I haven’t changed. But my priorities have.

By Melissa Meehan

I’ve been battling with myself to write this column for months. I start to write it and then, out of fear of offending someone, shelve it straight away.

But after chatting to another Mum this week. It’s clear I’m not alone in feeling this way. And it’s time to clear the air.

Since becoming a Mum I’ve really struggled to maintain friendships.

Bonds that I thought were forever lasting and unbreakable seem the complete opposite.

And mostly. It’s my fault.

I used to reply to texts almost instantaneously.

Now, I can go hours, even days without replying.

It’s nothing personal. But with a toddler running around I don’t always have my phone on me. Or get a chance to check it that often. And sometimes I read it and simply forget to reply.

Despite all of this perceived time on my hands.

Often I’m just not available when my friends are.

During the day I’m trying to balance part time work, this writing gig as well as play group, swimming, mum’s group and general household chores. As well as trying to spend time with my husband if we’re ever in the same place.

And at night – I’m either feeding or sleeping.

My baby is my responsibility.

I can often hear the eyes roll back into the heads of some friends when I explain that my little one has to join us or that I can’t go out because I need to look after her.

They can’t understand why I can’t leave her with my husband or even with her grandparents.

It’s easier now, but when I was breastfeeding her it was near impossible to leave the house at night. She refused a bottle and was feeding every two hours

I’m just way too exhausted.

In all honesty I would rather go to bed and catch up on some sleep.

Again, it’s not you. It’s me.

After 14 months of constant interrupted sleep I’m physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. And those few hours between night feeds is often the only time I get to myself. And the thought of squeezing on jeans, brushing my hair and painting on some makeup sounds exhausting enough.

My husband and I haven’t had a night out alone since she was born.

We still even haven’t watched a movie we downloaded on Foxtel two months ago. Because often by the time we’ve got the little one down, and had dinner all we want to do is go to bed.

So don’t take offence.

I’m not avoiding you. I’m just trying my best to be the parent my child deserves. I knew life would change when I had her. And it has –  I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ll happily stay home for the next 18 years if I need to.

I’m just taking some time to find a balance.

So bare with me. I’m still trying to figure out this Mum thing. And I’m slowly finding time to get out and about. But understand that forever more, she will always be my priority.

–Melissa Meehan