hangout with my girlfriends. Or sleep.
I will send a text message in a minute. It’s also easier for me to do that and send a quick fb note than it is to make a phone call. One of my girlfriends was upset because I would text and fb her, but didn’t call. She said, “How do you find time to fb me, but not call?” I almost had a TIMI moment myself but decided to just tell her that it is easier for me to find time to send a message than to call.
Unfortunately, many of my close friends live several hours away. I think I do a pretty good job of seeing my local friends. But, those who are in Philly, NJ and on the Western part of PA, are harder to stay in touch with. It’s not as easy to get in the car and take a road trip when hubby and I work full time and we want to respect our children’s obligations.
We tend to have family potlucks. As you said LaToya, our friends have become our family. So, that has been great to just come together, eat and chill. But, making sure our kids stay on their schedules and routines can be difficult to navigate around. But, I have had those evenings where I have just hung out with my girlfriend. My challenge is staying connected at a distance. I have learned to appreciate the times I can just sit on the phone and yack it up. Although, they don’t happen too often.
Considering that 95% of my closest friends have children, and children under age 10 at that, it isnt hard; we all understand. We do what we can. We try to get togethe 2-3 times a year if we can and just have fun, maybe for someone’s birthday or some major event in one of our cities. We all live in different states, so its hard!! But we try our best.
It helps to make friends with other mothers. I’m opposite of you– I never saw myself as a mother. So this all caught me off guard. But from 2005-2009, my circle of friends brought 5 kids into the world. That has really been helpful, for real!
i’ve never been big on being on the phone so I am grateful for texting and Facebook. FB helps me feel like my friends are in the other room, seriously. I love it! We keep up with each other’s lives, the children, etc.