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True life: I miss my friends

I need to continually remind myself how good I have it because lately I’ve been exhausted. Maybe it’s this killer flu that I can’t seem to shake, or maybe it’s just that my kids are of the age that every single second I’m in my house, they require my attention.


I love them with every last fiber of my being, but that doesn’t mean I love the fact that I haven’t gone to the bathroom in over five years without interruption.

Lately, it seems like when I get home from work I’m in a perpetual battle against time. It takes forever to get dinner cooked, cut, and doled out to my kids, to clean up the inevitable emergency spills, and to get my own food ready and on the table before the rest of my family is done eating. Sometimes I’m up and down so much that it doesn’t seem worth it to sit down.

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Sometimes it seems that if I’m not at work, doing things I need to do for my colleagues and students, then I’m at home doing things I need to do for my children and husband. When I get to feeling like this, I realize I miss my friends. A lot.

I miss making plans with them on a whim.

I miss being able to have uninterrupted conversations with them without having to answer questions like, “Where does the moon hide during the day?” or “Why do bunnies have floppy ears? Why don’t I have floppy ears?”

I miss how being with friends—away from my house or from work where I am very much needed—makes me feel.

There’s a freedom that comes with spending time with friends who know “pre-mom” me. It makes me feel like an adult who can talk about art and books and what’s happening in the news without the worrying about soccer practice, swim class or house cleanup that my other “adult self” needs to think about.

There’s a freedom that comes along with being around people who like me more than they need me.

I knew that motherhood would have its challenges finding a balance between being a mother and being who I used to be, but in my head, I thought I’d be managing that equilibrium a little better than I’m doing now. I knew I’d see my friends less, but still enough, and I thought that if I weren’t able to see them, it would be because I was spending a lot of amazing quality time with my children.

In reality, 90% of my life as a mom right now is dishes and laundry and wiping up wetness. The individual tasks are far from difficult on their own, but a day full of them—one after another—is far from easy.

These types of days simultaneously slowly and quickly come and go and come and go and come and go until one day I realize that I can’t remember when it was I last talked to my closest friends. My people. The ones who really get me. Was it weeks ago? Months?

I miss them. And I’ve missed them for so long. I’ve just been too overloaded to do anything about it.

Most of who I see these days are family, people I work with, and those rare individuals who can pull double duty with me—like the friend I can talk to while we meet to workout, or the pal I can chat with on the sidelines because her kid plays soccer with mine. They’re fantastic humans. They really are. But they’re my 2-for-1 friends, which means we might not pick each other so often if it weren’t for the other extra thing that binds us together.

I do make attempts to see my friends. I’m not wholly living in self-friend-isolation. I send a text or make a call in an attempt to reconnect when I can, but the odds are not high that the exact moment I can come up for air and reach out to them will correspond with when they can respond back and reach out to me in return. So the cycle often continues.

I miss our weekly meetups—our collaboration during DJ trivia and our friendly competition at bingo.

I miss sharing and rehashing every tiny aspect of our lives over a bottle of red wine.

I miss sharing our worries and frustrations with one another and having those conversations where we might be crying at the beginning, but we’re always laughing by the end.

I miss being able to see my friends when I really need to see them, not only when it fits into a slot in both of our tightly packed calendars.

I try not to get too down about it because I know I’m doing what is best my family and myself, and I know it won’t always be this hard to find time connect.

I take solace in our text messages, emails and snapchats—the lifeblood of our long-distance communication. I am comforted by the fact that my friend group recognizes that we will always be here for one another when needed, but we don’t demand each other’s undivided attention to prove it. Honestly, those are the kinds of friends I need most right at this stage of my life.

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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