I’ve conducted varying degrees of spring cleaning on friendships over the years. As I’ve gotten older, the less time I have for shitty friends. Women friendships seem to undergo transformations with the catalyst of motherhood. Instead of supporting one another, we turn into judgmental know-it-alls who are desperately insecure.
The only way I saw my friends who were now moms was under the added stress of a play date. Each date grew progressively more taxing; I geared up for trials where my friends were the judges yet I had no jury of my peers. Hanging out with my friends-now-moms became something I dreaded rather than looked forward to.
It seemed ironic and obnoxious how some friends became mothers for the first time at the same time I became a mother for the second time. (I had already been a mother for eight years.) Those years of experience somehow went out the window because now they had their own babies and could school me how their modern experience surpassed mine. Clearly I was missing imperative updates I hadn’t been privy to in the world of childbirth, parenting, and post-birth hemorrhoid creams.
There were mom friends who questioned the organic status of every item in my house – and 95% organic was never good enough. I had friends criticize the tone with which I urged our daughter to “be careful” because my intonation wasn’t encouraging enough. There were women who spent our valuable time together preaching to me about breastfeeding and vaccination schedules, completely drowning in their all-encompassing moments of babyhood. These women abandoned themselves in mothering and judged me for not taking it to the same extreme.
There are givers and takers in this world and at a certain point, one-way relationships and unreturned favors only last so long. I was exhausted from being a perpetual cheerleader, only to stand alone, waiting for encouragement when it was my turn. These kinds of people slowly meandered off my real-life friend list and occupied their more comfortable position on my Facebook friend list.
My number one deal-breaker is getting together with someone who prioritized her device over our real-life connection. It’s disrespectful; in my world human trumps phone every time.
I’m starting to wonder if my bar is too high or as life ticks away if I have less patience. My default setting is dialed to “I feel bad,” so I’m inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt especially if they tell me how awesome I am.
I’ve tried to get better at forgiveness (slightly), but I’m the kind of person who holds onto everything. Friends are the family you get to choose. On the flip side, they can be deleted when they go toxic.