It's funny because on Thursday I have a guest post going up about being a Working Mom on my blog friend, Julia's, blog - My Life in Transition. In this post I write about how important it is for moms to support other moms, but lately I just feel like no one is supporting anyone. It just bums me out. Why is it like this?
In the past, I've had a couple of requests to write a post about friendship but I've been really lucky in my adult life in regards to friends. I have the greatest group of girlfriends and 3 of them I've been friends with for over 20 years. Have we always been speaking to each other? No. But have we remained friends all this time, despite all of our silly fights? Yes. How do we make it work? I have some ideas but I haven't had a lot to say on the subject because I am so lucky. We even have a group text between 5 of us that we write in, all day long, and just planned a trip to Palm Springs together in late May - does it get any better? These ladies make my day and I know it's rare to be so fortunate, especially among a group of girls.
But, there are some moms that I've connected with, over the past couple of years, that have really hurt my feelings lately so I thought maybe it's time to write a post about friends. Mom friends in particular. Today I am especially fired up so here I go . . .
We are all moms, we are all just trying to do our best, and we are all just barely hanging in there. Am I the only one that is barely hanging in there?! All of the drama is too much along with all the real life stuff I have going on - I just don't have the time. Plus, I'm tired of it (and kind of tired in general). Being a woman I feel like I've had a good 25+ years of dealing with friend stuff - isn't it time for it to be over? Aren't we just too old for this? Who has the time?! Why are we so unsupportive of each other and why is it so hard to maintain friendships with other moms? Why are moms so judgmental? I absolutely hate it.
When I was pregnant I went to a prenatal yoga class every Wednesday night, it was my favorite time of the week. I met a mom in class, when I was 5 months pregnant, and her baby was due just after mine. We became instant friends - both English teachers, both matter-of-fact sort of people and our husbands got along really well too. It was easy to get together, sans babies, and then it became more difficult with newborns then toddlers. I felt like I always tried to include her family in all of the mom adventures I planned, and tried my best to maintain our friendship.
However, as I kept inviting them to things, and I started hearing back from her less and less. After a particular incident where it was clear she didn't want to join me to do things, I reached out and told her how I felt. I wanted to see if I had offended her somehow and what we could do to fix things. She said that we had "grown apart" and that was it. I kept texting her, trying to work it out, but finally realized that I wasn't going to essentially try to convince someone to be my friend.
But you know what hurt the most? That she didn't give a crap about Lemon to want to see her grow up, a baby she had known her whole life. I would never think to do the same to her - we were in this together, since the beginning, but she didn't seem to care. "Don't take it personally." How can you not? It is personal and I hate when people say that. And why not take this little bump in our friendship as a learning point and move forward from there? Isn't that what adults do? You know what happened when I wrote that to her . . . no response. Now that is someone who just doesn't care enough, so why do I?
Another mom in my life, friends with both of us, also stopped talking to me. This mom was a good friend of ours as well and actually watched Lemon for us last year while we were at work. We definitely have differing opinions, and have had many conversations about it, but ever since the school year ended last year, we haven't really talked either. Even though I always included her in activities, as well, and thought everything was ok between us. I guess I was wrong about that one too.
And then, last night, I noticed that two moms, who have babies literally days older than Lemon, stopped following me on both IG and on FB, at the same time. These two moms, two ladies I have been communicating with since we were pregnant together, both deleted me like they talked about it and decided to unfollow me together (they totally did). My personal FB where I only post pictures of Lemon for friends/family too? Weird.
After writing to one of the on FB, she said that she stopped following me because of what my Instagram has turned into. (I wrote the other one a text and she never responded, even worse.) I asked her why she stopped following me on FB too and it took her awhile to answer, but eventually she said it's because I post the same pictures there as I do on IG (I don't). She told me it wasn't "malicious" but then when I asked her why would they stop following both accounts, and together, if it wasn't meant to be hurtful she didn't respond. Mean girls.
I told her that I kept following her, over these past two years, and not once did I think to unfollow her even though her IG used to be a bit about marketing too. We have been on this journey together since the beginning and I had hoped to actually meet these moms in real life one day. She kept saying it wasn't personal, kept saying my IG was "impersonal" now and said it's just not something she wants to follow. But you know what it sounded like to me - "I don't give a shit about you, your family or your baby so I stopped following you." How could I not take it personally?
I tried to explain to her that I have people who have sent me free products in exchange for promotion and so it's my "job" to post pictures of Lemon in the products. The reason I started reaching out to small, IG businesses was to help moms who were trying to make a living doing what they love. My first moccasin maker friend, Lauren of Feather and Filly, makes moccasins to provide for her family because her wounded warrior husband can't and she has two kids to support. A local mom, my friend Andy, started a business, Indie Nook, and I repost her giveaway pictures and put Lemon in her clothes to drum up business for her because it's her job. My bestie started making handbags so of course I'm going to help her out and my husband and I started making rings - I have to promote us, it's extra money! I am lucky to have a lot of followers so if I can direct traffic to these small businesses (and mocc makers) then good - more business for everyone (and moccasins for Lemon too, an added bonus!).
There are a million bloggers out there who do this and a million people on IG who are doing the same thing. I follow some as well and you know why I do? I like their families, their babes and their pics, that's it. And when they post advertising/promotion sort of posts, I just scroll past them if it's something that doesn't interest me because I know that they are just trying to do their best just like the rest of us. This is their way to make a living, supplement their income or get cute, new products - just like it is for me. Plus, like me, they probably get to meet so many other moms, from all around the world, who make beautiful things for babies. How cool is that?! All helping each other, that's what I like and that is what I'm all about.
