It’s not you, it’s me. No, really, it’s me. My famous last words, or more like my personal motto for the past several years – one that I was not always proud of, but one that I have learned to accept. As a mother of four children, my schedule has changed quite drastically since the birth of baby #1. With the first two children, life was relatively carefree. "Carefree" in a loose definition of the word. Yes, there were struggles; I learned how to breastfeed my babies, while also adjusting to the lack of sleep, but for the most part, life was simple. There was still plenty of time to meet friends for morning coffee, lunch, and even pedicures. It was relatively easy to find a babysitter for two kids, or even bring them along. But as each beautiful new baby joined our family, adjustments were made and it became difficult for me with four little ones to accept social invitations.
Everyday tasks that had once been easy, now needed much more planning and occupied double the time with four children at my heels. I wanted desperately to visit with friends and have non-interrupted moments while discussing a book in a mom’s group, but this was not my world any longer and I needed to accept it. I dreamed of a night out with my friends, sans kids. It wasn’t easy to put myself first anymore, actually there was no time for myself, especially with an on-demand nursing baby. I always had good intentions, but when the clock started ticking and it was only an hour or two before meeting friends, I was just too exhausted. It sounded more enticing to get these little ones to bed and enjoy a quiet evening home with my husband. It’s not you, it’s me.
There reaches a point in every mom’s life when it is no longer easy to leave the house with those little bundles of joy. For some moms, the magic number might be one, for others it might be three, but for me it was four. I am still in awe of those supermoms who take all five children out for dinner. I salute, YOU! I just wasn’t one of those supermoms and the thought of bringing my four children, three of them rambunctious boys, out to a girls' lunch felt like a daunting task. So I decided it was best not to risk the potential failure.
It wasn’t easy for me to pass on these social invitations. Those “good times” with my friends had at one time been memorable, now I just couldn’t get myself out the front door. Caring for my wonderful children all day long was exhausting and there was very little energy to muster up for myself. I was upset at myself that I couldn’t juggle it all. Why didn’t my little ones want to spend a quiet morning at the coffee shop nibbling on a pastry? Then I had an awakening – I wanted to stay home with my little family. I preferred to stay home and make breakfast with those little happy faces rather than getting everyone packed up and to the coffee shop by 8:00 a.m.
So for all of those frustrated women that rarely see their “mom friends". It really, truly isn’t you, it’s just the way of motherhood. Don’t stop the invitations, because one day, that mom will be able to find the energy after a long day and sleepless night to spend much needed time with her close friends. She will finally find a night to have a little bit of “me time.”
Friendship may be a two-way street, but my children bring an entirely different perspective. There will be one day when I can fulfill each one of those social obligations that I once loved, but for now I am quite content spending these fleeting moments with my children while they are still young. I don't want to miss these carefree days of childhood.