CONFESSION: I don’t have many friends (gasp!).
Most of my friends are my family (sisters, brothers, sisters-in-law, parents, and husband). I do have some external friendships but to be completely honest, there are very few that I put the time and energy into.
Before you hate on me, read the reasons WHY this has happened:
1. My life is insanity. I am in a perpetual state of survival. Family is something that is always there and so I make an effort to invest in those relationships, but outside of that I have little to no time and little to no energy. Jonathan and I are both INCREDIBLY protective of our time and set very strong boundaries. When he only has a few days off, if we have to go in to get groceries and go to church, we like to spend the other two just resting as a family to prevent burnout. This is somewhat an essential boundary for the sake of both of our sanity.
2. I pull back. I have spent a lot of time evaluating why I do this. I think part of it is a protective mechanism because I AM so incredibly busy just with homeschooling, kids, cleaning, and work. Part of it is that we are an RCMP family, we move. We are currently in the process of moving and I am pulling back from all my friendships. It doesn’t excuse it, but it is kind of what I do and part of what contributes to my serious lack of friends.
3. I am a homebody. My house is generally always a mess so I don’t want to have anyone over, it’s too much work to clean. If my house is clean I don’t want to have anyone over to mess it up! My home is my sanctuary. We have an incredibly full day just with doing school and life and if I have the choice of staying home I generally choose to do it. Going out ANYWHERE with all the kids stresses me out.
4. I am FULL. I am not talking about busy, that is reason number 1 😉 I am happy, content, satisfied with my life. My life is so rich and full and although I know that friendship is important, I think in this stage of my life, I don’t need it as much. I have faith that this will change as my kids get older and I have more time for relationships. But for now, I feel like God is reassuring me that my time will come.
5. INTERRUPTIONS! Right now getting together with friends is SO STRESSFUL! Mixing our kids, even if there isn’t fighting, I am stressed. My kids are messing something up, I am interrupted a billion times! I can hardly bear it! Having a conversation with my to do list on my mind, my kids constantly pulling at me, my baby crying in my arms… all I can think is RETREAT!
6. My husband is my best friend. Again, this doesn’t replace a good girlfriend, but Jonathan really is my partner in crime. He gets me, he gets the mundane things that happen in my day, he listens to me, he hugs me when I cry, he cheers me up when I am depressed, he doesn’t get offended when I am MAJORLY PMS’ing, he’s just simply my very best friend! Now, clearly he can’t play ALL roles in my life and I don’t want to place that expectation on him. But in this stage when both of our lives are so “programmed” and we are living in the trenches of “survival” we have been leaning on each other more and more.
7. We live in a small town. Small towns don’t bode well for friendship. Sometimes you are in a really close knit community where it happens fast, other times your community is clicky and you pull back. Whatever the reason, for me it has made it a lot harder, especially considering I am one of the only people that homeschools where I live! Any of the other people here who could be close friends have kids in school. They are meeting up and connected with other school moms and I am just completely out of the loop.
8. We have a very close knit family.
We have a fairly large family just with sisters and brothers and in-laws and this is my primary source of friendship. These are my best friends. I call my sister and sisters-in-law and mom all the time. We get together, we talk on the phone, we go visit them when we can, we all have kids around the same age, we relate, our husbands are friends, and we connect. Because I am spending time investing in these relationships on nearly a daily basis, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for other friendships.
9. “Me Time” is a Treasure that is Hard to Come By! It is VERY rare for me to leave five kids at home to get out by myself. Partly because I prefer to stay home, partly because Jonathan doesn’t get a lot of time to himself so I feel selfish, partly because a babysitter is expensive and gas is expensive to go into town, and partly because if I do have “me time” I CRAVE to just be ALONE! Being alone is a novelty I don’t often get and the rare moments I have I choose to go sit and crank the worship music and just have no one hanging on my legs.
10. There is an ocean between me and my friends. Literally, an ocean. My husband dragged me kicking and screaming to the middle of nowhere. An island that is an 8 hour ferry ride from civilization, from the nearest Starbucks, from Walmart! Ok, he actually didn’t drag me here, we were both pretty stoked to come to one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. HOWEVER, let me tell you, islands wreak havoc on friendships you guys. I haven’t left in over 5 months and I probably won’t leave for another 7 months. It is expensive to travel and some of my friends I will not see at all while we are living here. Again, part of the lifestyle of being married to an RCMP officer.
Prioritizing the Friendships I do Have
This last month I have been missing my friends. In the midst of all my crazy and chaos and busyness I think about them with a bit of nostalgia. I’m almost afraid to look at old photos, because I know they will just make me homesick. But here is the beautiful thing about today, you can pick up a phone and still make time, when you can, for those friends whose lives are assuredly just as busy as yours.
Life is crazy you guys, it is for you, it is for me. I love my friends dearly, they are important to me and I treasure them. However, one of the best things about them is that they are living the same full-throttle speed of life that I am… they get it! They don’t make me feel bad when it’s been 3 weeks or even a month since we last talked. They don’t judge me if I didn’t respond to their last FB message until they messaged me again about something else and I remember again (whoops). Because they do those things too! I am going to be a good friend again, I know I will! Once my kids can tie their shoes and go to the bathroom and make themselves a snack and play together without needing mommy every single step of the way. The days when I can breathe and invest a bit more into that area of my life. But for right now, friendship is a bit of a juggling act and I am blessed to know that those friends are still going to be there when the circus is slowing down.