This piece was originally published by Scary Mommy.
To My Mom Friends,
I know you have a lot on your plate. I know that being a mom has changed everything for you. I also know it’s really easy to feel guilty for not doing it all. But please don’t let me be yet another thing you feel guilty about. I care about you too much for that.
I hear the way you apologize when your child interrupts our conversation for the umpteenth time or your two year old suddenly needs to go potty. I see your guilty look while your baby is fussing yet again and I know you uncomfortably wonder if I’m really ok with waiting for you while you put your kids to bed. I know you probably feel terrible that it takes you hours, days, or sometimes weeks to return my text or phone call. I know…because I’ve heard you say it.
But hear me on this. You don’t need to apologize.
Your kids are just being kids. Babies cry. Toddlers pee on the floor and throw tantrums at dinner. Kids make lots of noise and need their bedtime routine. It happens. It’s life.
I’m your friend, which means I want to be a part of your life. Your kids are a huge part of your life right now (and forever), so being your friend means I accept them too. If I was your friend back when we had sleepovers, watched movies, and talked about boys, then I’m your friend now that you’re a mom. If I was your friend when we got together for wine, cheese, and political discussion, then I’m your friend now that we get together at your house. If I cared about you when your life revolved around school and work, then I also care about you when your life revolves around your kids. Even if we don’t have that history and I met after you became a mommy, you’re still important to me and your mom life is a part of that.
Friendship means doing life with you and sometimes that means doing spit up, breastfeeding, and pee on the floor. I’m ok with that. I’m ok with the fact that “hanging out” now means chatting at your house or the playground while your kids play and interrupt us every 30 seconds.
Give yourself some grace. You don’t have to have it all together! It’s completely normal that your kids aren’t perfect little angels all the time. It’s ok that there are toys all over the living room and you’re in the middle of doing laundry. Shoot, I’ll even play with your kids and help you clean up. It’s really not a big deal. Once upon a time we helped each other with homework, moving, and Christmas shopping. Why wouldn’t I help you now? (Besides, I’ll probably have kids someday, so personally I consider it good training.)
I never expected perfection out of you, my dear friend, and I don’t expect it now. I mean that. Really. I don’t mind coming into your chaos, so just take a deep breath and accept it. I do. After all, I have chaos in my life too. True, it might not walk and talk and poop, but it’s there all the same.
I love you. I care about you and what’s important in your life, even if it’s very different from what’s important in mine. Let’s walk through life together, no matter what that looks like right now.
So my friend, you don’t owe me an apology. The only thing you owe me is to ask how I’m doing and how my life is going, just as I ask about yours. And honestly, if my response is interrupted three times by your small, needy humans, that’s completely fine with me.
Your Childless Friend