Trying to be better.

by katherine on April 17, 2013

I can be a really crappy friend. Never intentionally, but it happens. I’ll be wrapping up a lunch date with a friend and end it with, “call ya tomorrow.” Then kids, a job, a husband…you know life, gets in the way and before I know it, it’s been almost a week since I’ve talked to her.

This happens more than I care to admit and while my friend{s} probably understand, it doesn’t make it ok.

To be honest, this happens with more than just my friends. I let it happen with my family too. I know of some women that speak to their mom every single day. While that’s never been the kind of relationship my mother and I have had, we go a while before talking sometimes. Same goes with my dad. And my brother. And my aunts and uncles.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

I get so wrapped up in my day to day life that I forget to take the time {aka: make the time} to maintain/strengthen/nourish the relationships that are so very important to me. And now here I am trying to rebuild those relationships to what they used to be and/or what I would like them to be.

Does this happen to anyone else? I really hope it’s not just me.

Even if it is just me, my point is this…it’s been something on my mind a lot lately and I’m trying to be better about it. I want my loved ones to know that just because I may not to speak to or see them them very often, I’m thinking about them. My life runs off of a continual checklist of wash bottles – pack pump parts – make dinner – bath time – etc – etc -etc. I’ve come up with a list of actual things I can do in order to be successful instead of just saying “yea I’m going to be better about that”, then never following through. The list may seem simple and also completely obvious, but thought I’d share anyway.

Five Tips for Rebuilding Relationships

Call to Check In- While this is potentially the easiest one, this is a big one for me…I can go weeks without talking to a loved one before I even start to wonder when the last time I talked to them was. Sad, I know. So what I’ve started doing is setting a day of the week to call a different loved one. Most of the time it’s on my drive from work to pick up the girls from school, but that doesn’t always work. For example, my dad has a hard time understanding me when I talk to him on my hands free headset, not to mention quite often, he’s not even available during that time of day, so I set myself a reminder to call him later in the evenings after I’ve put Reese down for bed.

Send a note in the mail- Who doesn’t love to get mail in their mailbox…like their real mailbox. Something that’s not a bill. I know I love it, so I’m going to make a better effort to drop a note in the mail every other week or so to various loved ones…particularly the ones I don’t speak with or see very often.

Be Thoughtful- My best friend’s family is all from Minnesota and she’s pretty close to them. She grew up spending a lot of time back there in the summers and even still visits quite often. You could say she holds minnesota close to her heart. So when I saw that Shannon from GlassCast was having a sale on metal stamped states with a heart on the city of your choosing necklaces, I immediately texted my best friend’s mom to find out what city her family was from, then emailed shannon my order. Then I surprised my friend with the necklace the next time I saw her. No, she didn’t have a birthday coming up, there was no holiday. I did something  just because. But it doesn’t always have to cost money…the other night I was able to catch Reese clapping on video and sent it to my sisters via text. Both loved it, it made them smile. Mission accomplished.

Make Standing Date- In my little family, we’ve got our Taco Tuesday tradition…it’s easily our favorite night of the week. There’s never any question, it just happens. I wanted to try and carry this outside of my family unit. My best friend & I have been doing lunch dates for years now. When they happen they’re a highlight of my week. There’s time we go weeks without having one. Naturally over the course of the last couple of months, we’ve been really good about doing them every Thursday. I love it and I’m hellbent on maintaining that. From there, I’m also making a standing rule that at least once every other week I will invite a family member over for dinner.  What can I say? I’m a sucker for routine.

Start a Thing- There’s lots of things my friends & I talk about doing, but we never follow through. The other night I was putting Reese to bed and checked my email to find that my sister shared a pin from pinterest with me about some sort of squat challenge. I was kinda confused and quickly forgot about it. The next morning my best friend tagged me in something on facebook about it and saying that my cousin was in on it too. I figured I better figure out what the heck they were signing me up for! Ha. So, my sister, my best friend, my cousin and I are now doing a month long “squat challenge”. Whether through text or facebook, we’re checking in with each other and encouraging one another on a daily basis. Now we’re no longer just talking about it, but following through and getting better butts in the process.

I realize it’s sad that this no longer comes naturally for me and that I have to make a conscious effort to do something as simple as being a friend, but at this point it is what it is and I’m doing what I can to be the friend/daughter/sister I used to be.

So that’s where I’m starting. What do you think…is there anything else I forgot? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Has anyone else noticed their relationships sliding since having kids?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 suki April 18, 2013 at 1:17 am

I'm not particularly good with the building of relationships… but these five ideas are a great place to start. :-)

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2 Kelli April 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Great ideas! Let us know how it works for you :-)

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3 Kendra April 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

These are all great ideas! But just for the record… cut yourself some slack! A true friend understands that life gets in the way and a true friend never cares. And family?? Well, they have no choice but to understand! HA! The fact that you've given this so much thought and even are making such a strong effort says a great deal about your character and the type of person you are. To answer your question, I don't think you are biting off more than you can chew I just think you might feel like you are failing if you don't meet all of your goals.

From what little I know of you, since I'm a new follower, I can tell that you truly care about others. That is admirable and you should never change that. But just make sure you don't wear yourself thin being all things to all people. ;)

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4 Kendra April 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

One more thing, because clearly I did not say enough…

I am a lot like you in that I don't have the "talk everyday" relationship with my mother. I know she would probably like that, but it would for sure drive me insane! So I made a deal with her about six years ago (wow, I can't believe it's been that long) where I promised to call her every Sunday. I try to do it at the same time so she can expect the call and no matter how busy I am I always take the time to make that call. I know how much it means to her and I've come to enjoy it myself.

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5 Erin April 18, 2013 at 10:58 pm

I’ve become guilty of all of the same. And while its true, that’s life, I am not going to let myself off that easy. Someday my kids won’t need me as much, and I’ll look around to find no friends left. So I really try, even if its in fits and starts. Something is better than nothing, and I’m not looking for perfect. Thanks for owning up and you’re certainly not alone!

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