As any mom knows, whether you just had your first child or fifth child, your world is rocked. The schedule you juggled so well is now over-taken by this tiny body that depends solely on you. The numerous commitments you could once execute with efficiency, now takes a back-burner because these precious eyes stare at you.. expecting you to just KNOW what they need at all times, and sometimes that’s just snuggles at home.
Here’s the thing though – becoming a mom shouldn’t be an excuse to also become flaky. I’ll be honest, I have this big problem with over committing and spending our weekends going to 5 birthday parties because I can’t say no. That’s not a joke. More weekends than 1 have been spent party hopping (all with a Paw Patrol theme.. not the kind of party you may be thinking..) and by the end of it, our weekend is over and my husband and kids are a little cranky and exhausted. Today for example, I’m supposed to be at a graduation party and when I realized our entire family would be in different places. My anxiety shot through the roof at the idea of saying, “I’m so sorry we can’t make it.” But I had to.
I HATE saying no. I hate missing events for people I love. And I have always viewed birthday parties and baby showers and events similar as something that needs priority. That child gets 1 party a year, I need to make sure my kid is in attendance because it’s a big deal to the birthday boy/girl. You can only have a baby once every 9 months, so I need to make it to that shower because giving up 2 hours in a 9 month span for someone I love, really isn’t THAT big of a deal.
Here is what I’ve learned though over the last 2 years of adding another kid, adding more friends, my son developing his own friendships outside of just my little mom-friend’s kids – you can’t make everything. It’s inevitable when you add numbers to your crew. Things just won’t always be able to be forced in. Just this year, my daughter’s 1st birthday was on the same day, an hour before one of our other close friend’s birthday party. We don’t love them less because we didn’t make it, but I had to decide I wasn’t going to stress and cut my own daughter’s party short because I was trying to fit everything in. And they didn’t make it to her party, and I didn’t feel slighted in the least! I know this situation is a no-brainer for many of you, but to those of us “Yes Addicts” – that was a huge victory!
I do think there is a tricky balance though of putting your kids/family first and using them as an excuse to be flaky. And as I was thinking about this, I think it can all boil down to 1 main factor – motive. What is your motive for saying no, bailing on a commitment, or overall not showing up? Is it TRULY because you need to be home/somewhere with your child or are you using your child as a reason to get out of commitments you don’t want to attend?
We’ve all had kids get sick or hurt the night before a wedding or party or holiday. It happens. And sometimes you 100% need to stay with them and be a momma first. But here’s the other scenario – my kid is fussy, probably just teeth or something a little off. I have a commitment the next day I didn’t want to go to anyway, but already committed to. And now I text “hey, sorry, I wanted to be there SO bad, but the baby is sick so I need to stay home. :(”
Umm.. unless I am going to solve this fussy/teeth issue by being home, there is no reason I can’t leave that baby at home with my scheduled sitter or husband and just follow through with my commitment, even if just for an hour. But when I already didn’t want to go, I can use my kids to become flaky. And here’s the deal, moms aren’t dumb. We all know when a friend is being flaky versus making a choice with their kids as their motive. What makes that important is the fact that since we can all tell when a friend is just being flaky, now there are feelings involved and we as the other mom feel the weight of a friend flaking on us. Who wants to be bailed on?? No one!
I think I’ve realized that bailing will be inevitable at times. Kids are just unpredictable. LIFE is unpredictable! But I think as moms, we have to realize when being the “flaky mom friend” holds more weight than just skipping an event. Some events, it won’t matter. Some events, it can really hurt the friend you flaked on, and honestly isn’t worth it.
If we don’t show up for the little things, people will stop depending on us to come through for the big things. Relationships are built at the birthday parties and baby showers and girl’s dinners. Trust is built in the showing up when both parties know it wasn’t convenient, but it was promised and followed through with. Friendship “validation” (even though I kind of think that term sounds dumb) happens when a friend does what she says, even when you know she had a better offer.
Moms have a built in reason to flake – KIDS. It’s up to us as the adult to decide our motives, decide if flaking is worth the friendship, because inevitably, friendships will suffer if you become the flaky mom friend too often, and decide who and what is priority in our life. Our kids will always take priority, and every mom understands that. But the moment we start “using” our kids as a reason to flake and expect others to just “take it,” we’ve started a dangerous trend that will lead to surface relationships, hurt feelings, and a possible lonely season when you look around and realize deep friendships are being built without you. And at the end of the day, it’s because you became the “flaky mom friend” over time, so your girls started finding other moms they could count on for the small things, in preparation for the big things that will happen at some point.
One of my very best friends and I have seasons. We have seasons of seeing each other daily, taking each other’s kids weekly, and spending mom time together constantly. Then we have seasons of only texting and waving at school drop-off for a month at a time. Life happens. We both know it. But we also know that our relationship is more important than flaking. We also know the other will flake at some point. And when she does.. she will show up to school drop off the next day with an “I’m Sorry” bag of donut holes and give you a hug. So when you are the flaky mom friend, which we will all be at some point, I’m Sorry donuts will always be the answer to remind the one you flaked on how much you do actually love her, life just got the best of you 😉