Monday, January 22, 2007

Friendships

A lot has been changing lately for me in the friend department. I have never made friends easily and can be pretty particular about the kinds of people I want to spend my time with, which doesn't make it any easier to make or keep friends. When Iris was born I felt terribly isolated. No one I was already friends with had a child, so although I spent a little time with them, it felt like I was on an entirely different planet. When I attended birth classes I didn't make any friends. When I went to First Weeks class I didn't make any friends. I gathered occasionally with a group of mamas I met on the Babycenter message board and kind of spent time with them, but no one ever felt like a close friend. I met a mama who hired me as a nanny, so we were sort of friends, but it felt like "we're friends but you pay me to be here, so that's sort of wierd". I started taking Iris to pre-school and now, a year and a half in to the program, I still have yet to make a friend. yes, I have met people I can chat with at social functions and occasionally exchange babysitting with, but not good friends. Almost two years ago I met my closest friend through the woman she nannied for. We were like kindred spirits and spent tons and tons of time together for several months. Then Eloise was born and I was doing the single mama thing and I didn't get out much. Then school started for our toddlers and her son went on opposite days from Iris and she often worked when they wasn't at school. Then her second child was born the night before Thanksgiving. The two of us have gotten together with all four of our children exactly once and that was last Friday. She was here for just over an hour, I think.

Life is crazy. Being a mama of two is crazy-- and lonely. I miss friends. I miss the ease with which I could get anywhere with little pre-planning. I have again been trying to find a group of mamas I can relate via MDC. Of course, we're all mamas, so we all have busy lives. I am sure that getting us all together for something will take some serious planning. I am even more sure that making close enough friends that we actually get together on a regular basis will be next to impossible. But, I also tend to be a bit of a pessimist, so we'll see.

Recently I read this article and thought it was amazing. I would love to have a tribe. There are mamas and children everywhere, so why is it so difficult to even make one friend, let alone find a tribe? I just don't know. So many of us are raising families far away from our own parents, siblings and extended family. It seems like a perfect solution would be to utilize friends as family, but in actuality, it doesn't really seem to work like that. For instance, my daughters have "aunties" who are gals I have been friends with for a very long time. Even though they are dear to my heart, they aren't very involved in my life, nor I in theirs. They don't have children, not that that necessarily matters, but our lives rarely cross paths.

I am very lucky in that I have friends who would come to my help at any time if I needed them to, and lord knows I have. Although I appreciate that quite a bit, it's really quite nice to just have more friends who want to get coffee once in a while. I have gotten myself stuck in the message board vortex, as well. It's like I think I have friends, I mean, I can tell you the names of several different mamas and their kids, the funny thing Jimmy did last weekend, and what a jerk so-and-so's husband was last night, but you know, I've never met these people. I really know very little about them, and the online interaction certainly no where near takes the place of having a real friendship.

I will continue to give this some thought, and some energy. We'll see.

How about my mama readers? Do you find mothering to be a lonely task?

9 comments:

  1. Hmmph! I am your friend! And if I could get it together more I'd have coffee with you more. I really *want* to be closer friends with you. Sigh. I'm just bad at getting it together and getting out of my own house most of the time.

    But I know how you feel. Sometimes I get really lonely during the day and feel cut off. That's why I'm not altogether upset about going back to work in September.

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  2. Wow, you must have read my post right after I wrote it!

    I know you're my friend :) I wasn't meaning to imply I don't have friends, rather that I have very few and the ones I do have I rarely see. I didn't know you were going back to work! How exciting!

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  3. I have been feeling the exact same way!! I, literally, have 2 great close friends. They live 900 miles away. I am pretty out-going. I've tried to chat with moms, call them, plan play-dates, etc... I have felt rejected at times. It's like they don't have time or room in their life for a "new" friend. It is a slow process. I am new to the area. But, I am exactly where you are. When is the last time I actually went somewhere with another woman? I need girlfriends...at least local ones! LOL! But, I did read something that struck me. "The only way to have a friend, is to be one." Emerson. Sounds simple enough, but I know that there have been times that I sat here waiting for SOMEONE, ANYONE to come and just be my friend. I have to do my part. I have to pursue people. It did seem alot easier as children to make friends. Have you ever noticed your kids when they have a playdate? They are amazingly best friends after 1 hour!! I wish it could be that way for us too.

    Thanks for posting on this! Good one.:-)You are not alone.

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  4. I completely understand. I am also far from my family. I am also not very good at making new friends. Maybe I'm too picky. I know that it's gotten harder since I had the Kidlet (in part because I don't speak Turkish) but also because I want potential friends to have kids too... and I want my potential friends to be SAHMs too... because that's when I have time to get together. I've met a few people here, but they're employed and that leaves little time to get together.

    I often wish I lived closer to YOU when I'm reading your blog...

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  5. I am very much the same way-I tend to be outgoing, but it's hard to find other moms that I "click" with. It can be very lonely.

    Here on the East coast, it's also hard to find other moms who are ap-friendly, (and by ap-friendly, I mean they don't look at you like you have 3 heads when you say you've got a family bed and don't cio).

    I also think that being home, with two kids, can be logistically isolating-very hard to just get out and go. And it's hard to find other moms for spontaneous happenings.

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  6. I felt terribly isolated after X was born. Wanting friends, but having not too much to give and found that I wasn't in the same place anymore as a lot of people I'd been close with. I've since gained a few awesome friends and while we don't get together very often I know they are always there for me and vice-versa. I'm lucky to be married to my best friend which is a HUGE help! But I've definitely craved that one on one time with one of the girls!

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  7. Sounds like this is a very common dilemma.

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  8. I have found that I appreciate the one or two close friends that really "get" me and share similar parenting styles as I do, even if we aren't able to get together as often as we like (hey, we're MOMS!) But we're a support system in the way that we're there when needed- when it's most important. Thank God for email and blogging! That's how I found Ashlee (New Mama's Nest above) and I consider her a sister now.

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  9. I do agree that my on-line friends do offer some adult interaction during the day...even if it's not in person. It's an outlet that I can go to and get something intellectually stimulating. (at least sometimes ha.ha.) But, I do miss the friendships that I had before kids.

    I saw something on the news about people replacing real life friends with cyber friends. And it not being healthy. I definitely want to keep a healthy balance!!

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