Before I had kids, I was a great friend. (If I do say so myself.) I was thoughtful and remembered birthdays. I celebrated my friends’ successes. I brought chocolate and flowers when they were having a bad day. When something small reminded me of a specific friend, I’d pick it up and deliver it as a little “thinking of you” gift.
And then I became a mom.
I told myself that my life wouldn’t change once my daughter came along. But we all know that’s impossible. My brain now had another human to care for and her needs to anticipate.
I vividly remember, during a very sleep deprived state, telling a friend “I’m not a good friend right now. And I think I’m okay with that.”
For many months after joining the ranks of parenthood, I felt guilty that I couldn’t remember friends’ birthdays or their moments that deserved celebrating. (I mean, I couldn’t remember my own first name either but that’s another story.)
In the midst of the newborn fog, a new friend reached out and had me over for lunch. She totally pampered me with a delicious meal on a peaceful porch. At the time, she was single and saw my desperation for connection and took action. I felt bad that I couldn’t reciprocate. I felt completely empty. I had little to give in return.
And then I realized: that was okay. I needed to give myself permission to release the pressure I’d placed on myself, and just be a good mom and a good wife.
I’m now eight and a half years into parenthood, our family has continued to expand, and my friendships have ebbed and flowed. I’ve found new ways to care for friends. Sometimes that looks like dropping off an iced coffee or taking their kids. It may look like a quick text sent after Facebook alerts me to their birthday.
It’s not a lot. And that’s okay.