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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friends

How do you know a friend is a true friend? How do you decide when they have earned your trust? When do you divulge details of your life that you wouldn't just ramble out to a complete stranger? I struggle with this. I am an open book. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too open...do I scare people off? My husband thinks I read too much into other's actions. For example, if I meet another mother and our children are the same ages, I feel like this is a good reason to have a playdate, yes? And when we schedule this playdate, I try my hardest to follow the courteous "rules"...if we are at the other person's house, I always have intentions of cleaning up after my children and bringing food and snacks for my children - sometimes even enough for their child(ren). However, we all know what can happen with even the BEST of intentions! The truth is I have a lot of kids. They are small kids. They are not the best behaved. We have a pretty regular routine which includes eating at regular intervals and napping at close to the same time each day. We don't plan more than one thing a day...it just gets too complicated. So, when I say these things out loud and openly to another parent during planning phase, I feel like they should be respected, right? I will bend over backwards to be in a position where we are hanging with another family...mostly because I CRAVE adult time. I love to talk about "the way we were", I love laughing about pre-kid days, I love complaining about my husband.

All of this being said, lately I have been on some "playdates" - let's say in the past several months - and never heard from the other again. "Never" is a harsh word. I usually see these people around somehow...and maybe there are words exchanged of how "we should get together soon!" Unfortunately, any attempt of mine to schedule something is usually countered with an excuse of being out of town or something else is already scheduled, etc. Shaun thinks I'm being sensitive. On one hand, yes, it's the summer. People vacation often in the summer. Well, some people do. Lucky them. I realize people have family members come into town during these months, too. It's just....well, I don't honestly know what "it's just". I want some friends who I am comfortable with! I want friends who WANT to hang out with me and my kids! I want friends who will say out loud to me, "Yes, I would love for you to come over. Anytime." And MEAN IT! A standing weekly playdate would rock my world. Someone who's parenting tactics I relate to and agree with...someone who's children get along well with mine...someone who doesn't mind switching off hosting and guesting.

I don't know who (if anyone) reads this and I would hate to offend someone or hurt their feelings, so I'm going to try to be very vague. I had a friend I felt met these qualities, but just 2 playdates resulted in me finding out some "deal-breakers". Another friend has issues at home which prevent me from being comfortable over there. I met a couple of women through church who I really felt connected with, but had one playdate with each and have heard nothing since. I've made an attempt or two at setting something up, and all have been met with an excuse as mentioned above. I understand the excuses, but I feel like people would offer an alternate date if they were even interested in hanging out again.

Sigh. I did run into an old friend recently and we really had a great time together when we made time to hang out a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, a later look at our schedules showed us her "perfect play day" is the opposite of my perfect play day. Awesome.

Are there people who would rather just hang out at home with their kids and NOT be around other adults? Is it the fact that I have 3 or sometimes 4 kids with me that is intimidating? Is it my kids? Is it me? I understand people not wanting to come to my house because it is rather small and we have only one bathroom and we have severely weeded out the toys due to the space constrictions, but I am almost always willing to venture OUT rather than always being the type who invites people here.

I feel like I veered off up above...I usually don't re-read, but I did this time and I didn't connect my thoughts very well. What is happening is I feel as though I'm being avoided after just one playdate. It's happened a couple of times...leading me to believe it's me. Maybe I should just keep the conversation to "about kids" at first. Maybe I don't need to tell people that Shaun and I fight. Maybe I need to keep my mouth shut and not offer up any advice for disciplining/raising kids. I think, instead, I would just appreciate honesty. If someone doesn't think my personality is appealing to them, I do believe it would hurt my feelings less to be told that rather than all of my attempts at getting together being thwarted. Hmmm. Maybe there are some people in my life I should start being more honest to and see if it comes back around. When did we all get so concerned about hurting feelings? The friends I mentioned above are not people I "dislike" for any reason...there is just one reason or another that I feel getting together with our children involved is not a good idea. Maybe we could be friends later when my life is more MINE and less MOM. Maybe.

2 comments:

Erin said...

Just know that I love you and miss you! I knew you pre kids, and vice-versa. Maybe it is the kids, but until i met you, i had never had the friendship chemistry i thought that we had. Never did I feel comfortable and open and like myself. I have had trouble as a mother, i lost myself and now am trying desperately to get me back. It may be somewhat selfish, but I gotta do it. LJ has been working out of town for about the last 2 months with no end in sight. That means when he is home on the weekends, it is mostly sleeping and eating and church. I am exhaused and lonely. My only adult time is with friends, phone calls to mom, and playdates. Have you tried a Meetup group? Meetup.com? That is what I had to do to get myself out of the house when we come here blind. I am sorry you are going through this, but I feel like i am right there with you! Trust that God will provide you with those needs. ((hugs))

Katy said...

Awwwww!!!! Reading this made me wanna go pop-out 4 kids real quick and move to Nashville so that we can have a play-date!!!! I'll TOTALLY do it!!!!!
Seriously though, I can't relate on the playdate/kid level, but I can understand the whole "is it me?/did I do something wrong?/what is it?/etc." never-ending line of questions that can swim around in a woman's head. It's tough nowadays. People are very set in their ways and closed-in and not very open to fostering new relationships. It's NOT you!!! Many people are just so wrapped-up in their OWN lives and in their OWN world/drama that they just don't even THINK about anyone else.
Audrey, you are WONDERFUL!!! I can't imagine how you juggle 4 little ones like you do but I am SO HAPPY that someone so sweet and fun and amazing, like you, is (pardon my terminology, here) reproducing!!! lol What I'm tryin' to say is, we need more Audrey's in this world!!!!