Before Christmas there was an incident between me and someone I love on how I hadn’t been a friend for them for some time. It was hugely painful, confirmed some of my worst fears about myself, made me worry for them but was also very adulty as we didn’t stop talking to each other and are – hopefully – OK. But my goodness it really stings that I hurt her, that I wasn’t there for her.
It confirmed something that had been a murky part of my mind for much of last year, I’ve been a pretty shit friend for a while. In part I blame Facebook. It was exacerbated last year with the debauchery and love and work thing and I was hopeless and looking after my friends.
I rely almost solely on FB to keep in touch with everyone. This is fine for those of us who are chronic over-sharers and update the world on whether we are sad, happy and everything in between. But many of us don’t feel comfortable doing that and that’s where I failed.
Friends had really rough times with their health, mental health, relationships, finance and work. And many of them only made a cursory mention to it and went quiet. And I didn’t do anything. I didn’t ring, I didn’t text, I didn’t email.
Oh I had every intention to, but you know, falling in love, a new full time job, a big commute, four kids… But that’s not good enough. These people are friends who have helped me so much over the years with my own heavy loads.
I made a pact with myself that this year I would back away from FB, not totally mind you, GOD FORBID! I’ve taken it off my phone as a start.
I’m also very conscious of checking in with people, even if it’s just a text.
Fast-forward to this week. I texted a friend and got a “sorry, who’s this” text back. This person said I’d ghosted them last year (in good times) and that friendship was a two-way street. While I told her I realised what I had done and was consciously trying to change it she had “no faith” my words would translate into action.
It’s made me wobbly ever since. If you feel I have let you down as a friend I am so so sorry. No excuses, I’m doing my best and am trying really hard this year to ensure I care for my peeps as much as they have me.
For those of you not following my chronic over-sharing on other social media channels, I’ve been in a new relationship for just on seven months. It’s quite something.
There is pretty much only one problem, the push me pull you of being a single parent and a girlfriend.
You see, the boys’ father (X) doesn’t have them for any length of time and certainly not overnight. He sees them one school night a week. That’s it. In total. Oh, occasionally on school holidays for a couple more hours.
So developed the infamous #Robnight. Yes, his name is Rob, say “hi Rob”. #Robnight happens on the night X has the boys. I stay over, get up at 5am then drive 45mins home to get everyone ready for school and get ready for work. (With a shout-out to mum that I can do the overnight thing.)
Then there is usually a weekend night. Twice in that 7 months we have spent a whole day with each other, just the two of us, otherwise I head home at around 12.
It is not ideal but probably just the reality of dating as a parent.
I never have a weekend “off”. Now I know, those of you not in single parent land are thinking, well I never have a weekend off either. But here’s the thing, you could. Oh sure, so could I but do you know the logistics and favours I would have to pull for that?
I hate I have to make a choice, I hate I feel I’m letting someone down with whatever my decision or choice is.
So look, I’m being a whiny fuck, just indulge me.
This is me:
I have rockstar hair
I have developed a penchant for a red lip and a strong brow.
I am a single parent, officially divorced, raising four boys including one with not insignificant disabilities.
I have a full-time job as an editor of two weekly publications on topics that are hugely relevant and important – the environment, climate change and carbon risk.
I have brilliant and incredibly supportive family and friends.
I am in love and loved.
There was an awfully long time, more than a decade even, that my life was incredibly stressful, immensely taxing on my mental health, so very debilitating to my self-esteem and sense of self and well, just a bloody hard slog.
In two years my life has turned on its head in only positive, happy and fun ways.
Who knew, huh?
So here’s to a brand new shiny year, let’s jump in together.