Hi. It’s been a while. At least it had been a while, until I received your text message at 1:33 pm yesterday. 1:33pm. I was three minutes late on bringing the babe his bottle, and as I was reaching on my tiptoes to get the last clean bottle off the top shelf I saw your name flash across my phone. Your words broke the small part of my heart that I have tried to keep sacred for you, the small part that isn’t enough. You told me that I haven’t been in touch lately and how that made you feel awful. The reminder made me pause, but only for a second because babe was already awake and yelling from his crib.
Those two ideas go hand in hand, you see. Your text, your call, your Facebook message. My baby needing me. My husband needing me. My two jobs needing me. Me needing me. Your demand for my attention is something I am familiar with.
Right now, I am . . . overwhelmed. I am trying to make sure that my son eats, sleeps, and doesn’t stick his finger in an outlet. I am attempting to figure out whether the hives on his face were from the banana, or the cinnamon, or the bubble bath. I am trying to make sure that my family has clean clothes and that the wheat puffs from last night’s dinner are swept off the floor before I go from my full-time job to my part-time job. I am trying to make sure that the dried throw-up on my shoulder isn’t fully noticeable before standing up in front of my classroom full of 15 year olds. I am trying to make sure that my sweet husband still knows that I love him, that I couldn’t do this without him. I am trying to get this new parenting thing down. I am trying to get this working mom thing down. I am trying to get this marriage with a baby thing down.
I know that, nowhere on that list, is me trying to get this maintaining friendships with friends without babies thing down.
I know that I haven’t been the best friend. I’ve missed birthday parties, long weekends away, and yes, more than a few phone calls. I know that I no longer reach out “just because,” and that my random visits up to the city have completely ceased. I know that I missed the time you celebrated becoming a doctor, and the time that you cried because one of your first patients lied about you to your boss. But please understand—I am trying. I think about you often—I wonder how you are, what life your life is like, how your marriage is going, how your career is. I want to call, and sometimes, I really, really should. But during those times, I feel pulled in so many other directions. By the time I sit down at the end of the day, it is 10pm and to be honest, I try to sleep sometimes, too. I know, to you, I must seem so selfish.
Please know that I have never, ever been more selfless in my life.
So I understand that you are mad, and I understand why you are mad. But please, try to understand me, too. Please try to be compassionate and remember who I am; that there is a part of me who wishes that she was at the parties, on the girls’ trips, and that our phone calls didn’t have to end because the pediatrician was calling on the other line.
And please know that if and when you are in the same position I am, and my kid is a bit older and more independent, I will call you, and I know that you might not call back for days, weeks, months. And I will understand that your heart is, for the most part, taken up by this amazingly rewarding and all-consuming role called new mom. And I will remind myself to be compassionate and kind. I pray that when you are in my shoes, my future-self can give to you what I need most right now: a text that says “Hey, it’s been a while. I understand how overwhelming the life of a new mom can be. I just wanted to make sure that you are okay. I love you and miss you.” A bit less biting, a bit more understanding.
I do love you and miss you. I hope that right now that can be enough. I also understand if it isn’t. Our hearts are only so big.
High School English teacher by day, Wife/Mama/Yogi by night, Jessica is happiest loving on her husband and eight-month-old little man. She spends her days just trying to do the next right thing and trusting her instincts as she navigates life as a new mom.
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