I’m not a good friend anymore, and I don’t feel bad about it.
Some back story, first. When Coraline came into my life (quite a shock, and you can read about that here) link to https://www.cpbj.com/bitsy-mccann-we-had-no-idea-what-we-were-missing/ , I thought I was going to be the parent that just continued to do whatever I wanted and that my kid would be along for the ride. I have lots of friends who rear their kids this way, and their little ones are all great, wonderful children. I thought, “That’s me! That’s what I’m doing!”
Late night gig at the brewery? Well, Kevin can bring her, and she can fall asleep listening to me perform. Sunday Funday? As long as we don’t overindulge, no problem. Just set her on the table so she can coo at all of us while we drink our Millworks beer (responsibly) and enjoy their delicious farm-to-table magic. Any other outing that might be questionable? Take her, Just take the kid, no problem,
What I discovered, in a very short period of time, was that packing up a baby and carting her all around Central PA was exhausting. The number of things you need to prep and the time it takes to prep them slowly sucked the joy out of going and doing.
Keep in mind, I’m a workaholic, so my time is already limited. I love everything I do, and I loved everything I used to do. My graphic design business, hosting trivia at the Wharf, officiating weddings, playing gigs with my indie duo, running a pet adoption festival (link to https://petapaloozapa.com), volunteering with causes I believed in – you get the picture. I am very, very busy. And I love it.
About a month after Coraline was born, I went straight back into that busy-ness. But what that meant was that I had little to no time for my personal relationships. All the time I used to spend with friends, I now spent hanging out with my new kid. My priorities were strictly family and work, and everything else seemed to go by the wayside.
When COVID struck last year and we went into lock down, it saved me from the guilt of being a bad friend. I couldn’t be there in the same way anymore, but at least now there was a reason other than “I like Coraline best.”
Time moves so quickly, and as annoying as it is when people remind you of it, you have to cherish the moments when your kids are small. One day, she won’t laugh at my funny faces or join me in an awkward dance party in the living room. One day, she might think I’m super annoying and be embarrassed by me. Chances of this are high considering who I am as a person. So, I’m trying to squeeze in every single happy moment with her now.
The vast majority of my friends understand that my time is limited. They don’t make me feel bad or guilty. They’re not even mad. They know I still love them deep to my core, and one day, I’ll be back around again. It’s just that right now, I can’t be there for them AND have a successful career AND be a good mother AND be a good partner to my husband.
Some friends have completely removed me from their lives for whatever reason. I’m not even mad at them about it. I get it. I used to give so much and now I don’t give anything at all. The reality is, I cannot give what I do not have, and right now, that’s time. All my energy is being put into raising a happy, kind human, ensuring that my marriage remains strong, and, as my father used to say, “keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table.”