Being a parent of multiples is simultaneously the most rewarding and most difficult job that you will ever do. Your time, as well as your sanity, is constantly being pushed to the limit. Your kids are everywhere at once; oftentimes attempting to perform death-defying feats. As sleep deprivation sets in you may begin to notice that you have a much lower tolerance for what I call “friendship nonsense.” You find that your time away from home and quiet moments in the day are much more limited and because of this you slowly start to notice whom is really a good friend to you and who isn’t.
You don’t have any extra bits left of yourself after you take care of your partner and your loveable little monsters. Because of this you start to see fairly clearly that things you may have brushed off, ignored, or forgiven before, but that you aren’t able to now. This is because although your life was often times easy breezy, sometimes raising multiples can make you feel like you are hanging on for dear life. You shouldn’t be wasting your precious energy on people who are dragging you down or making you feel bad about yourself. Though not every “bad” friend fits into a category, here are some classic ones to look out for…
When you spend time with this person or talk to them on the phone they often leave you feeling mentally exhausted and emotionally drained. This is a person who seems to have an endless supply of problems in their life, but never seems to take any steps to fixing any of them. They call you crying frequently, they seem deeply depressed, yet deeply in denial. You worry about them when they are not with you, and find your own personal stress level rising dramatically because of it.
This friend tells a lot of whoppers — big and small — to fit whatever their purpose is at the moment. You may get to the point where you can’t really believe anything that they tell you. Or perhaps they cheat a little bit here and there. They think that breaking small laws or moral codes are fine as long as they don’t get caught. This may be as small as stealing all the office supplies at work, billing things to their company that weren’t really work related or as big as cheating on their spouse. When confronted they either deny it completely or say things like they just wanted you to like so and so, or they feel like they have to compete with you. Either way, their lies have become a compulsion which has snowballed to the point that if they are talking, they are lying.
Close friends are the people to whom we bare our souls. Oftentimes we share with our friends even more than our partners. These things are raw, real and it takes a lot of courage to share sometimes. You often find that things that you have confided in this friend have been shared with a mutual close friend. When confronted they oftentimes say things like, “I am so sorry. I just assumed that you already told them” or, “It’s no big deal; they totally understand and won’t tell anyone,” or they completely deny it. There can be many reasons why they can’t keep a secret, ranging from a jealously towards you, a compulsion to always try and make themselves look better when compared to others, or they have an addiction to gossip. Either way they are spilling your secrets. A good friend takes things to the grave.
You may call this person to vent about a phase that your child is going through and how hard or frustrating that is for you, only to have them tell you a story about how perfect their child is. Or you have some achievement that you share with them and they either belittle it or have some achievement of their own (real or imagined) that is somehow greater and they tell you about it at length. Parents and moms especially need to be supportive and uplifting of each other. There is no competition that I know of for having the most perfect child or life. As far as I know they aren’t giving medals out for that yet, so there is no point.
Having multiples is hard on your body. Sometimes losing the baby weight after giving birth can be a real bear. You may find that this friend mocks your latest diet or workout regime and/or is trying to get you to eat or drink something that you have deemed off limits. They may immediately take someone else’s side, pointing out where you are wrong when you simply call to vent. When you are going through a tough time they are the first person to be unavailable or tell you to get over it. When you get a new job or achieve a goal this is the first person to belittle that accomplishment.
This friend talks about themselves constantly. When you get a word in edgewise they immediately find a way to bring the conversation back to themselves and how great they are. They drone on about their workplace and things that they have done that day without ever asking about what you have been up to. This can feel demoralizing and belittling.
They are not happy for you
You may have recently lost a lot of weight (having babies is hard), got a promotion at work, received public recognition for some service or finally finished that advanced degree and though many around you congratulate you for your dedication and hard work this friend says very little or tries to change the subject.
They rarely R.S.V.P. for anything or need to be reminded to do so. They are habitually late and often times don’t even apologize. Their time is always more valuable than yours. They expect you to go to great lengths to take care of or entertain them, but rarely return the favor. They make sure that they get paid for your half of purchases, but don’t chip in when you are the purchaser. They forget to show up for your kids’ birthday parties or cancel last minute because something more interesting came along.
If you have people in your life who have two or more of these traits it is time to look at these friendships more closely. You need to take a long look at these friends and ask yourself are they just going through a hard time, or is this who they are and how it will always be? They don’t get a discount because of the length of your friendship or because they were totally there for you that time years ago.
You need to weed out those toxic friends who are weighing you down and contributing nothing to the friendship. It is supposed to be 50/50, not 70/30. Culling is a really hard thing to do. It doesn’t have to be a sudden cold turkey situation. It can be a natural and gradual progression. You stop putting in all the work and just sort of let things fade away. You don’t need to have a giant confrontation. You can simply let things go.
I have had to do this in my own life. I found myself at the breaking point, wrapped up in a friend who had way more than two of these characteristics. I found that the more distance I got from the situation, the more I was able to view the past from the outside and found that I was totally shocked how I had allowed myself to be treated so poorly for so long. At first I found that I was really angry; finally realizing all of the nonsense, the lies, the secrets shared and the total toxic behavior. After the anger faded a little bit, I felt more positive about everything and found that I had a lot more time for other things and people that deserved more attention than I had been giving them.
Destiny Effertz is a stay at home mom to 3 boys under 5. Prior to having children she worked as a paralegal in a large civil litigation firm. Now she uses those research and organizational skills formulating new pie recipes and planning family vacations. For more articles by Destiny on Twiniversity, click here.