July 20, 2006

Will I be there for you?

Before becoming a mother, I knew that my friendship structure would Change. I also knew that I would make NEW friends - friends that I call my Mommy Friends since we specifically meet and hang out because we have children so close in age - we have enough in common to want to see each other, but in reality, are hanging out because of our kids. Along the way of Mommy Blogging, I made even more new friends (just to name a few. A very few.) As a Sweet Bonus, I didn’t plan on resurrecting OLD friendships - such as R, and that has been such a cool surprise - we already knew we had loads in common and similar idealogies - having babies so close in age was simply the Icing.

Over the years, I have went through more friends than Tommy Lee has gone through tattoo artists. However, several are notable. My Childhood Best Friend drifted away when her marriage went up in a spectacular ball of fire after she left her husband for her AOL LoverBoy. I actually had to Fire a Work Friend after all the negative comments she kept making- the pinnacle being when she whined “Oh, you’re going to get married before me!” when she discovered I had a new boyfriend. That was in 1999 - last I heard, she is still “single and bitter with baggage, seeking same”. Most recently, I Lost a College Friend who pretty much had nothing to do with me after I was in her wedding in May 2005. She dropped off the planet - I saw her once or twice that entire summer. She blew off my baby shower and didn’t acknowledge Arun’s birth. Then, to make things super-gooeylicious and awkward, she miscarried her own baby just a week after Arun was born. X was out of town and I was alone - so I dragged Arun and myself to a flower store because I wanted to personally pick out something AND in particular, I wanted to personally send a card saying that I understood that she would need time and that I would be there for her when she was ready. I will never forget how physically painful it was to get in and out of the car dragging Arun around, but I wanted it all to be from ME, not my computer. However, save for one voicemail, which I returned, I haven’t heard from her since. I am still pretty hurt by that, particularly considering that my friend J who lost her husband in January hasn’t Fired ME just because I have still have a husband and she doesn’t anymore. Not to sound harsh, but I still have dreams about my College Friend and it still hurts.

However, none of the stupid baby books warn you that having a baby CHANGES your friendships. Now that I DO have a kid, I do feel some of my friendships taking on different flavors. For my friends WITH children, having kids that interact WITH each other certainly adds a new dimension. I have to be careful of the awkwardness that arises when they have children that are pretty aggressive. I also have to be sensitive to different parenting styles and I DO try to keep judgements to myself, but DAMN! its hard when you are just trying to protect your sweet boy's eyeballs. Then, there are the Friends With Kids that I am closer to than ever before - our friendship has transcended a new level built solidly on Common Fears, Hopes and Dreams. Conversely, I have to be cognizant of my friends WITHOUT children - they probably don’t want to hear the nitty gritty of Diaper Details and despite their polite nods, they probably really don't care that Arun is getting pretty fucking good with the fine motor skills and seriously? They probably aren't interested in hearing he is OBSESSED with climbing the stairs. However, most importantly, it might be harder for them to understand if I have to cancel plans at the last minute or when I don’t respond to emails promptly. Friends With Kids?? ALWAYS understand Doing Things On The Fly. (Average Jane , I salute you, the most understanding of my NonKid Friends!)

But, of all these friends, I think the ones that affect me most are the ones that simply Slip Through My Fingers. There is a reason why I have become a more diligent blogger AFTER becoming a mother. I have so many Real Life friends reading this blog now, that I know keeping up on the blog helps with the friendship. On the rare occasion we meet up via lunch, phone or email, they already know what is going on and we can focus on the Most Recent instead of the What's Happened (I’m talkin’ ‘bout YOU -- M and T!) But the friends who DON’T read my blog? The ones I haven't emailed, phoned or even SEEN since Arun was born? Those are the ones that I regret.

I wish I had a new paragraph for you, full of Valid Excuses why friends are Slipping Through My Fingers and how I Am Going to Rectify It, but I don't and I can't. These days, I am just not able to be there for my friends like I used to be pre-Arun when My Time was 100% under MY control. A part of me is sad to realize this, but a part of me has accepted that this is simply what happens when you sign for this Gig.

It is what it is.


alimomof2 said...

My best friend since HS, who lives 12 miles away and has 5 kids, 3 of which are in my kids' age range, dropped off my radar over 1 1/2 years ago (right after my 2nd was born). I know she is busy with 5 kids (heck, I'm busy with 2), but in the meantime she moved and lost her FIL and I only found out through her Christmas form letter. Now, a mutual friend wants to set up a lunch with the 3 of us. I said it could be awkard, but my MIA friend was all for it. I don't even know if I have the energy.

And, now that I have kids, I am getting closer with some of my neighbors (of 8 years!) because we finally have something in common.

Anonymous said...

I find mommy-dating hard. :) It's harder to make friends and have real conversations when you get together with your kids. I'll go on a playdate with a mom I think I'll like and get maybe 15 minutes of talking in between chasing our kids around. I'm trying to carve out more times for my friends, because I feel more of a need for the company of other women now.

Jenn said...

I'm such a dork, but I get all giddy when I see a link to my site! =o)

This is such a problem for parents. I'm totally like the worst friend in the world. Some friends can deal with it, and some can't. THe blog does, as you mentioned, help keep some of those RL friends who read involved in your life. So I don't necessarlity HAVE to keep in touch as much as before.

I have a couple of friends who are trying and trying to have a baby and can't. I feel bad for them and when I talk about Allie I almost cringe, like my words are hurting them....but what can you do.

I barely have any friends with kids, save one. So all you wonderful Mommy Blogger Friends are a life saver!!!

Anonymous said...

Having kids definitely changes your friendships. I have actually become pretty good friends with Zach's day care provider and another day care mom over the last few months. I've also become a lot closer to other friends that have kids because I have more in common to talk about.

Anonymous said...

Uggh...I'm so sick of having to deal with the 'friend' thing. I seriously don't have time for it. I am now at the point that if someone doesn't have the desire to make an effort to keep the friendship going, I just don't have time for it. The result being that I now have several close friends and we respect each other and I really enjoy it. Because think about it, you can try to keep the friendship going, but if they don't even bother to pick up the phone to call you, when you call them, they can't be all that interested in what you have to say anyway.

Diana said...

I so could have written this, both as the dropper and the droppee. I'm hoping when both kids are older and less dependent on us for their entertainment, I'll have more friends, but for the time being, my handful is really all I can manage. Sad.

pharmgirl said...

Dealing with friend's bratty kids is the worst! What I usually end up doing is moving MY child out of harm's way, or literally standing in as body guard. When you stand and physicaly block your child from potential assualt, that SOMETIMES sends the message to the lazy parents. Argh. Oh, and I have zero problem saying to someone else's child "Do not do that to Susie again, please".