As a stay at home mom, I know the pressures of trying to find balance. It is not easy trying to make everything fit together. I have found that there is one major lifeline to the outside world for me, and that is my phone. This is the only piece of material that I can use without creating absolute chaos and complete havoc.
I know it seems very juvenile, but the phone allows me access to the Internet, and thereby to email. It gives me an outlet to do adult things, like pay my bills, contact customers for our gunsmithing business, and of course do research on how to improve our business. It also allows me the ability to talk with friends.
After having children, I have had to redefine the role of a friend. Once I was able to go out in the middle of the week. Now, I would be lucky to go out on a Saturday afternoon without dragging along at least one of my children. The ability to be without my children is a major deal in a live interaction because if even one of them is present, conversation tends to focus entirely on the child. My honesty is tentative and I withold information because it seems inappropriate to be raw and complain while also tending to the needs of my child/children. After all, I love them so deeply, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need time to myself or quiet times.
The problem with maintaining friendships over a text is that it forces us to redefine the role of a friend. I know that I am no longer a good friend by many standards. It breaks my heart that I can no longer get up and go where I want, when I want. It hurts so much that I cannot drop everything and run to help a friend whenever they need it. I must pick and choose when I am able to leave mostly because I am the one that manages our family schedules. If my sleep schedule is off, our schedules are more difficult to maintain, but, even more than that, my relationships with my children and husband turn hostile. Trust me, I know how ridiculous of an excuse it sounds like. Still, between my post-partum depression (yes, even 7 months after she was born), the crazy sleep schedules of my children, my son crawling into my bed halfway through the night, and the downright unimaginable energy that my 2 year old boy expels on a daily basis I absolutely need the sleep to maintain my sanity. I just don’t like that I need it so much.
As much as I need in-person social interaction, I know that I cannot return the favor during this season of my life, so the role of a good friend must also change. I mentioned my phone earlier as a lifeline to the outside world. This is how a good friend can help me. Texting is one of the easiest forms of interaction for me. Talking on the phone or hopping on the computer, even for 5 minutes, elicits a response and temper tantrum from my children. A good friend in this season, for me, is someone who can recognize the difficult position I am in and be content and diligent with maintaining our friendship via text. It is someone who reaches out and treats me like a friend even though I cannot be physically available. It is someone who makes the effort to make first contact on occasion because they know how insecure I am about potentially bothering them and their busy lives.
I want to be a good friend to people, but I know that I am losing some because of my current situation. It hurts deeply to know that I am failing at something I used to be so good at, and something that has always been so important to me. I have made my life about serving and loving people deeply, and now my ability to show them that love has been put on hold, and it has left me in tears.
If you feel like I have abandoned you or that I am neglecting my duties as a friend I am so very sorry. Please believe that I still care about you deeply, and that I mourn the loss of my ability to show you that love.