I'm (hopefully) mostly through my week of funk. At least it usually lasts a week. I've noticed I have these blue periods every quarter or so, where I'm irrationally negative and focused on all that's bad in my life. Everyday challenges feel overwhelming, little pleasures feel meh... What I most want during these times is to be alone and brood, but these damn kids! and husband! won't let me be. Not an enjoyable time when I'm in it but I often find a big truths bubble up to the surface.
The insight this time is around friendship- specifically, how hard it is to cultivate deep friendships as an adult. And how parenthood throws in many obstacles as well (precious limited time sans children, constant interruptions whenever they're near, losing touch with the person who I am outside of motherhood). Right now I'm feeling like ordinary life doesn't allow for the kind of person-to-person connection I desire. I don't think I'm ready to live a truly communal life like my Mom's village, but something more intentional and focused would be good.
My present reality is that getting together with another adult sans children requires heavy duty prioritization: I have to decide that doing so is more enjoyable than attending yoga class that week or worth paying someone $12/ hour for babysitting...it's not a casual enterprise. I've mentioned before that I'm an introvert who needs lots of alone time, especially at the end of a day caring for children. By 8 pm, I want to tuck under a blanket with my book and glass of wine and not talk to anyone. So there's that little obstacle.
Nearly all my in-person friendships right now are with other mothers and their children, mostly through play dates. Obviously, our conversations are regularly interrupted by our children, who need us a great deal. While I think I'm pretty good at picking up the dropped threads of a conversation as I broker peace between conflicting preschoolers, nurse a fussy toddler, handle toileting matters and investigate the ominous sounds of a crash - pause (hold breath) -will there be a cry?, etc... something important is sacrificed with the interruptions. I find it hard to get to the heart level of conversation this way.
It's probably true that forming friendships will never be as easy as it was in college and in my 20's, when there was ample time to just hang out and get to know one another. I remember spending hours with friends in a single evening-just talking and joking over backyard grilling and multiple rounds of drinks...My liver is glad those days are over, but I deeply miss the easygoing rapport and companionship born of lots of face-time.
Maybe the active pursuit of friendship is something I need to put aside for a time when my children don't require so much of my emotional energy and physical presence (there's a long list for that time, when it comes!). I'll, of course, continue to plant seeds of relationships as I move through my world, but I do feel some dissatisfaction with the seemingly randomness of it all.
It's been helpful to notice the cyclic nature of these weeks - so long as I trust that it will leave me before long, unscathed or even blessed with new self-understanding, my main challenge is to ride it out without dragging everyone down or damaging my relationships.
So, is there a rhythm to your blues? What helps you ride it out? Do you gain anything useful when you're down?