"It feels like all my friends disappeared."
If you're a mother, you've probably said this at one point or another. I know I have. When I was younger, I didn't quite understand why my friendships were slowly fading away when my friends started having babies.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t bitter. This bitterness led to me not talking much (or at all) to those friends and that ultimately led to those friendships fading away completely. It wasn't until I started my own family that I finally, after all these years, understood, why new parents tend to not leave the house… Ever!
I'm a mother of 2 beautiful children, my oldest turns 3 this summer. I have only been a mom for 3 years (I'm also an angel mom but that's a story for another day) but I rarely leave my house and I've been this way since my first full-term pregnancy. My priorities shifted the minute that second pink line showed up on the pregnancy test.
Before having my own kids, I held a lot of resentment towards friends that I thought hated me (because they had a baby? I'm not sure what I was thinking) and boy was I wrong to do that. I lost A LOT of friends because I felt wronged. I quietly pushed them away and closed the door behind me. Somedays I wish I still had those friendships, but I've moved on.
Being a mom doesn't allow for much social interaction because the kids always come first. It's so much easier now to navigate friendships because I have kids. If I meet a potential friend and their lifestyle clashes with mine, there's a very slim chance that we'll hang out often and while that won't stop me from being their friend, I've accepted that we will most likely end up as acquaintance. I know now that just because a friend doesn't want to get together often or when it's convenient for me, it doesn't mean that there's suddenly an issue in the friendship (I tend to overthink things). It simply means that they're busy with their own life and we'll make plans when it works for both of us.
I don't hold resentment against people for being lofty anymore. Throughout life, friends come and go, and I have very few friends. I have learned to appreciate myself more and not measure my self-worth based on my circle of friends. I struggled for a very long time to make and keep friendships when I was growing up and it played a major part in how I felt about myself. It was damaging.
If there's something that I want my kids to learn at a young age, it is to value themselves as they are, and not change themselves for others. If friends turn their backs on them, so be it. If they're meant to be in each other’s lives, they will. It’s important to take their time and definitely okay to mourn the loss of a friendship. They will heal eventually.
You’ll notice the friends that stick with you through the struggles and those who bail when things get tough. Hold on tight to your true friends because they'll always be there, even if you haven’t spoken to them in weeks. True friends don't have conditions, they love you for you, whatever time of day it is and although I regret letting go of some past friendships, I sit here with my kids and I think about how different things could be had I chose differently. Maybe they wouldn't be here. Maybe I wouldn't know my husband. Who knows. All I know is I wouldn't change it for the world.