Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good mom, bad friend?

I've been feeling a bit down recently. Aside from the tragedy in Japan that really affected me, I've been struggling with the thought that I've been a bad friend. A few weeks ago, a very dear friend revealed a big personal event. She assured me she's fine now, that after struggling with this challenge for nearly two years (!!!), she finally made a decision about that major aspect of her life and she's now moving on.

I was shocked to not have been aware of her struggles. Looking back, I realized, "So that explains this and that." But hey, I was just too caught up in my marriage, pregnancy and motherhood to care. Every time she visited or we met up, I just talked and talked about me me me. "My marriage is great! My baby is so cute! Motherhood is so hard but rewarding! Juggling career and family is crazy! My father is driving me insane!" Yada yada. I seldom asked her about her. Whenever I did ask and she hesitated or gave a vague answer, I just took that as a signal to continue talking about me.

I don't know if any of you ever read this column by Carolyn Hax. She addresses a reader who is upset that her mommy friend doesn't have time for her anymore. Carolyn sets her straight:

I agree with Carolyn that motherhood just takes up so much time and consumes so much energy and that it is such a joy. But, hey, we all know that already. I guess what the Tacoma person wanted to know was why does being a devoted mom mean being a negligent friend? A question that Carolyn actually doesn't answer. She only explains why moms are so busy, not why they became bad friends.

Well, I'm beginning to think that a lot of us just use motherhood or marriage as an excuse to be awful people. Ever had those friends who got married and then promptly forgot you existed? Ever had those married friends who tried to fix you up on a date because they think single people are lonely and unhappy? Or parent friends who nag and nag you to have kids so that your life will stop being meaningless and empty? Or a mommy friend who just thinks her life is so fascinating, she never even stops talking about it and look at you, just you, and ask, "Hey, how are you?" and mean it?

Dear X, thanks for celebrating my joys and being there for my sorrows. I'm so sorry I wasn't there for yours. I'm going to be a better friend from now on. I mean it. I really do.

4 comments:

  1. On the other hand, most of my single friends leave me out because they already think I'm too busy. When they get coffee together or just hang out on weekends and after work hours, they think that I'm busy by default. LOL. With what you wrote, I'm beginning to think that I was indeed also negligent wit my friends back when I was juggling work and home life. Weekends meant sleep and chores, and only went out with them when I felt like it.

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  2. hi, i really loved your post today... i personally have experienced this, since we all graduated from college and started working, one by one my friends started to get married and have kids of their own... which made me feel really left out especially during our get together dinners because mostly the topic would be their hubbies, kids and yaya problems, didnt really have anything to contribute in the conversation... so for the past few years, havent been really meeting them since they are always busy with kids and school affairs... but now that i am going to be a mom... sure do hope that i wont be too absorbed with everything around me that i fail to be sensitive to the needs of others... thanks for the timely reminder

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  3. thanks for this post. i feel the same way. i just said hello to my old friend. :)

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  4. Hi ladies, it's really so hard to juggle! I know motherhood takes up so much of our energy and that it is a very very important role but that doesn't mean we stop being wives/friends/etc, right? Must learn how to do this better!

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!