Dear Mom Friends,
First of all, I want to say that I appreciate you. I’m glad we’re friends. We might be at different places right now, and our lives might not look the same, but I’m glad we’re in it together.
Aren’t our mid-late 20s and 30s a crazy, wild, weird and wonderful time? In some ways, it’s like we’ve made it – we’ve arrived, we’re old enough to know better. But in other ways we are only just starting to figure life out. Some of us might be where we thought we’d be, some of us are nowhere close; but we’re finding out that both are ok and beautiful in their own right.
Another thing I want to tell you? My hat is off to you. I might not have kids of my own, but given the amount of children I’m around on a daily basis thanks to my choice of career, I’m aware that parenting is HARD WORK. The fact that you do it day in and day out, 24/7/365 on top of all those other responsibilities involved in adulting? Nothing short of amazing.
You don’t have to tell me that I don’t understand. Because you know what? You’re right, I don’t. And I know that. So thanks to those of you who spare me the “you’ll understand when you’re a mom” diatribes. I get that I don’t get it.
But you know what? And I hope you won’t think I’m being rude or trying to vent, but there are also things you might not get. You might not get that facing life alone can be hard. You might not get that, while the freedom of choice and flexibility of how I choose to spend my time are awesome, it’s also lonely sometimes.
You might not get that while I don’t have tiny humans to pick up after or ferry to and from anywhere they (and I) want to go; that there are times I’d trade in that freedom. That being strong and independent is wonderful; but I’d give it up to have someone who depended on me. Or someone who would ask me how I was when I got home.
You know another thing mom friends? It’s not me versus you. Like I said from the top, I’m glad we’re in this together. It’s not moms and non-moms. It’s women; standing beside each other, different members of the same sisterhood all working towards the greater good.
And you know what else? I like you. AND your kids. And I know our priorities are different. But I still really like spending time with the both of you. I’m happy to use the freedom and flexibility I was just talking about to come your way. I don’t mind dodging your kids’ toys, or bringing a coffee over to hang out in the house that you just haven’t gotten around to cleaning (I haven’t gotten around to mine yet either…oops.) if it means we can sit and chat (with or without interruptions from the little ones underfoot). Hanging out might not look like it used to, and those hangouts might not come as often as either one of us would like; but our relationship is worth it to me.
But I’ll tell you a secret: sometimes I feel like a second-class citizen. Sometimes I feel like because I’m not wrangling those tiny humans, teaching and mothering my own brood; that I’m somehow second-best. That the way I spend my days sometimes matters less. That I have to try and prove to everyone that what I do matters; that I matter.
You might look at me, or any of your other non-mom friends with envy; or maybe you wonder why we have chosen this path. Here’s a newsflash: while some of us surely did, there are others of us who don’t want to be here. Who see your mom rants or cute pictures of your kids, who know it’s a struggle, but would give anything to be right there in the parenting trenches with you. But for one reason or another; right now we are walking this road without children of our own. Like many other times in life, there is so much more to the story than what is on the surface.
And so a side note to all other non-mom friends out there reading: we are not second best. Whether or not we are making the choice to not be moms; our lives matter – we matter. Our time is valuable. Our life is valuable. Another thing? There are so many different ways to be a mom. You can be a dog mom or a cat mom (although if you know me – this is NOT my choice). You can be “gym mom” to your friends and teammates. You can be mom to dozens of students every day. You can be the best aunt you know how to your nieces or nephews. You can be that “special friend” to your mom friend’s little kiddoes (those options are more my speed).
If you’re choosing to invest in, pour out, nurture and love those who cross your path; you’re a mom. Maybe not in the traditional sense of the word; but where it counts. Although it might not get you a card, breakfast in bed or flowers in the month of May; what you do matters.
And so mom friends (and non mom friends alike), why did I write this letter? Because part of being the girl who dared means sharing what is on my heart. Because I believe that different doesn’t mean bad. Differences aren’t a wall or a barrier unless we make them one. Because we can celebrate the things we have in common even though from the outside those similarities might seem scarce or non-existent. Because even though you’re maybe a different person than from before you were a mom – I’m a different person from back then too! So let’s both grow and explore into new people together rather than growing apart.
I love you mom friends. And, if I’m being honest (which is what the girl who dared is supposed to do), I hope to one day join your ranks. But for now, I’m your biggest supporter. And I hope I’ll always be one of your best friends (mom or not).
If you’re still reading, thanks mom friends. And, I know you’re busy…but coffee soon?