Our Roles: Mom, Wife, Working Woman, Daughter … What about Friend?

You’re a mom and depending on the day, that takes up 90 to 100 percent of your energy. You’ve also got your career for which you’ve been committed to for years. Then there’s your hubby, and let’s not forget your own parents, siblings or other family members. So, what about your friends? Where do they fit in?

In our be-everything-to-everyone lives, finding time to spend with friends is hard. It’s crammed into your dwindling “Me Time” and it doesn’t happen near as much as anyone would like. No one wants to be the clichéd girl who fell off the map once she became a mom. She’s only better than the chic in college who disappeared after she got a boyfriend. But it happens.

I confess I’ve got friends I haven’t seen in two years. And I care about them dearly, but we can’t seem to get our schedules to mesh. Other friends, I do pretty good with. I still talk to my best friend almost every day and a group of my mommyfriends and I connect regularly.

However when things get extra busy, friends are the first thing to go. I become very slow to return phone calls and forget to return e-mails. Just last weekend I mixed up the dates for a birthday party and was a no-show. Lame right?

One good thing is I try to surround myself with people who understand, who won’t make you feel guilty for falling off the map. I mean, you’re already going to feel bad, who needs someone who will make you feel worse? And those understanding pals sometimes are moms, sometimes they’re not. I think it depends on that person’s nature. My best advice? Focus on the quality friends who make you feel good about you.

Another solution has been to block off time weeks in advance and treat the date as if it’s a doctor appointment. That gives me time to give Hubby notice, get a babysitter if need be and stave off possible time conflicts. Though admittedly it becomes awkward when I tell people that our weekends are booked until mid-September, but it’s true. It’s our system, it’s not perfect, but it works.

This may seem contradictory to my previous point, but I also recommend allowing for some spontaneity. Once I had an unexpected open evening and decided to hang out. It was 5 p.m. and I called eight of my friends to see who was free. The proposal was no dinner, no coffee, just go a movie and then go home. Two of us went and had a blast.

It’s hard to find time to fit in friends, but when we do we always feel rejuvenated and more like “ourselves.” They’re an awesome touchstone. If a date with a pal doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up for it. Just try again.

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