Life ruins friendships. There is no flowery way to put that. Sometimes, getting a fancy new job means losing some friends. Sometimes, moving away will be an effective way to kill off your entourage. For my social life, the slow inevitable death of my friendships came after I had children. So, before a potential friend comes-a-callin', I offer these 10 deal breakers to consider.
1. I am a reluctant morning person and a zombie by noon.
I have to be. I have two children and a husband to corral into clean clothes, and need to serve them all breakfast before 8:00 a.m. I have dogs who need to go outside to chase birds and whiz in the yard. I have laundry to get into the wash, dishes to get done and put away, meals to plan, a wood stove to tend to and homeschool lessons to survive. And I have to do it all before lunch. If you want my attention, then you have to be OK with getting 1/34th of it at any given time.
2. My house is almost never totally clean.
Everywhere I turn in this tiny house, there is trace evidence of great winds of energy. The books on the bookcase are all dusted and neatly lined. The windows are all washed. The floors are vacuumed. But then, BOOM! There are 8,000 Lego pieces on the damn floor. A cat just threw up in front of the mudroom door. My son decided to play dress-up in the clean pile of laundry that did not get put away because the baby just filled his diaper. Did I mention that it is a cloth diaper? If you want to stop by, then you must be OK with navigating this kind of constantly-revolving disaster.
3. I don't bother to look nice. Ever.
I have far more important and pressing things to get done in a day than fussing around with my hair and makeup. Or clean clothes, for that matter. What's that funky smell, you ask? Why, that's spit-up on my shirt. And yes, I've been wearing this shirt for two days. I may have even slept in it. What's stuck to my slipper, you ask? Why, that's construction paper that my son lovingly glued to my slipper so that I could have superhero capes on my feet. He figured this would make me faster at baking him cookies. Thoughtful child.
4. I no longer care about your dating woes.
Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not a jerk. I do care about you and your life, and I want to hear about your misadventures, too. But in my reality as a SAHM, I simply no longer have a reference point for what it is like to be single. The only advice I can dole out to you is how to gradually wean your kid from his juice addiction. And soothe your feelings of guilt for eating a tub of ice cream with half a bottle of wine for dinner.
5. I cannot just "get a babysitter."
If you want to be my friend, then you have to know that I almost never leave my house at night. There is this awful thing called "arsenic hour," when children go stupid with crazy and the house falls into total ruin. My husband and I are a team for many reasons, but primarily so that the children can't outnumber us. You want to get drinks and talk about your cheating arse of a boyfriend? Great! Grab a sippy cup and use your big words so the children won't understand you.
6. Talking to me on the phone requires deep reserves of patience.
Phone calls are a hilariously awful experience for me these days. Why? Well, because as much as I want to chat with you about what's happening in the world beyond my kitchen, I will not be allowed to finish a sentence without the following outbursts:
Put that down!
Don't pinch your brother!
No, you've had enough juice!
No, you're not watching TV!
Please stop shooting arrows at the TV!
No, you cannot ride the dog like a horse!
What on earth is in your mouth?!
Oh, for Pete's sake! Would you JUST LET ME TALK FOR A SECOND?!
7. I swear like a 2-year-old.
I will try to tell you a story about something not child-related. I will even try to be all cool and use my pirate language. But I will futz it all up by saying "sugar doodle" and "fudge." You will give me the hairy eyeball. If you can handle that kind of talk, then you can probably be my friend.
8. I might start crying spontaneously and inexplicably.
I am a SAHM, which means that I have almost no personality anymore since Wild Kratts, Cheddar Bunnies, laundry and grocery fetching have sucked my life dry. While you are talking about some date you had at some restaurant, I will start crying. Why? Because the miracle of eating out is that you don't have to cook or clean. And you know, that sounds like heaven. So there, you lost my attention span, but gained an overly-emotional and envious girlfriend.
9. I might Mom-It-Up by saying or asking inappropriate things.
If you start acting all weird, I might ask you something like this:
Oh, honey, are you feeling OK? Is your tummy alright? You gotta poop?
If you are at all prepared for that, then you might be able to be my friend.
10. I don't know how NOT to talk about my kids... unless we are talking about Pinterest.
I will talk about my kids. A lot. Like all the time kind of a lot. Unless you mention Pinterest, in which case, I will babble on endlessly about the brilliant storage tricks I learned for organizing Hot Wheels and cloth diapers. See? It goes right back to talking about kids.
If you can live with all of that, then we can be friends.