One of the hardest adjustments in becoming a mom is the way my friendships have changed. I used to spend a lot of time making plans with my girlfriends; I love spending time with friends, and owning my own business gives me a lot of space and freedom to do that. Until I had a baby, that is. And suddenly I had a lot less time and space in my life.
There was a chain of command, in terms of who I gave my time to:
First, my baby girl.
Second, my husband (the most capable man in the world, who helps with EVERYTHING).
Third, my clients and my business.
The scraps went to my friends. My own heart and well being didn’t even factor into the equation.
It’s no wonder that, combined with the fluctuating hormones, I fell into a pretty serious valley of postpartum anxiety. I am thankful I had friends who saw me through that season, who called and did things for me to help. But I know I let a lot of my friends down during this time too.
As I have moved through the intense first few years of motherhood — through days of unwashed hair and reheated coffee and tears — Charlie has started going to school a few days a week, and I am finding more time for my friends.
But that doesn’t always mean they have time for me, as a lot of them are new moms. Having gone through the valleys myself I have a better understanding of where they are at, but I am learning to accept that every one of my friends has a different set of obstacles. Some of their spouses have to work longer hours than mine does, so we can’t always go to dinner together. Some of them work during the daytime when I have more free hours.
As a result, I still struggle with how much less I see my friends than I used to. I feel lonely at times. I haven’t kept up with friends who don’t have kids as much and I get down on myself about that. It was never a conscious choice, but in those first two years my friends who were going through the same things I was obsessing about (breastfeeding, baby sleep) were my lifeline. I emerged with a toddler who is pretty wonderful and as I have been getting back into my normal life, I see that I could have used more time with friends without kids who could have given me a break from all my obsessing about baby stuff.
What has helped, when I get lonely or miss the free time I used to have to spend with my girlfriends, is to remember that this is just a season of life. Every season has different challenges, and this is a big one for me, but it’s not permanent. There will be a season when my children leave the house and go on with their lives and I’ll have all the time in the world to hang out with my friends. And I’m sure in those days I’ll miss my children more than words can explain, and I’ll long to travel back to this time, right now, when I can snuggle their faces whenever I want to!
I am thankful for my friends… If you’re reading this. I love you too.
This post is in collaboration with some other awesome Real Moms!