An open letter to my friends without children

Hi.

We probably haven’t spoken in weeks, months, maybe even years. Many of you cross my mind in the most random of times. I just don’t ever tell you that. I don’t know how to tell you that.

When I let myself think about it, I don’t really know what happened. So, what happened?

Maybe it is me, maybe it is you. Does it really matter?

We should do better. Let’s grab coffee and smirk at all of these preteens who think they are cool. Let’s grab a bite to eat, because I love food. Let’s sit around in our pajamas, sip wine, and remember how (un)cool we were in high school.

Tell me all about your job. Your family. Your husband/wife. Your boy/girlfriend. The new restaurant you went to last week. The movie you saw last year that changed your life. The vacation you took last fall. The book you are dying to read. The tv show that has you hooked.

Really. For me, it is not me checking off the conversation to do list. I am genuinely interested in you. Really.

See, for me, with such young children, they dominate most of my time. Therefore, most of what I experience and talk about ends up about them. My intention is never to bore you. You don’t have kids, maybe that is on purpose or maybe that is out of your control. Maybe you dread hearing all about my kids and my life; maybe I bore you. That is not my desire. I am what I am: I am real life; meaning, I am willing to talk about things as I see and experience them: no pretension here.

Yes, I am exhausted. There are nights where I do not sleep for a single minute. Not even one. After those nights, I still have to (literally at times) roll out of bed and make sure the kids eat, get dressed, brush their teeth, grab backpacks, etc. Sometimes socks don’t match; one time Liam went to school with his shorts on backwards. Sometimes breakfast is homemade chocolate chip pancakes; usually it is a Poptart or microwavable pancake. Some mom’s are dressed to the nines, impeccable makeup, pageant hair ready: I am decked out in a tshirt, shorts, and flipflops. I am just real, true to myself. (There is nothing wrong with moms who focus more on their appearance; I think it is great if that is what they want to do. I am just not into that for myself.)

That being said, just because I have children, that does not mean that I am dead. Some of you see it that way: a death sentence, a death of a social life. If anything, having kids has taught me to appreciate things, life in general, more. Sometimes, whether you mean to or not, it is almost as if you are punishing me for having children. I don’t see my miracles as a punishment, so I wish you wouldn’t either. I also do not want you to feel that you are punished for not having kids. It is what it is.

What it is, for me, is a holy privilege and an overwhelming responsibility. Some days, and here is a little secret, we parents are drowning. Motherhood is the hardest calling I have ever experienced; it is not for the faint of heart. Most days I can only focus on the kids. I don’t say this as an excuse, it is called survival mode. For me to be the best mother that I can be on those days, some things have to give. Relationships had to fall. People had to be let down. I know it isn’t fair.

But here’s the thing: It’s not forever.

Our relationship has been on pause because of me mainly. I’ve changed. I’m having a tough time keeping up with the daily demands of raising kids. Like exercising properly, showering during naptime while the washing machine and dryer are running, closing my eyes for two seconds when I unlaod the dishwasher. I should be picking up the phone and calling you just to see how you’re doing. Most days I don’t.

We did have a real friendship, but right now, we’re interested in different things. Shame on me. You deserve better. And I haven’t been there. I’m sorry. We had kids. And became self-focused. “Except, we actually haven’t been focused on ourselves. We’ve been focused on the tiny aliens who suck the life, milk, energy, sleep and brain power out of us. The piercing screams that are our new wake-up call every morning at 2 a.m.. The tiny hands that are so perfectly-created it brings us to tears. The bundles of soft skin that have made us realize that life is so much bigger than us. The little people who are fine-tuning our patience, grace and tolerance of others on a minute-by-minute basis. Our children are the perfect miracles who are teaching us what love is. So that, when we get it all figured out, we can actually be a much better friend to you” (J. Porter). 

My point in all of this: Don’t give up on me, on the other parents. Keep calling, texting, inviting us places.. Even if we forget or ignore you nine times out of ten, it means so much to still be included, wanted, needed. We may be in different seasons of life, but it is merely a drop in the bucket in this ocean of time.

Love, your old friend

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