Like most women in their late 20’s, the majority of my friends are now mothers. It felt like in an instant I woke up and found myself surrounded by a sea of miniature versions of the people I have grown to love deeply. Tiny, more needy, hilariously honest versions of their parents. It has been so much fun to watch. Some thoughts have been swimming around in my heart the past few weeks, and I feel compelled to express them in a letter. So here goes:
Dear friend-moms…Or mom-friends…or just, my friends (who happen to be mostly moms),
There are some things I need to say to you. Things I’m not sure you know, but I think it is crucial that you understand. Some things I have been hearing lately have been somewhat alarming. And I speak for all us child-free adults, because I don’t feel like the world has always gotten it right from our perspective.
It may be tempting to believe that we kid-less women are among your many critics, passing judgement and wishing destruction on those who choose a different method. But here are some things you should know.
We are for you.
I am cheering for you. Loving you. Proud of you. Amazed by you. Angry when I hear about how ruthless and discouraging the parenting world can be. I want nothing but confidence and conviction for you as you listen to your gut and love your little people the best you can. I believe in you.
We are learning from you.
I will, unquestionably, be a better mom someday because of you. All of you. You each bring such a unique set of strengths to the table for me to glean from. Each a little bit different approach with very different kids. I am creating a mental toolbox during these years of mom-apprenticing and couldn’t possibly be more grateful for what you’ve all taught me. What a gift you’ve given me.
We are in awe of your strength.
Believe me, friend…As I sit on my super clean couch watching a trashy television show, drinking red wine without fear of spillage at 6:00pm, it is not lost on me how privileged I am in that moment. Sometimes I take it for granted, and other times I remind myself that “I have friends who would kill for this right now.”
I came home from church last Sunday exhausted, so I took a nap. I didn’t think twice, I just laid down and closed my eyes. Do you know what you were doing that afternoon? Cleaning up your toddler’s vomit after being up all night with him. HOW??!?? How did you survive that?? I will never know. (Well, until I go through it. But hopefully by then some magical potions will have been invented that keeps kids from throwing up).
We see how much you try.
Seeing you enter motherhood has unveiled so many new beautiful things about our friendship. These extra-familial relationships of ours have taken on a whole new level of inconvenience for you. Being my friend is work. The “let’s get the kids together” thing doesn’t work with me. Please know that I see you try. When we meet for lunch and you have the kids, I know that restaurants suck for you. The messes, the interruptions, the nap schedule interference…It has to be hard. Please understand that the love you show me in those often-rushed, but very intentional interactions leave me feeling so loved. You FaceTime with me while your baby is napping and invite me to the park. You do countless things that communicate that I still matter. The sacrifices you make for friendship are seen and profoundly appreciated.
We love your kids.
Your beautiful kids are an extension of you. It is the easiest thing in the world for me to love them. I genuinely enjoy them and feel privileged to be a part of their ever-evolving childhood. Thank you for allowing me this honor to be an “aunt” to so many. They are not an obstacle to our friendship or a nuisance to be tolerated. You don’t believe that and neither do I. They are a joy, and I’m grateful for how you’ve invited me into their lives to be the weird auntie who doesn’t have toys at her house but insists that tormenting her dog is just as fun as any toy. Also, it is super fun to confuse them when they try to figure out how I am an adult and also have a husband and ALSO have no kids. It’s so fishy..And frankly just doesn’t add up…Hmmmmm…They’re on to me.
You don’t have to apologize.
It breaks my heart to hear you apologize so often. Whether it be for your tardiness or your kid accidentally wiping snot on my jeans or a million other things that are unforeseen and mostly out of your control. You don’t have to apologize so much. You are a momma. You deserve grace. And please return the favor when I am elbow deep in dirty diapers and my kid is being an asshole one day. Your kids aren’t assholes, but I’m pretty certain mine will be. So don’t feel like you have to apologize. I know full well that any snot inflicted upon my jeans by your kids will be returned to you…probably with interest. And besides that I just love you and no one is keeping score.
I think that people without kids are often assumed to be ignorant. Maybe a lot of adults like me are. I have seen blog posts written by parents complaining about their friends without kids who just don’t get it. I will hand it to them, in many ways I don’t get it. I won’t until I am in your shoes. Until I am deprived of sleep and privacy and a quiet home. But don’t count us out completely. I believe in friendship between women with kids and those without. I think these can be some of the most valuable relationships each has in both seasons. Mommas can benefit from our energy and free time and ability to be spontaneously available at random times. Child-less women often could use more perspective and patience and DEFINITELY tons of parenting advice for future use if they decide to procreate. I see it as an obvious win-win. Is it easy? Nope. But definitely so worth it.
So in short, you are a rockstar. I am confident that your endurance and patience are unmatched. Words fail me other than the following: HOW. DO. YOU. DO. IT.????
I am grateful for you and your kids and our friendship. Thank you for keeping this whole friend thing going despite the world and your tinies working against you. It means so much to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.