Sometimes I look at you while you're looking at me, wishing for what I have, and I find myself dreaming of what life would be like if I had what you had.

Because this is stressful. Honestly, the challenges of raising two small children are very, very real.

I didn't necessarily choose my partner. I got pregnant by accident when I was 20 and then again on purpose at 25. It's not always as sunny as it looks, I assure you. My eyes have rained tears because I couldn't get my baby to stop crying or because I couldn't go into public without my 2-year-old throwing a tantrum and I felt trapped. Or sometimes I didn't even know why, but I just cried.

When you tell me about your exciting life, I get jealous. You don't have kids yet. You have more freedom.

When you tell me about your dating life (the one I don't have—not even with my husband right now—because if we have a babysitter, we are usually too tired to even leave our house), I get jealous.

When you tell me about the stress in your life, like not being able to find a good roommate or how you're so tired from going out the night before, I get jealous. (I mean, last night I was up all night too—but not for the same reasons.)

Your life is exciting. You've gotten to do so much more than I have because you haven't had babies yet. You look at us and laugh at my jokes about how my kids are driving me up the wall, not realizing that I'm laughing because that's all I can do to keep from breaking down.

I look fulfilled when my toddler says, “Mommy I lub you," and I promise I am fulfilled in those moments. I couldn't explain the amount of love that runs through me if I tried. Yet I'm more than just their mom. I'm a woman too, but I don't always feel like I get to be one.

I feel like everything mommy-related comes first, and it comes at a price. It costs me my own happiness at times. It sometimes costs me feeling fulfilled, and it sometimes makes me feel like I'm not worth more than changing diapers and singing the ABC's.

And at the same time—I know it's worth it and I know I'm going to miss it.

I also know my childfree friend wishes she had it.

I know this because she says every Friday night when she gets home from work, she sits alone in an empty apartment, texting multiple people to make plans for the night. (It's amazing you get to hold your own phone when you don't have kids!) Hearing this stuff kind of makes me feel lucky to be stuck at home on a Friday night ordering pizza and watching Big Hero 6 while breaking up fights.

Ideally, it would be best to experience both worlds at the same time as my best friend, but life hasn't worked out that way. In the meantime, we both need to realize that we can't always fully understand what the other person is going through, until we've walked a mile in their shoes.

If we can realize that, then we can realize it's possible to be jealous of each other and content at the same time. We can still accept one another at the same time we're embracing the different stages we're in at that moment.

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