Shortly after having our second babies within a month of each other (our husbands are convinced this was deliberately planned) my oldest pal and I suddenly got into the habit of sending each other slightly anxious, apologetic texts about an hour after finishing a play date. They would usually go a little something like this…
“Sorry hun, I think you were trying to tell me earlier about a really tricky situation with your maternity leave from work and I may have glazed over and fallen asleep standing up while you were talking??”
Or… “Lovely to see you, I’m sorry I didn’t tell my darling daughter off when she thwacked your son round the face with the plastic spade, it’s just at that moment the baby had done such an explosive poo that I could actually feel it dripping into my bra. Love you!!”
Although completely ridiculous I remember these paranoid messages fondly – we meant well.
Both too befuddled from child-induced exhaustion to know if we might have offended each other.
One day, we just called time on it and decided that a rock-solid 25-year friendship should probably imply that our intentions are generally good despite any nonsense that comes out of our mouths!
We had a good laugh about it too and since then I’ve realised that the low-maintenance friend is truly the best kind. Not easily offended, no dramas, people who just enjoy spending time with those they love in the moment.
And it doesn’t just apply to Mum friends. Another great pal presented me with my birthday card on a recent evening out with the words “I’d totally forgotten about a card so I sent my husband to the garage to buy one….and then I made him write it!”.
I wasn’t remotely offended and luckily neither was she when I subsequently left it in the pub after quaffing my first glass of wine. Perhaps her husband should have been a bit miffed on both counts though…
Part of it stems from the lack of time available for socialising once you become parents. It has to be about quality, not quantity and you can’t help but feel less inclined to hang out with the energy-drainers.
We need to feel connected, relaxed and uplifted by time spent with friends, especially when the rest of life can feel pressured and stressful. The low-maintenance friend doesn’t keep track of who rang who last or whether you remembered to turn up with a nice packet of biscuits, they just enjoy hanging out whenever busy diaries allow.
That’s not to say that low-maintenance friendships aren’t strong or meaningful – they just involve being brave enough to relax, let your guard now and place trust in the people that you love.
When we stop expecting so much of people they will always surprise us.