You Can Be A Good Mom, Wife Or Friend, But Not All Three

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When I found out I was pregnant, I made myself a few promises amidst the flurry of emotions I felt. One of them was that I would work towards striking a seamless balance between the different aspects of my life. What that basically means is — I would juggle friends, family, and kids like a pro.

That was one of the first promises I had broken.

Fast forward to a decade and 2 kids later, I find myself wondering what happened to that girl who had vowed to not let her growing family rob her of her date nights and girls’ night outs. Was she even real?

These days, it feels like I’m always letting someone or the other down.

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If I pick up my phone to chat with my girlfriends, my 5-year-old will be quick to point out that phones are not allowed during family time and that I need to keep that tiny screen away. But it’s the only way I can connect with the girlfriends I never get to see.

If I sit down to catch my breath for 2 minutes before getting back to the grind, my husband laments about the elaborate meals I used to rustle up on weekends before the baby came. But with the added responsibilities of 2 kids, I just don’t have the time anymore to go gourmet. Not even on weekends.

If I call up an old schoolmate to catch up with her, she’ll be quick to ask when we’ll be meeting up next. But I just recently had to let go of the nanny we had, leaving no time for me to make lunch plans with my gal pals.

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All of this has led me to believe that 24 hours are just too little to do everything I need/want to get done in a day. As much as I want to give all my loved ones a decent chunk of my time, the hours in my time bank rapidly dwindle, ensuring I almost never get the chance to give my circle of people the attention they desire (and deserve). And let’s not even talk about my extended family. That’s a story I haven’t revisited in a long, long time.

And it’s not like I have a problem saying no to things/plans that seem absolutely unnecessary to me. I can easily turn down low priority obligations such as the neighbor’s 3rd dinner party of the week. And you’d think I’d have more time on my hands as a result. But somehow, that never happens.

Don’t get me wrong, though. To me, spending quality time with my kids, husband, and friends is very important. But why can’t these three spheres co-exist? Why do they seem mutually exclusive?
I won’t lie, though. Like almost every other mom on this planet, I place my kids right at the top in the priority order. And as a result, let my other relationships bear the brunt of it.

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Fortunately, my husband and I are mindful of this. And if there ever comes a period when we feel too disconnected from each other, we make it a point to spend some quality time together. Even if that means watching some late-night TV before dozing off for the night, I guess I can just call that the perks of living under the same roof.

However, when it comes to friends, this is a tough ask. Since they don’t demand much from me, I automatically end up giving them less. And it’s sad, really. I miss them too. I miss being out, having fun, gossiping over drinks and good food, and just bonding with my girls without having to worry about bedtime or homework.

And yet, sometimes I go months without meeting the people I care about the most. Sometimes I wish I lived in simpler times. Like 50 years ago, when life was uncomplicated, and all your girlfriends lived right across the street. So you could catch up for high tea every day while watching your kids play together.

Alas, that’s not to be.

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Now, all my girls and I do is plan an outing months in advance, only for it to be canceled last minute because of a surprise in-laws visit or a kid feeling under the weather. And to be honest, it’s not like I’m always complaining when that happens. Sometimes the idea of dressing up and going out seems far less tempting than staying in and having a date night with my husband.

Maybe it’s true that you can’t be all three — a good wife, mom, and friend — together. Does that mean I’ll lose my friends along the way? I don’t want to wait to find that out. It’s time to make time for those who matter.

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