Sunday, March 24, 2019

Friendships as a Working Mom

People who know me and work with me, know me to be an outgoing, friendly person. I try to maintain varied friendships, some even from my childhood. However, now that I'm older, with three kids and a full time job, it's not always easy to have friends.

Everyone has their own life and their own set of obstacles - time, money, schedules, kids, activities, etc. It seems like the local suburban moms have their network of friends and their tribes that they readily meet up with it. Sometimes they really grate on my nerves when I show up to my kids' games or practices and they chatter away together endlessly about the mundane.

People also get on my nerves when they like and comment repeatedly on their friends' posts on social media, supporting each other, flattering each other and various forms of humble bragging. Sometimes I feel like a complete outcast in this world of positive, outgoing people. I don't have much basis for these feelings - from basic observations, I could fit in just fine. I'm relatively attractive, fit, funny, functional, articulate, witty... I guess sometimes I feel more introverted and self-conscious than other times in life.

My insecurities, loneliness, isolation, anger, bitterness, self-perceived friendlessness comes from grief and depression likely, as well as fluctuating hormones. Not to mention a general dislike of being alone with myself, clutter and sadness. I feel like an outcast in parent crowds sometimes. When my kids aren't with me, the solitude leaves an ache in me. I try to set up activities with friends, but I'm not always successful. I also have to schedule time for chores exercise, and conserve money and energy for the work week.

I feel I don't have as many friendship options as I did when married. I don't know anyone really in my new condo community. It would be nice if I did. I have a growing network of mom friends who are independent, active and fun - thanks to Bumble BFF and the meet up group I'm a part of. I'm super friendly with the people at work. Also, I have one new mom friend who's been so great being friends with recently. We met via Bumble BFF. We text almost daily and get together regularly. She lends me a good, empathetic listening ear often and I try to reciprocate the favor for her.

However, flakey friends really get on my nerves. I have/had a good mom friend who I used to do things with all the time, but any time she gets a boyfriend, she goes MIA, until they break up, then I hear from her. To not even text or call or set up mini activities with a good friend like that, with or without a boyfriend/husband, to forget your friendship, really pisses me off. Our mutual friend said I shouldn't take it personally, that that is just what she's always done, but it's hard not to take it personally. It feels like another breakup or loss. Also, if you have a boyfriend/husband, you can still plan things with other people as a group. No excuses. So it hurts my feelings and makes me want to distance myself from her and people like her.

At this stage of my life, I feel like I really need supportive and active friends in my life. People who are up for doing fun activities that don't always involve binge drinking. Sports, working out, walks, festivals, board games, whatever. I don't have family here, so friends become my family. I no longer have a pet, so that adds to my loneliness and sadness. I don't feel like I can afford a pet, nor the time to care for it effectively. I never was good at cleaning a litterbox and I don't want my small condo to be overtaken with cat hair, urine and poo smells and a destructive cat with claws. I need to take care of the existing clutter and get a handle on everything else going on.

When the kids are with me, they are my social fuel for the most part, but they're at the age where they don't necessarily need me or want to do activities with me all the time. I try to set things up for us though that meets everyone's needs. But often these days, I still feel sad and lonely in the gap times. I suppose I should just take that time to allow myself to feel whatever emotion it is, acknowledge it and say, "It's okay to feel that way." Having downtime in solitude, to do something creative or productive, gives me space and calm to recover from the chaotic work week and gear up for the week ahead.

I suppose I should take a moment to be grateful for the friends I do have in my life and reach out to them to let them know I appreciate them. Who knows what other people are going through and how much it would mean to have someone reach out to say hi. Social media is an unsatisfying method of maintaining connections. I'd rather have someone text me, call me and set up an activity in real life.

What is your experience with maintaining friendships as an adult? Do you take it personal when friends don't make an intentional effort to keep in contact?

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sunday Evening Pity Party

I am experiencing my typical end-of-the-weekend blues. But today seems more acute than usual. I'm feeling pressure in my head and can hear my heartbeat in my left ear. My mood is very sullen.

I was with my kids this weekend and we were together, which is always nice. Yet, our meaningful personal interactions seem minimal. It seems very 'transactional' and utilitarian. They need food or I need them to do a chore. However, I infused some fun activities into our weekend to break up the amount of time they're on electronics.

We took a walk in the rain, we went to kids' birthday parties, we ate a nice dinner together tonight. But another busy work and school week starts tomorrow and I'll be in hyper-motion again. I know I'm exhausted and I need a good night's sleep. But also I'm pissed at myself for letting another weekend go by without working on taxes. There is money the IRS has with my name on it, I just have to take the time to fill out some form fields. How lame am I?

I hope for a productive, happy week ahead. I hope I can continue eating healthy, exercising regularly and saving money. I hope that I can continue to laugh and find joy in little moments. I had such good laughs last week at work. This weekend I kept feeling lonely and isolated, even though I was around my kids and had social time around nice people.

Daddy-O got a new puppy for him and the kids. It's so adorable. We met it today for the first time. I'm happy for them, but so deeply sad for me. I miss having a pet; a little cuddly creature that gives you unconditional love. I don't want a pet right now because of tight finances, lack of time and already not being able to keep my home tidy. I don't want to scoop a litterbox or be strapped to a dog's bio needs and schedule. I want to save money, live simply and be able to travel occasionally. It's not feasible.

But the old me ... she had two cats, one big dog, three kids, a husband and a huge heart for people. Guess this new me is just a miser. Also, synonymous with LOSER.

I'm just venting. I am having a festive pity party for myself. So at the close of this paragraph, that will conclude my public display of patheticness and I will move on to nurturing myself and being a positive role model for the young people I care for.

Happy Sunday (soon-to-be Monday)!