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[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

My love—

I know we see each other every day, but I miss you. We may sleep in the same bed each night, catch up on our days after work, but sometimes I look at you and realize we haven't had a moment together, alone, in forever.


It's like we're stuck in this perpetual role of being “parents" instead of just being “you" and “me." Instead of being “us."

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I miss how we could sit and talk aimlessly for hours over coffee or a drink (okay, let's be honest, drinks) and how I felt like I was learning something new about you every day and how exciting that was.

I miss how we would say stupid things out loud, just to make each other laugh.

I miss longing for you. Like those early days when we first started dating and you lived in Jersey City and I was in Brooklyn. I remember feeling desperate to have you come back the minute you walked out my door.

I miss getting dressed up and going out with you.

I miss how we could spontaneously decide to meet up after work for dinner, or a drink, or *gasp* to watch a movie. (What was the last movie we even saw? I really can't remember.)

I miss having adventures with you. Like the first time we flew to Europe together, how terrified we were because we couldn't speak the language, but how exciting and thrilling it was to finally get to see this place we had been dreaming of. We explored the canals of Venice together, hiked to waterfalls in Switzerland and discovered side streets and back alleys filled with amazing restaurants in France. (Remember the eclairs? They were so good.)

I miss learning new things with you. Like what alligator meat tastes like or how to make sausage from scratch. Or how to speak sign language (you were better at that than me, I know).

I miss sharing dessert after a meal. Having one more drink because we didn't have a babysitter to rush home to.

I miss getting lost with you. Getting lost physically, like when we were driving around upstate New York, searching for a swimming hole we never even found, and getting lost mentally. Losing track of time and having the whole rest of the world fall away, because nothing else mattered nearly as much.

I miss bowling with you. I know I'm a terrible bowler and you are a good one, but gutter balls didn't really matter because I loved seeing how happy you were getting those strikes.

I miss trying to impress you. Those days when we didn't know each other as well and you seemed so in awe when you found out about a hidden talent.

I miss being miserable at parties together. You know, those house parties, or warehouse parties where there is a lot going on, but really there's nothing going on.

I miss slow dancing with you.

I miss staying up late with you (and not because it's 3am and the baby's up). Staying up late on purpose because we lost track of time or because we have nowhere to be in the morning.

I miss mornings with you. Not mornings where we have to change the baby's overnight diaper, or make oatmeal, or rush to the doctor's appointment. Slow, quiet mornings, where we had nothing on the agenda for the whole day.

I miss brunch. (And day drinking. I miss day drinking. With you, of course.)

I miss being scared with you. Not being scared of our son's future or the worries and anxieties that come with everyday parenting, but being scared because we're trying something new. Like the time you made me hike through a rainforest in Puerto Rico, and I had to climb down this steep hill by hanging from a vine. A vine.

I miss catching your eye across a crowded room. Seeing your smile at the recognition that you found me among the fray.

I miss pushing my way through people to find you.

Can we promise to focus on being “us" as much as we focus on being parents and friends and coworkers? Can we work on and give as much attention to each other as we do to our son and our lives and all the daily bits of drudgery that we have to deal with, because we're grownups?

Let's just be “you" and “me" sometimes. Let's slow down and really listen. Let's surprise each other (and ourselves). Let's have more date nights and convince my mom to sleep over so we don't have to rush home right away. Let's say I love you more, and linger on those kisses, and whisper late into the night.

You are one of my favorite people in the entire world and I know it's easy to forget each other in the chaos and responsibility and urgency of “life." But let's try. Because I miss you. So so much.

Love always,

Your wife

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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