I’ve wanted to talk to you for awhile about this, but the truth is, I didn’t exactly know how to say it. And then this week, I read this letter that a man wrote to all his friends without kids and I thought, hey, I can write a letter too – to all my girlfriends with kids. I have written and re-written this several times and I can’t find the perfect words to express my feelings, but this is my best effort.
Several years ago, you got pregnant (remember that?) and this should come as no shock to you; that little life changed pretty much everything. That little life changed your life, your partner’s life, your pet’s life (oh those poor neglected dogs), and that life changed my life. That bundle changed our friendship. That bundle changed typical friend talks from love, friends, and jobs to blowouts, breastfeeding, and lack of sleep. Sometimes I feel like a weirdo when I’m around a lot of moms.
You know that my husband and I have chosen (thus far) to not have children, so you may think it odd that I feel like the odd woman out because I’ve chosen this. But choice or not, it‘s hard to feel different.
Disclaimer: I know that some of my girlfriends want nothing more than to be moms but they haven’t yet found Mr Right or cannot get pregnant. If that’s you, I hope this post doesn’t offend or hurt you, I love and hurt with you and I want your dream to come true, too. This post is simply a post about where I’m at.
Please don’t get freaked out, I still very much want to be your friend even though life has changed. That’s why I ask so many questions about your pregnancies and squeal at your gender reveals and giggle when I feel your baby moving in your belly and cry when you miscarry. That’s why I throw you showers and hold your babies and pray for you and your partner as you make decisions about parenting and experience new stresses in life.
But sometimes I want to talk about something other than kids… It’s not that I don’t ever want to talk about your kids. I’m often content to listen and chime in where appropriate. After being a good listener for this many years, I’m able to chime in intellegently about so many topics ranging from Attachement vs. BabyWise parenting to cloth vs. disposable diapers to breastfeeding vs. formula. And while I can engage in those discussions, all the moms know I’m just a poser. The reason I’m just chiming in on those subjects is to connect and remain a part of your world, even thought I don’t know what it’s like in that world.
The truth is: I feel like I’ve lost you to your day to day routines with your kids. On facebook, you regularly update me about diaper disasters and marker mishaps on the walls. On twitter, you tweet 140 character long funny parenting moments with creative hashtags about #parenting. Your blog is now a kid photo album and a collection of pinterest crafts. And I guess deep down, I struggle because I feel like I don’t know you anymore, I just know about you.
And I hope I don’t sound bitter, because I’m not. I’m just really sad. I miss you. I miss our deep talks and our dreaming and scheming about life and our talks about marriage. I miss laughter, encouragement, and deep connection.
Please hear this: I don’t hate your kids. In fact, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I truly like your kids. Your kids shatter my “I’m not a kid person” feelings; I actually adore them.
I just miss what made us friends. I miss “getting you” and I miss you “getting me”.
While I don’t have a desire to leave a family legacy right now, I do have a desire to leave a legacy of being a strong Christ follower, a strong woman, and a strong leader. I have a sneaking suspicion that you have similar passions and desires to those, I think we just don’t often talk about it.
I’m being the me that God created me to be right now. And I’m really happy…
… And I really hope you’re happy too. Sometimes I can’t tell if you’re happy because being a mom seems like really hard work with really few immediate rewards. Sometimes I can’t tell if you’re happy because facebook makes parenting seem like the pits. Sometimes I can’t tell if you’re happy because we don’t talk as much as we used to, and when we do, we have just enough time to catch up before you have to to run off to calm a tartrum or I have to go to a meeting.
But know this: I love you. I’m glad we’re friends. I love that you’ve taken on this messy, challenging, nonstop, underpaid, unpredictable ride of parenting. I hope that you can love that I’m on a different ride that’s different but equally as messy, challenging, nonstop, underpaid, and unpredictable.
One time, not long after your baby arrived, you told me that you felt like no one cared about you anymore; they only cared about your kids. Well that’s not me. I care a lot about you. I want to know about your marriage and your dreams. I want to know what you plan to do when your kids hit first grade and you have 6 hours all to yourself. I want to know how you are still finding ways to serve and grow and be challenged while you parent. I want to know all about you. So let’s talk – less about the day to day and more about the deep stuff.