So, the other day my mother posted an article on Facebook called Dear Girls, Life Is Too Short For Crappy Friends. (You can find that article here.) I’m assuming she posted it with my 19 year old sister in mind…. and all her other friends with daughters. It seemed geared toward a younger crowd- with references to Justin Beiber and One Direction. It talked about how important it is to be yourself, how not important it is to be popular, and how having one good friend is better than 1000 crappy ones.
But, this article wasn’t just for the girls struggling to survive their middle school years (remember those? ugh). As a 31 year old mother of five, I found my head nodding in agreement, and my head tilting/eyebrows raising in a “yup, that’s true” kinda way. At 31 years old, I have finally realized that life is too short for crappy friends. And it took far too long for me to learn. So, to all the new moms out there- take my advice, save yourself the stress, and don’t wait as long as I did to figure it out.
Dear New Mama,
Isn’t is crazy how much life and perspectives change over the years? In middle and high school, friends are your life. I’m not sure the teenage me would have ever survived a weekend not able to attend the big party or the football game. I don’t know about you, but just about the ONLY thing I was concerned about was what we were going to do on the weekend. Who was invited to the party, who asked who to the dance, who was wearing whose football jersey to the game. Careless, trivial things… that meant everything. The thought of missing out on something with friends was painfully unbearable. College wasn’t much different. For many, class and exams seem to take a backseat to friends and parties.
We then find ourselves in our twenties. All of our friends begin to go their separate ways. Perhaps we find ourselves in a serious relationship, starting our career, or getting married.
And then, one day, you find yourself a mother. Life changes all over again. What was important before, suddenly becomes meaningless. We grow up. No matter if you are a CEO, a stay at home mom, or something in between- our days are busy. Our alarms wake us up before we want them to, we rush out the door to get somewhere, we have appointment after errand after obligation. Our evenings are even busier- beating rush hour traffic, trying to get dinner on the table, the house is a mess, the laundry is piling up. Throw a new baby into the mix… you already have to give so much of your time doing things that have to be done, don’t you want the few spare moments you have to be spent with the people you actually love? To enjoy a glass of wine with your husband? To just be able to sit and hold and stare at and love your baby? With no time limit, no having to rush to the next task?
But, we don’t. We, especially as women, have been conditioned to put others before ourselves. We care what other people think; we want to try to do it all, and please everyone. We put the baby down because we have to call what’s-her-name back. After a crazy day, we have to run around the house picking up because the friend we haven’t seen in a YEAR suddenly wants to stop by and see the baby. And then there’s that girls night on Friday that we really don’t want to go to… but we feel like we have to. We try so hard to hang on to stale friendships, but we DON’T EVEN HAVE TIME TO SHOWER!
So, stop! Stop doing it. Stop wasting time on crappy friends. You know- the friends that only call when they need something. The friends who’s kids’ birthday parties you go to EVERY stinkin’ year, but they never seem to make time to celebrate your kid. The friend who doesn’t have time to talk when you really need someone, but always has time to post on Facebook. The friend who is always trying to one up you, or the friend who relentlessly questions your parenting. The single one who makes you feel bad for not making more time for her or not having the freedom to go to Happy Hour on Tuesday. These people aren’t your friends. You owe them nothing- and you don’t need to feel bad about that.
Just because we know exactly what they do everyday, see pictures of their dinner, and front porch pictures of their kid on the first day of school… it doesn’t mean you’re friends anymore. Facebook friends, sure. But real life is too short for crappy Facebook friends. As mother’s, we are always worried about everyone else’s feelings. It’s how we’re wired. But, it’s time to think about your own feelings, too. It’s time to spend time with the people you love, do the things you want to do, without feeling guilty. If it takes you a day to text someone back, or you decide to skip Bunco to put your kids to bed.. your friends won’t mind. They’ll understand. And those- those are your friends. The friends you consider sisters; the ones who are truly there- good or bad; the ones you can trust, and laugh with, and cry with. Your husband. Your children. Your family. Those few special girlfriends. Those are your friends, and those are the ones worth making time for.
As cliche as it sounds, one good friend is truly better than 1,000 crappy ones. As a new mom, you still might be trying to figure out how to balance it all. But, truth be told, your baby will be off to kindergarten soon. Life goes by so quickly. Too quickly. So, here’s your permission, mama. Stop wasting time on the crappy friends. And don’t feel guilty about it. It is okay. You have so much on your plate already… don’t stress yourself out with more. Cherish the good friends, and gently let the others go.
Mama of 5, who took way too long to learn this herself.