Thursday, 8 May 2014

Apology to my childless friends

I came across this apology to friends clip on You Tube today. It was quite timely given I've had 2 reminders in the past few days of how different my life now is with childless friends!

Last Saturday, I had lunch with 3 friends. One has a baby the same age as Sticky, the other is due in 2 months and the other is childless. I came home from that lunch thinking we had mostly spoken about babies, baby shops, vaccinations, drooling and sleepless nights. I felt bad that I hadn't ask my childless friend about her job, her relationship, moving plans and all the other things that were important in her life. 

Yesterday, I caught up with the same friend who's due in 2 months. I took Sticky with me and she happily played on the floor on her play mat. While she was good as gold, I had to keep an eye on her as she rolls over and gets stuck. It meant my friend only had about 80% of my attention. This video made me realise that percentage will decrease as Sticky gets older.

I thought back to all the times I was the childless friend and felt frustrated that my friends weren't able to give me their full attention because there was a screaming baby, one child had just pushed the other over, it was feeding time or they were just too tiered. At the time it was very difficult and our relationships changed because they weren't there for me when I needed them. But, I didn't walk away from the relationships, and now their children are older, they are the ones who have time to talk and I'm the one running off to a screaming baby!

The thing is, I don't actually apologise for any of it. Before I had Sticky, my friends always got 100% of me. They had my support, my ear or my shoulder - whatever they needed. Now, for the next year or two, they just won't have as much. I think 2 years out of a long friendship isn't very long. I just hope they will hang in there with me as I navigate this parenthood thing. As the video says, things will get better!

I am conscious of not becoming one of those mothers who can only talk about their child. Those are the mothers I'm no longer friends with because they never asked me how I was or what was going on on for me. They simply couldn't see past their own lives and I can understand how that happens now. But I value my friendships too much to let that happen.

I know I need to be more mindful of my childless friends and show them I still care about what's happening for them. I'm still here to support them and listen to them. I still have an ear or shoulder to lend. Luckily, it's become a little easier because having Sticky automatically created a chasm with some friends and they have packed up and left my circle. On one hand I'm sad about that, but on the other, I appreciate knowing now they can't  support me in what has been a long term dream. The silver lining is it has whittled down the childless friends to the most important so I know who the true ones are to dedicate my time and energy to. 

Juggling friendships, a marriage, family and a baby can be tough. I've had to reassess the expectations I have on myself to be more realistic about what I can achieve. I know I can send a text to someone to say I'm thinking of you rather than having a 20 minute phone conversation and that's ok. I trust people will be ok with that. I will continue to put in as much effort as I can muster because in all honesty, there are times when I'm going to want to go out for a much needed drink and I'll need these fabulous friends to drink with me!

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