Back in the day (not really all that long ago) I used to be quite the social butterfly.
My little wings were always a flutter from one party or gathering to the next — time, bills and babysitters were not an issue.
However, those days are now long gone — as are many of the friendships formed during that fun and ‘carefree’ chapter of my life.
While some have stuck around, the visits and phone calls are few and far between.
I take 100 per cent of the blame.
It was around six years ago — when I was newly pregnant with my oldest daughter, Molly – that I traded in my delicate wings for some dependable stretchy pants. Sometime during this swap, I also became (dare I say it) a pretty bad friend.
I became notorious for breaking plans at the last minute, ignoring incoming calls and zoning out, mid-conversation during a pal’s crisis.
Exhausted, bloated and highly hormonal — or irrational, as my husband would tell you (in my defense I really needed a tomato, even if the roads were blanketed in snow), I began opting for quiet evenings at home with a bag of chips, slippers and my trusty PVR.
The idea of wearing anything other than pyjamas and a scrunchy (yes, I actually still own one of those) after 6 p.m. just seemed like way too much effort.
“Don’t worry, I’ll have more energy and we’ll do things after the baby is born,” I told them all.
Boy oh boy, was I wrong.
Fast forward half a decade — Molly is almost five and Zoe is three and a half — my ill-fitting wings are still collecting dust in the closet, my stretchy-pant collection has grown and I’m still bloated, hormonal and irrational at the best of times — even without a human life growing inside me.
While I used to love chatting on the phone, it’s not nearly as fun with a preschooler screaming “Let me talk! Let me talk!” in the background, or having to put someone on hold, mid-sentence, so you can wipe a bum or bandage a bloody knee.
For the sake of salvaging my remaining friendships and my own personal sanity, I do attempt to squeeze into those wings from time to time.
Actually, I’m pretty lucky in that I get to go out more than most moms, thanks to my blogging gig and a very understanding husband.
The difference is that now there’s a dark cloud that hangs overhead — a reminder of the early morning and the inevitable “I wants,” the “She hit me’s,” and the “I’m bored’s” that certainly won’t take a break just because mommy is tired or suffering from “wine flu.”
I’m not saying I’ve become a hermit. Actually, I’m more social than ever. My children and I have long conversations about the meaning of life — mostly involving the characters in the film Frozen — and there are plenty of play dates on our calendar.
Heck, I even still like to mingle — well, from the comfort of my couch, behind the safety of a screen.
Lately, coffee dates have been replaced with Facebook chats. And Twitter — frequently referred to as the cocktail party of social media — has become a great place to rub elbows and network without having to put on lipstick or pants.
I’m great at making an effort online, even if it’s just a comment on a status, like or a ‘retweet.’ However, I know that any digital connection runs a high risk of being disconnected.
Actually, I’m sure I’ve been ‘unfollowed,’ ‘unliked’ and forgotten in cyberspace by many fed-up friends. I don’t hold it against them.
Still, a good handful of pals have stood by me, accepting our brief interactions, as sporadic as they are, and not taking my ‘indifference’ personally — or so I hope.
I take comfort in knowing that the old adage of ‘at every age, there is a stage,’ isn’t just meant for kids, it’s for us parents, too.
It may not be tomorrow or even next year, but one day when I’m not cocooning on the couch, covered in Spaghettios and a cuddly preschooler or two, I’ll be a good friend again — maybe even a butterfly.
Until then, just know you’re in my thoughts and my news feed.
Kristyl Clark is a stay-at-home mother of two daughters and founder of the blog She’s a Valley Mom.