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!

3 comments:

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  2. I have one friend who gets me. She knows that sometimes I don't keep in touch because of my S.A.D. or other things. I get her as well. We don't get together too much, cuz life is crazy at times. But it's a gift to know that she is there for me when time allows. Since I am not great at keeping in contact, I don't hold a grudge against friends who don't keep in touch with me. Life!

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