I Suck As A Friend Lately, And I’m Sorry

by Joanna McClanahan
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It’s 11pm. My kids are finally asleep after getting out of bed approximately 300 times. My body can finally rest, but my anxiety is wide awake.

I can’t stop thinking about all the things I need to do, the errands I should have already done, and all the ways I’m falling short. I want so badly to be a great mom as well as a good wife. I want everyone at home to be happy, while being able to kick ass at work, too.

It’s tough trying to do all of the things. And as much as I would like to be an awesome friend (or at least a semi-decent one), I kind of suck at it right now.

I’m not trying to make excuses. If I can make time for the occasional Netflix binge, I should be able to reply to your text/email/message. But here are just a few of the reasons I probably didn’t:

– I thought to call/text you back, but it was 6am, when normal people are sleeping

– I couldn’t find my phone – Our cat pooped on the floor – A human child pooped on the floor – I replied in my head and then forgot to reply in real life – I forgot before I even bothered replying in my head – My kid had my phone because I desperately need a few minutes of silence – I told myself I’d call/text when I had a minute, but then that minute never came – Someone flooded the toilet again – By the time I remembered, I was trying to fall asleep -My anxiety takes over, and even though I want to talk, I can’t push myself to make the move.

You get the idea. And there are a billion other examples of life getting in the way. It’s not that I don’t want to be a good friend, it’s just that I’m already overwhelmed.

I still care about my friends, and if something serious happened, I would be there for them in a heartbeat. But as for the everyday stuff, I admit that I’m terrible at catching up. I can barely even keep up.

Friendships in our 20s were different because we had time and money and didn’t have to worry about babysitters. We could stay out all night and sleep our hangovers away the next day. We were so much fun, dammit.

Friendships in our 30s? We catch up by occasional text and make plans we know we’ll probably end up breaking. When we do finally get out, we make the most of it and enjoy it, but are ready to be home and in bed by 10. We are exhausted, and we’ve got shit to do the next day. No time for hangovers.

Very few of us can remember the last time we got a full night of sleep. We’re all trying to find a balance that works for our families, our careers, and ourselves.

Whenever I’m able to get some time away, I prefer to spend that time alone. I listen to music, chill out, and don’t talk to anyon. It’s the best thing on the planet.

Moms are constantly pouring ourselves out to our families. We always make sure that our kids are okay before we worry about ourselves. 99.9% of the time, they are our top priority.

And, because of that, that leftover 0.01% is dedicated to myself. Yes, sometimes self-care looks like a Netflix binge. And yes, sometimes it looks like binging an entire fridge worth of food after the kids are in bed. We have to treat ourselves to restore that balance; we need to give to ourselves time in order to recharge.

So, yes, I still love my friends. It’s just that my priorities have shifted while I’m in the trenches of raising small children and trying to take care of my marriage and myself in the process.

But, this is only temporary. Soon enough our kids will be more self-sufficient and we’ll have more time for everyone else. So don’t forget about me or think that I could ever have forgotten about you, because once the fog clears and I have time to truly breathe, I’ll need more coffee time with my best girls.