Someone once said to me, “No one really has childhood friends that last for life, or any friends for that matter.” I felt so bad for that person. How can anyone think that way? I’m sure plenty of people have lifelong friends, right? I mean I consider myself to be one of them, or I did at that time.
Becoming a parent was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I, like many expecting mothers, had many expectations of what motherhood would bring. Being that I got a late start in having children compared to my peers, I thought it would bring me closer to those friends who already had kids. I imagined my life to be a slew of play dates. I fantasized about my kids growing up to be best friends with the children of my childhood friends. My cousins’ kids would surely be like siblings to them, they’d spend so much time with each other. How would we juggle all the play dates and birthday parties?
In 2015 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Jasmine. Some came to meet her at the hospital and some when we got home. A few texted but most communication was via social media. I figured people were just giving us our space until we got acclimated. Then, at 7 weeks post-partum, I returned to work. I didn’t worry too much about play dates because we were still learning to breastfeed and I was exhausted from being a full-time mom and employee. Then, months went by, followed by years.
I went on to have twin boys born in 2017, Luke and Dominic. When I announced I was pregnant with twins, there was a lot of excitement from all over. People offering to help when they got here, or just expressing their happiness. Some people really came through and offered support, but not many.
Here I am, almost 4 years into being a mother, and I had no clue that motherhood would be so lonely. I think social media gives us a false sense of “friendship”. With 563 Facebook friends, I have never felt so alone in all my life. Sure, I have many childhood friends on that list. Countless former colleagues. Many family members. They often like or comment on my posts but when it comes down to it, I never see them. Some constantly saying, “We should get together”, but it never happens. Some go as far as making plans then cancelling last minute or just flat out standing us up.
Jasmine is now 3.5 years old and an incredibly social child. Yet she has no consistent “friends” in her little life. Once she meets someone she has fun with, she will ask repeatedly to see them again. I’ll try reaching out here and there but after enough rejections, I give up. I have learned to not share with her when we have plans with someone because it’s too hard on her when it doesn’t happen.
This makes me ineradicably sad. I wanted the life I grew up with for my children. My mom always had many friends and we would spend tons of time with them and their kids. Many of our cousins were like siblings. Our Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Godparents were like parents. We went to dozens of birthday parties, weddings, quinceaneras a year. We were always surrounded by family and friends: our village. Now, everyone does their own things with their immediate family and it seems maybe 1 or 2 of their closest friends. I’ve tried having the big parties at the park that I remember loving and hardly anyone shows.
Don’t get me wrong, I have some great friends and cousins who are active in our lives. Jasmine’s best friends might even be my friend of 25 years and her husband. They don’t have kids of their own but they’re great with mine. Some others come to visit or for outings with the kids but let’s face it, times have changed. I know things can’t stay the same in every passing generation but that village, that should always be there. I recently posted the quote “Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like & learn to find joy in the story you’re living.” This applies to many areas of my life. I love my kids and I love our time together, but I miss having friends and I mourn the relationship I hoped our kids would have together. Now is the time I need to let go of what I thought being a mom would be life and live for the joy it has in it.
This might all seem amplified to me as their dad isn’t super involved. Sometimes I forget that people have husbands who work all week and they want weekend family time. Still, this weighs heavy on my mental health. I can’t help but wonder, is it us? Am I terrible to be around? Are my kids’ monsters?? I know we can be a lot to handle. I had my twins 11 days before my daughter turned 2. Three toddlers are a wild ride, maybe one that not a lot of people want to be a part of?