Friday, July 24, 2009

I got dumped by a(nother) friend.

So, my "friend" dumped me because I have too many problems...hmmm...
Here is a copy of an email I sent her after she attempted to bargain with me; to compromise so that we could remain "friends"...right...sorry lady, it's all of nuthin' here.


I am having a really hard time with this. I am feeling ashamed that I burdened you with my problems and that I frustrated you by not jumping at all of your advice. The truth is that I don't feel able to discuss those things with many people, and I thought you were a good person because of your profession. And Meg seems to be sympathetic to a lot of my problems because she's been there. When the three of us get together, it is one big gabfest of problems and goings-on, and boy are y'all talkers! LOL... That was one of the first thing I noticed about you two when we started hanging out last year. Maybe after you had been hanging around each other for so long and I joined in, there was one more person to compete with for the floor. I guess I didn't see myself as contributing any more personal issues to the floor than anyone else.

And I don't expect you to fix my problems. I don't necessarily want to vent for advice -- just a listening ear and an objective opinion every now and then. I did get the feeling that you felt your advice was THE ANSWER. I could see that you were frustrated when I would protest. But I am not one to follow directions blindly. I like to consider all sides and all possibilities, and of course there are a lot of suggestions that just won't work for us, for whatever reason that you may or may not know about. Many times I may reject your advice because it's something I've already considered. I may be complaining about something because I have already examined many possibilities and rejected them for one reason or another. I look for the path of least resistance, and I often view your way as a path of a lot of resistance. So I hold out for an easier fix. If one doesn't appear, I may surrender to your advice, but by then you probably don't even know it and it won't matter anyway.

I have strong opinions about things, and certain values that are unshakable. In regards to those, I can't just throw them out the window to fix one thing that I feel will destroy another. I know I'm getting deep and philosophical now, but I guess my point is that you don't have to fix me. I think the age difference makes you feel somewhat responsible for protecting me from mistakes that you made, and that you see me as very green to the world in a lot of ways. And I know I am. I think, in that same light, that I want you and Meg to be proud of me. But I also know that I'm the oldest 27 year old I've ever met. And I have to learn by doing; learn from my mistakes. I've always been like that and I'm sure I always will be. I am also resistant to change, good or bad. It is daunting to change the way my life runs, even if it promises to make things better. I have to think about it for a long time, weigh all possibilities, and then make the leap when I'm good and ready. It is this way with everything from organizing the house to creating a schedule to rearranging the living room! I swear I went over the latest room makeover in my head for a few months before I finally did it. Of course things then look like I did them on the spur of the moment because I didn't necessarily discuss these thoughts with anyone before I acted on them, but I know that they were thought out.

And I know my own mother has a lot to do with the way I am. She was (and still is) always trying to shove HER WAY down my throat, and I'm sure that made me very resistant to following advice without carefully considering all other options. This is why I don't talk to her about things until they are already done now. And even then, I might not mention anything about anything until a "need-to-know" moment arises. I told her "Drew and I have decided to go ahead and have our fourth child" and "I'm pregnant" in the same conversation, because I didn't need to hear her lecture me about whether it was the "right" time, etc. I'd heard it all before, along with the "have you considered abortion?" (advice which I obviously didn't heed). These days our conversations are pretty limited to kiddie milestones and vegetable gardening.

I have friends who I give advice to, and they don't take it. I just sit back and watch, ever supportive, but respectful of their choices, even if I'm thinking "What a dumbass! Don't they see that I'm right? Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me?!" in my head. I release my opinion out into the universe and let nature take its course. Later on, if/when they realize I was right, I laugh with them and say they can now join the "I should have listened to Michelle" club. So, you see, I have been on that end, too. I understand how frustrating it can be, but I have also learned, after many failed trys, that it's not worth me stressing about. Everyone will exercise their own free will in the end. I guess I figured everyone felt that way about advice-giving, silly me.

So I needed to get that off my chest. I knew there was something wrong over the past few months when you stopped calling and dropping by, revoked my babysitting job, and outright refused me when I have asked to come over, ignored my emails and phone calls, etc. I tried to tell my self that it was all in my head, that it was me who was becoming a hermit. At least that's what I'd hoped. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary happening that would cause such a rejection. I just thought maybe you and Meg decided you didn't like me anymore.

Then I realized that my kids were probably the culprit, and I started to make an effort to not bring all four of them to anyone's house. I guess I have a shameful attitude about them because it is so painfully obvious to me (and of course, my mother) that I have too many children and they are rambunctious, and people with less than 2 or 3 kids at home aren't accustomed to the chaos level and can't possibly truly understand how my life is. And from what they can see, they don't want any part of it. There are days when I wish it was still just me and Robby, because he's such a great kid and does so well when his siblings aren't around. Then there are other days when I wish it was just the younger three, because without Robby around, the arguing is just cute. But, like I said before, what can I do about that now? I have considered asking Drew to go live with his parents and take the twins with him, because at least that way each child would get more consistent care from one parent instead of the chaos that is our family of six. I have considered dropping Robby on his father's doorstep, but as we all know, that's just not an option. And Robby is my first baby -- I cannot abandon him. He and I really do have a good relationship when there's no one else around to stand in the way of it.

So here I am again, pouring out my troubles to you. I'm not asking for advice, just attempt to understand my viewpoint. Your friendship has been very valuable to me and I am kicking myself for screwing it all up. I am sorry that it has been so painful for you. Joining GAP has been the best thing that has happened to me as a mother, but I realize that I am too needy, and I have been projecting my lack of support on you and Meg because you are the only two in GAP that I have become even remotely close to. And it is obvious now that it has been too close for your comfort. I am working on expanding my circle of friends now, trying to find my needed support from more appropriate people, trying to keep the whining at a more casual level, spread out over more mamas so as not to burden anyone anymore.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

friends come and go...

I have come to the conclusion that people that can't even try to handle the chaos that goes with having children, they shouldn't have them. And they especially shouldn't foster friendships with people that have lots of kids and then decide after over a year of playdates and gabfests and movie nights that they can no longer handle said chaos. It is heartbreaking. And extremely insensitive.

It seems like if one joins a moms group that is supposed to offer support for life's challenges as a mom (especially while converting your parenting style from that which one was programmed, to one that will hopefully cause less damage to one's children), one would expect to be able to open up about said challenges, and receive support. Not so here. I am feeling more isolated than ever. I have reached out for help and been judged for it. I am losing friends because my life is too chaotic. More and more, as friendships drift away, I am seeing that having four children really limits the friendship possibilities for me. Those with one child are used to times of relative peace, and the ease of trying to raise and discipline only one child. They just don't know how easy they've got it. I had only one child once. And it was hard.

But now I look at those with only one and think about how misunderstood I am in their eyes. They just don't get that my house can't possibly be as clean as theirs are. That I don't have time for hobbies or me-time. That I am a mess and regretful of having had so many kids, or, sometimes, having had kids at all. But then I remember how much more of a mess I was before I was a mom, and that having Robby saved me from certain self-destruction.

The only true, good friends I have are those who I've known all along, that have watched my children come into this world and continued to love me in spite of my ever-changing lifestyle. I am an extroverted homebody. That means I like people to come over to visit. A lot. I am also a bit of a neat-freak -- something that has been forced into relative dormancy because of the nature of my family. Therefor, I attract like-minded (or so I thought) people to cultivate friendships with, and then they decide they can't stand to come to my house because it does not qualify for an interior decorating magazine photo shoot, ever. And I just can't make it my priority in life to make sure my house is clean enough for one-child mamas to approve of.

It all comes down to the fact that I am miserable on many levels and some drastic changes need to occur.