I’m often told that I need to bring the kids by more often, that so-and-so wants to spend some time with my children while they are still young.

Listen, don’t take this personally, but no.

It’s not that we don’t want to see you.

It’s not that we are lazy and don’t want to make the time.

It’s that it’s exhausting and more stress than I can handle some days.

Bringing my three very small children to your house to visit is a lot of work and must be timed perfectly.

I have to get all of them dressed, get the diaper bag ready, and make sure they are fed.

I have to perfectly time it between nap time and dinner time because the baby only sleeps in her bed.

I have to watch my kids with a sharp eye at your house for fear of them breaking something or getting hurt because you’re not used to small children being there.

I have to be home in time to cook dinner, feed them said dinner, get them all baths, and still have time for my husband.

It’s not that we don’t want to see you.

It’s that managing these small, beautiful children is a lot of hard work and it’s even harder outside of our own home.

It’s that I don’t want to destroy your house.

It’s that no one enjoys a cranky kid if he didn’t get a good nap.

If you want to spend time with us, please, spend time with us. But I also ask you this: come to us; don’t ask us to come to you. And please, give me some time to straighten up my house.

It’s not my house is a disaster—OK, maybe it is. But, I would much prefer power-cleaning for 15 minutes rather than spending half the day trying to make the stars align to visit with family and friends.

So, please, don’t take it personally.

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Anastasia Smothers

Anastasia is a mother of four children under four and a proud wife to a veteran. When not with her children, she works full -time and also has a part-time position as a substitute teacher.