I am a terrible friend. I don’t say that for pity or reassurances but out of an honest acknowledgment that I’m just really terrible at friendship.
The truth is that I’m not a very good friend in general. I don’t do a good job of maintaining friendships across the years or miles, and I never really have.
But add in working full time, homeschooling, and living in the boonies, and I’m not even a very good friend to the people in my community that I see on a semi-regular basis.
It’s not because of a lack of desire. There are women in my life who I’d love to be close to. Women I connect with and enjoy talking to. Families who share a lot in common with our own family.
But in a season where I barely have any free time, I struggle even more. I’m terrible at returning calls and text messages. I can’t attend social events or spontaneous playdates. And sometimes even when I have a free moment, what I really want is to just crawl into bed with a book.
As an introvert, scheduling this time to be by myself is super important. Without it, I can’t make it through a morning of homeschooling while juggling babies or an afternoon of meetings (while still juggling babies). And because I want to spend time with my husband and children as well, making time for friendship actually takes me away from my people in a very real way.
We’re also trying to prioritize our relationships with our extended family—our parents and siblings and beyond—which means some of our free time is already spoken for as well.
My best friend, who lives several states away, is patient when I disappear from our daily chats and flexible about where we continue those conversations (whether on Skype or Facebook or Snapchat or text), and I prioritize those chats even when my natural instinct is to hide from everyone. But I just can’t seem to make time for other friendships, and I hate that that probably makes people feel like I just don’t want to.
I’ve struggled with loneliness and feeling like I don’t have any friends in the past, and I’m afraid that by the time my kids are a little older or life slows down a bit (ha!), the people in my life will be tired of my nos and I’ll find myself very lonely once again.
But in this season of babies and homeschooling and working and living so far out of town, I’m just not sure how to make a change.
There’s no life lesson here, no takeaway to help you, just an honest assessment that this is one of the hardest parts of working at home and homeschooling. I don’t like it, and it makes me sad. But for now I’m choosing to give my family the time I do have and looking forward to a season that leaves more time for getting together with local friends in the not-too-distant future!