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To my child-free friends—I might have to say ‘no,’ but please still invite me

There's been the occasional photo on social media of friends at a concert that I wasn't invited to or a passing mention of a dinner that I hadn't gotten the memo on. I've missed mani-pedi dates and music festivals and destination bachelorette parties alike.

But don't worry—I've had my own parties at home. Sad little pity parties that usually only my husband is invited to.

"I know I probably couldn't have gone. But I do wish I were invited." I've said that line to him a few good times. And he's felt it in young fatherhood, too.

We started having babies when we were 27 and a lot of our friends were in a totally different (not thinking of children yet) stage than us. And we've missed out on some friend stuff. Invitations dwindled. Memories were made without us.

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It doesn't feel good, but I do understand.

I'm one of the only moms in my circle of friends. I have three kids—they're all little. I've been pregnant or at home nursing a newborn or dealing with toddler bedtimes or sick kiddos who need me, for five years.

Trying to schedule something with me sometimes looks like I might be in charge of a very powerful government department. But really, it's mostly because I'm in charge of dirty diapers and big feelings from tiny humans. And preschool drop-offs and doctor's appointments and cleaning up toys and writing essays during nap time and refilling Amazon orders and making 200 meals a day. (No, I'm not a chef. I'm a mom to an almost 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 15-month-old.)

But I don't say this for sympathy. This is the life I've chosen. The life I want. The life my husband and I have dreamed about. I love it.

I say this for the invite. I want to be included. But I don't want a pity invite. I want you to want to invite me. Because I'm still me underneath all this motherhood. I'm still the girl who loves belting every word to 'Shoop' at the top of my lungs and reminiscing on the dumb things we did in college. I still love watching movies and getting my nails done and well, taking a break and getting out of the house once in a while.

I need to. And I need you.

Even though my dance parties may be fueled by the Sing soundtrack instead of Snoop Dogg and Pharrell, I can still drop it like it's hot (if we're talking about the cookie sheet with chicken nuggets on it, because dang my oven mitt is really wearing thin these days! *Mentally adds new oven mitt to my Amazon cart*). And even though my late nights look like nursing a baby in the wee hours of the morning or changing sheets because of an accident (not mine, my kids), I can still hang. I mean, I just basically pulled an all-nighter last week because none of my children wanted to sleep—I can make it a few hours past bedtime. That's what caffeine is for!

I'm still funny, guys—even though sometimes my jokes may involve breastmilk or baby poop. And I'm still relevant—I scroll Instagram enough to know the 4-1-1 on celebrities and news. (I just said 4-1-1. Is my motherhood showing?)

I'm still up for an adventure—I have changed a blowout diaper in a random parking lot on the passenger side seat with only TWO WIPES left and size 3T pants for a non-size 3T person. I'm game for anything!

So if you have to wait for me to get the baby to sleep or for my husband to get home to take over with the kids—please be patient with me. And if you have to read my texts that say, "Ugh! I can't make to tonight, everyone is puking," please still text over my invite.

And if I've said "Sorry, I can't make it!" the last five times—please don't think I didn't want to make it all five of those times.

I did. But duty called. And, in this season of life, my family needs a lot from me and I'm okay with that. I expect it and I'm proud of my role of mother and wife. The to-do lists and the sleepy snuggles make my life feel so full these days. But even in the fullness of my life, there will always, always be space for you.

So, send that invite, girl. I'll try my best to get there. And if I can't be there, know that I always am in spirit. 💜

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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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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

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I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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