Friends for a single mom. Looking for people who enjoy the outdoors, deep conversations, the occasional total breakdown, themed events, baking, and confusing interactions that vacillate between hyper-engaged enthusiasm for the relationship, and unexpected distant awkwardness. The ideal person will have flexible time so that they can work within small windows of availability. Must have a near-Christ level of patience to endure several cancellations before eventual meet-ups. Should not expect immediate text replies or phone conversations (like, at all).
Scrolling through social media, I am always envious of the moms in pictures with their groups of girlfriends – at wineries, the beach, someone’s baby shower, brunch, etc. Some of you even have multiple girlfriend groups! You get matching outfits or t-shirts with cute slogans, you take annual trips; you do friendship right. It is impressive. I am jealous of you.
Friends are a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like people. I actually love learning about others and creating connections. But I don’t know how people do it. Between work, kids, housework, life tasks, and attempting some level of self-care, I am always either low on time or (mental or physical) energy. I try to build friendships, but I seem unable to maintain them. Here’s a glimpse into the bum deal of my friendship:
You’ll invite me to parties and to hang out at your place, and I will come (whenever it is kid-friendly, or I can get a sitter). But, I probably won’t ever invite you to my place, because I live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment and I’m pretty embarrassed about it. So, you’ll think I don’t really want to be your friend. You’ll stop inviting me.
When you ask if we want to join you and your kids for a movie, I will likely want to. But, we live on a tight budget, so I will probably say no. In all likelihood, I will be too embarrassed to tell you that it is a financial issue, so you will think I don’t really want to be your friend. You won’t ask again.
You will offer to take my kids for a while, and I will accept it. Then, you will ask for the same favor, but I will likely have to work, so I will say no. The imbalance between a partnered-mom and single-mom investment in kid-swapping, and friendship, in general, will become progressively clear. So, you will think I don’t really want to be your friend. You will find new friends.
You will do something amazing for me, and I will plan a thoughtful and unique way to show my gratitude…but then I will get busy with and overwhelmed by life. I will keep the gesture on my to-do list, but by the time I get to it, so much time will have passed that I will feel too ashamed to execute it belatedly. You will find me rude for not having the courtesy to write even a thank-you note. You will think I don’t really want to be your friend. You will move on.
Initial encounters are probably the worst. I will approach you with the genuine exuberance for getting to know who you are. But when the conversation starts to move toward future plans, I will be silently battling the demons inside my head telling me that I am incapable of being a good friend, so I will appear distracted and try to find a way to move on to the next, more-superficial, conversation. You will think I don’t really want to be your friend. It will stop there.
So, if you’ve ever tried to be my friend and felt like I haven’t reciprocated, please know that I appreciate you deeply and I have entertained visions of our Insta-stories in coordinated clothing on our annual trip to the winery. I have daydreamed about sipping mimosas and laughing with you over brunch. If you want to continue trying, I promise that I will also try. If you don’t, I understand. Either way, please know that my ISO is ongoing, redeemable at any time.