I love my friends, but there’s a flaw in my relationships that I have to own up to. I’ll admit it; I’m a bad phone friend. A terrible one, in fact. Most of my friends have a better relationship with my answering machine these days. If you’re taking your shot on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, it’s wise to scratch my name right off your dependable phone-a-friend list.
I’m not trying to be a jerk. Your time is definitely just as important as mine, -you’re probably just as busy- and you’re making the effort to connect with me. I appreciate that.
Here are five reasons that trying to have a decent conversation with me is like winning money on a scratch-off ticket (possible, but not likely. And not of great quantity). These are not excuses, mind you- just my chaotic reality.
I’d rather be clean.
It’s mid-morning. The older kids have been dropped off at school, breakfast dishes cleaned, toddlers entertained, and finally- naptime. Then comes that precious block of time: a time of QUIET. The only time of day I have to shower, without the sounds of “I need juice” or “He hit me!” echoing from the other side of the door. With eight people in the house, shower time and hot water can run in short supply. Unless I opted to wake up and shower at a time when most farmers are complaining it’s just too early to be up yet, showering before getting the kids off to school just doesn’t typically happen.
Not that I’ll always neglect my mid-morning calling friends; it’s an internal debate. As the phone rings, I have to ponder, “Can I get away with one more day of bed-head?” Sometimes the answer is yes. We’ll bond, and I’ll wear a hat to the school pick-up.
Expect the unexpected.
It happens all the time. We’re on the phone, talking about something hilarious, or gossipy. And then- it happens.
Maybe the toddler stripped himself naked & is running gleefully through the hall. Maybe the older girls are screaming about whose socks were left on whose side of the room. Maybe someone ran full-force into the side of the couch and is bleeding.
Whatever IT is, you’ll hear my go-to phrase: “Gotta go- can I call you back?!”
Here’s the problem, though: typically, I won’t call you back. I’ll dash off to handle the current crisis, then the one after that, and then clean that mess…. and our conversation has drifted away from me like a puff of smoke. You likely won’t get that call back. And if you do, I’ll never remember what it was that forced me to have to run in the first place.
It’s between 4-6pm.
Let’s say that you call, and I answer. You have a story to tell. Your story is important, and requires undivided, considerate attention. I want to be a compassionate, receptive audience. But you neglected to factor one tiny detail into your call to me:
This is the “witching hour”. This is when, after the initially sweet welcomes home, snack, and calm, nurturing homework help,
ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.
At least one child is crying. At least two children are arguing. Someone has definitely spilled something that cannot be immediately identified, but looks either sticky and/or permanent. Dinner is cooking, and… I’m trying to keep up with you, but you’ve lost me.
I’m in the middle of a diaper change.
This ALWAYS happens. The phone can remain silent all day, but the minute I plunk down to tackle a messy, squirming toddler’s diaper, the phone will ring. Anyone who has ever changed a toddler knows that it’s like wrestling an octopus on crack. With poop.
Nope. Just nope.
It’s after bedtime, but- I’ve got NOTHING left.
The last child has been tucked away, and it’s now “down time”, assuming I’m not washing dinner dishes or folding laundry. And you’d think I’d crave adult conversation at this point…. but you’d be wrong. Because by the time the day ends, I am so drained that I have the conversational zest of a houseplant. I can’t think, much less create anything passing for decent conversation.
I’m sorry I’m a bad phone friend. And there are days where I manage to overcome these obstacles, & cram in some quality phone time. But generally speaking, it ain’t gonna happen. Mea culpa.
Text me, maybe?Six Pack Mom