My name is Lolly and I’m a sh*t friend.
Apologies for the profanities so early on in the post but I thought it was probably best to get it out there and lay it on the table. Don’t get me wrong I’m certainly not looking for any sympathy or trying to gain the martyr vote but I suppose I’m cathartically using this post to get some things off my chest. Plus I wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts on how you’ve experienced and dealt with ‘bad’ friends be them yourself or otherwise.
I’d like to think I haven’t always been so ‘poor’ in the friendship department but then you’d have to ask my girls for their honest opinion on the matter. The fact is I think I can pretty much date the exact day when I started to ‘go down the pan’ so to speak. Two years ago (next month if we’re being precise) I let one of my closest friends down to the point that we didn’t speak for a month. It broke my heart and although it’s all been resolved happily now it still plays on my mind like a niggling splinter that you can’t quite tweezer out.
You see two years ago I found out I was pregnant with Hector. He wasn’t planned although very much wanted but it did take me a few weeks to be able to truly process the fact that 1) I was pregnant and 2) That Ste and I were going to have to dramatically rethink our plan for our house extension and all the logistics associated with it. Seeing as I’m a self-confessed control freak to say I was a bit panicked is putting it lightly.
This all happened precisely one week before a dinner party was supposed to take place at the aforementioned friend’s house. In a haze of pregnancy hormones, a passionate desire to keep my pregnancy secret from ANYONE (apart from Ste naturally) until the 12 week scan and a chest infection, I texted and cancelled on her saying I was too ill to attend the day before. Although I was genuinely under the weather, I know it was more to do with the fact that I couldn’t risk the fact that I wasn’t drinking alerting the other attendees of the party to my condition which I just wasn’t ready to reveal.
Yes I’m not proud of the fact that it was a text and not a phone call – something still makes me cringe whenever I think about it today. And I feel horrendously guilty about not being there at all… I can only claim in my defence that the hormones muddled my normal sensible thinking turning me into a complete friend numpty. And it’s safe to say that since I’ve become a mum that I’ve been regularly falling into this shameful category ever since.
I am the friend that sends birthday cards a week late or cancels on a friend for the 55th time because Hector is ill, or I’m ill having caught something off the little man or I’m just absolutely bone-tired and wouldn’t be much fun to be around anyway.
I was fully prepared for mum-guilt, you know the kind that follows you round like a bad smell, making you doubt yourself and all your baby related decisions but I was knocked sideways by friend-guilt. I was not at ALL prepared for that.
I am the real-life embodiment of that quote that is currently doing the rounds on Pinterest – ‘my brain has too many tabs open’. The fact that it has been re-pinned multiple times is proof that I’m not the only one that feels that way. What with a complete house renovation (which you can read about here), a 16 month old, my day-job and actually trying to be a half decent wife, there isn’t much space or time left for friends or hell even myself. When I do get the chance to go out I’m distracted by whatever destructive mission Hector is hell-bent on following should he be with me or pre-occupied by what he’s up to when I’m not. And it’s not fair on anyone. At ALL.
My only saving grace is that three of my friends had children within three months of Hector being born followed by a fourth friend nine months later so I’m pretty much in daily whatsapp contact with them about all things baby. And those friends who are child-free are utterly loved up with our kids and make a huge amount of effort to involve them in whatever activity we have planned. I’m not sure I would be so selfless if the shoe was on the other foot.
So this year I made a promise to myself. Not a New Year’s resolution as such but a commitment to pay more attention, to make more effort, to be more present and to be a better friend. I want to be the one to invite them to brunch rather than them constantly chasing me, I want to be able to say ‘yes’ more often, to send birthday cards in advance and to genuinely be better prepared. Yes it will take a bit more planning and a bit more effort but they most definitely deserve that.
Have any of you found yourselves in the same position? Do you suffer friend-guilt? Have you found that motherhood has had an impact on your relationship with your besties? Whatever your experience I’d love to hear all about it…