Maybe I’m not reliable anymore.
Maybe I’m not on time anymore.
I may or may not actually be able to show up when you need me.
Maybe I’m taking more from my relationships than I am able to give.
Of all the things motherhood has changed about m,e this is the part that has been the hardest for me. I used to pride myself on being a friend. A volunteer. A fulfiller of all my commitments. I’m not her anymore. It’s gut-wrenching to feel like I’ve lost this integral part of me. It doesn’t make me proud of myself. Admitting this about myself makes me feel a bit like a bottom-dwelling succubus. For every text left unanswered. Every deadline missed. Every canceled playdate. There are so many excuses; illness, doctors, therapies, cranky children, extended family obligations, grocery trips, and the list goes on. This cycle goes on, and breaking it seems insurmountable. Maybe next time, the cosmos will align, and I’ll show up for a coffee date or actually respond when a well-meaning friend reaches out yet again.
It’s not intentional-this sort of “absence of me.” Most of the time, I don’t even realize I’ve missed something until hours later when my head hits the pillow, and I actually have time to compartmentalize my day. The inner dialogue with myself goes something like, ‘way to fail yet again-you’ll have to do better tomorrow.’ The morning arrives, and there are lunches to pack, coffee to be made, buses to catch, laundry to be done, and, to be frank, sometimes the proudest I am of myself in a day is that I put new leggings on.
“Yes, I’ll be there!” Blanket response, commitment, and actual arrival. It seems so easy. It was so easy. Saying, “No, I can’t make it,” feels like admitting defeat. The fear of too many no’s is that, eventually, there won’t be any more reaching out. No more chances to find the ‘yes girl.’
So I answer, “Maybe.” Maybe I’ll be there. Maybe I’ll answer your call. Maybe today, there will be no medical emergencies. Maybe I will get the rarest of mom moments- a surge of energy at 6 pm that has me walking out the door instead of taking my bra off and putting on my PJs. I know it’s a phase; motherhood is all about stages of survival: thriving, barely hanging on, strides of coasting, and the rare periods of its-so-good-when-is-someone-going-to-start-puking. So, I’m a maybe. Who knows how long I’ll be riding this wave, but if accepting that has me extending grace to myself, it’s here to stay. The best I can do right now is be honest about my intentions and apply the Motherhood Asterisk: *Maybe.