When You Miss Your Friends, Remember This

When You Feel Like A Crappy Friend, Remember This

Hinterhaus Productions

Before we have kids, we all tend to have certain expectations of what life will be like. Some of those expectations, like no electronics before age two, are quickly thrown away. Others we cling to, trying our best to make them work. We tell ourselves that kids won’t change us, that we’ll never choose a Saturday night in our pajamas to a Saturday night out with friends, yet here we are.

Because this is what a full time job + kids + volunteer obligations + tending to a marriage + introvert looks like.

It means late nights and early mornings. It means using every single minute of every single day until you crash in bed without enough energy to wash your face. It means feeling like you’re always dropping the ball on something or neglecting someone. It means wanting to retreat into silence at the end of a long day/week.

This isn’t a woe is me (woe is us?) pity party. This is just the reality of so many parents who are in the thick of it.

We’re tapped out, putting out one fire after another, and something’s gotta give.

Sadly, one of those things that often falls by the wayside when we’re in the thick of it are friendships.

We don’t have the time or energy (or a babysitter) to get to happy hour. Meeting a friend for coffee one morning means a later night in front of the computer. And a weekend away means… well, the thought of planning it alone is exhausting.

This is the reality of life in the thick of it.

Good friends live far away, or we have trouble finding our squad. Our priorities shift and some friendships fall away. Or sadly we learn that some people aren’t who we thought they were.

This is the reality of life.

But eventually the haze lifts. The chaos becomes a little more manageable. You feel like you can breathe again.

I’m starting to feel that. Some days. Except not really.

My kids are older now, but the physical demands of motherhood have been replaced by emotional demands. Motherhood is just as hard, work obligations are just as plentiful, and life is just as full. There is no easier, just different.

I thought that once my kids were at this age — or even when they were younger — that I’d have time and energy to nurture friendships. That I’d be able to get away for weekends with friends a few times a year. I’d have energy to make it to a Friday night happy hour. Hell, maybe I’d even be up for a weeknight out. Except I’m not. I’m still exhausted. I’m still barely staying afloat. I still feel like I’m failing at something and neglecting someone.

This is the reality of life in the thick of it.

When you’re consumed with all these other things, motherhood can be a lonely place. And, in many ways, we never stop feeling like we’re in high school. There are Queen Bees and social hierarchies. Friendships come, and sadly friendships go. And when you’ve got nothing left to give at the end of a long week (or month or year), sometimes friendships slip to the back burner. You don’t want it to be this way, of course. You wish you had more time or energy, but you don’t. This is the reality, remember?

It can feel like friendships are slipping away, especially when you go days or weeks without talking. You long for those days when friendship was simple, when you could pop over with a bottle of wine on a Friday afternoon because you had nothing to do and nowhere to be. It’s hard not to compare what your friendships look like now to what they used to look like and feel like they are somehow lacking. It’s hard not to hear about other friends vacationing together and not feel envious. It’s hard not to think back on those days in college or grade school when you could spend a lazy Saturday afternoon talking about nothing at all.

Except here’s the thing… those friendships you miss so much are still there. Your friends are still there. The good ones anyway. The real ones. They might still live a million miles away. You still might go days or weeks without talking. And you still might not have the time or energy for happy hours, but it doesn’t matter. Because the friends who matter are there.

They were always there. And you’re so very thankful.

Because even when your life looks like this, you still need Your People.

We all do.

So if you’re in the thick of it and not finding the time or energy for your friends, don’t fret. Your friends — the real ones, the good ones — know that you wish you could spend more time together. They know that even though you might decline invitations time and time again, you need those invitations to keep coming. They know that you need them.

Your friends are still there, busy as hell and missing you too.