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.

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“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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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 OK 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.

A version of this post was published January 3, 2019. It had been updated.