I blog for me, first, to chronicle Lemon's life (and obviously to share my thoughts). I blog, second, to maybe one day use this as a source of income so that I, too, can stay home with my babe (either this one or the next one). Wouldn't that be awesome if I could just do this (blog and IG) and my husband could just make rings? Wouldn't that be ideal and so fun? Why don't other moms support me in my ventures, whatever they are? In actuality they just don't care.
Have I thought about starting a more personal, private IG account? Yes. But along with our small, ring business account, @spiritbee_woodworks, I also have an account with my bestie, @shesaidshesaidgirls, and a teacher account for my students were I post homework assignments. That's 4 IG accounts to keep up with, not to mention there's no app for juggling all of them either. It's too much and just this month I realized I have way too much going on. It's so fun and I love every minute of it but in addition to a full time job, it's a lot!
Let me share with you what my week normally looks like:
I work from 8-4pm as a high school teacher where I am responsible for 175 students' feelings/grades/parents and have colleagues and meetings to go to just like everyone else. I spend my lunch hours blogging (or grading/calling parents) while remembering to eat lunch. I have 3 hours each night with Lemon before she goes to bed, and every time we get a new pair of moccs I dress her up and try to capture cute pics of an ever-moving toddler. After Lemon goes to bed, I upload the pics, post them on the blog and then write about each company. If it's a giveaway week then I have to make a picture, post it and keep track of the entries/winner. On Wednesdays I only have an hour at home before yoga and I get home after Lemon is asleep. This is all in addition to me making dinner, giving the baby a bath and doing our whole nighttime routine. And when my free time isn't spent on IG or this blog? I'm trying to find time to help Ian make rings. On the weekend we have 3 sets of families to see, our friends, activities with other moms/babies and I get together with my bestie for a couple of hours to answer She Said, She Said questions - all in two days. Plus, nap times are spent making rings instead of on the couch catching up on all those TV shows taht are filling up our DVR. Not to mention shopping, cooking, cleaning and cuddling with my baby - all that regular mom stuff.
I am not complaining, I love it all - but I also won't sacrifice doing something fun with my girl to do any of it, so most of the time things are put off by a trip to the zoo or swimming lessons. It's a lot and I am overwhelmed almost every week. So, for someone to say to me that my IG is "impersonal" makes me so angry - it is so personal and I put so much time into all of those pictures, especially promotional pics because it affects someone else's life too. I may make it look easy but anyone who does things like this knows it isn't, and the obligations pile up. This is time away from my "mom life" and it makes me really mad that someone would even accuse me of being "impersonal." It's all personal - it's my daughter and our life!
So, the kind of person I am is the person that says - if you don't give a shit about seeing pictures of Lemon or seeing her grow up, then you don't get to see anything that has to do with us at all. And so I block them and move on. I want to put my energy into people who do care and who want to see my baby girl and our family, in any capacity. All of you. :)
Why are people like this? Why are other moms like this? I have no idea. But I thought at 35 I wouldn't have to get my feelings hurt anymore by another person. I am happy for other moms, celebrate their successes and would stick by them, no matter what. I haven't deleted a mom in ages on IG and wouldn't for such a silly reason.
I look at my profile on my IG and here's what I see: My beautiful baby girl (wearing some cute moccs, sure), a chance for a lucky mama to win a ring (Lemon's valentine), a giveaway promotion for a friend's shop (whose company is her families' main source of income), a post about helping a family in Hawaii that I've only met once (five years ago), because the mom is battling a life-threatening illness, some Lemon selfie videos. a picture about how lucky we are to have Brittany, our nanny, and me snuggling my muffin in bed (my favorite part of the morning). Two pictures that aren't mine and the rest are of Lemon - how could you not like that?
My advice for dealing with "friends" like this?
Don't let it get to you (easier said than done, I know). They aren't worth your time or even communicating with (of course I had to try!) because they just don't care. Any mom who works her ass off to make ends meet, and does her best for her family, would know that we are all just doing our best, no matter what kind of blog/IG/FB feed we have. And any "friend" that cared enough would talk to you about how they are feeling before just stopping communication, whether in real life or online. I know that I cared enough to talk to these moms, but won't try again. In the end, they aren't in my life anymore because they just don't care enough so why should I? It still hurts, and it always will, but you know what - they don't deserve any more of my time. The energy I've spent writing this post could have been directed somewhere else, on someone else (perhaps those 5 ladies who keep texting me as I write this!). Rid your life of people like this because anyone who matters will stick around. Guess who won't be seeing Lemon grow up? These four moms and it is truly their loss. The moms that I've met on IG and through this blog, who have reached out and kept in touch, matter. Make connections, make real connections, and try only once if something goes awry. That's all you can do.
How have I had the same friends for 20 years?
It takes work. It takes apologizing, admitting when your wrong, watching what you say and lots of laughter. It also means not taking yourself too seriously or anything they say too seriously, you've got to know that it all comes out of love. Debate, differ in opinion but don't let it affect you, these ladies know you better than you think. You have to be flexible, choose your battles and speak up if someone does hurt your feelings. The ladies who have been in your life through thick and thin matter. Remembering that no matter what happens, these people aren't going anywhere because they love you, that's what's important.
Thanks for reading and thanks for sticking around. I appreciate each and every one of you. You matter and when I finally hit "Publish" on this post, I will be sending only positive energy to all of you. :)