It’s early in the morning. My husband has left for work and the kids are still sleeping. I sit down with a cup of coffee in front of my computer in my quiet, still kitchen to try to steal a moment to myself. 

I scan my inbox, quickly deleting junk mail and silently reminding myself to pay bills later.

Then I see it. An old friend has emailed me a funny picture of us from when we were much younger.

How are you?? Remember this day? So much fun! She says.

I stare at the smiling faces looking back at me. We’re laughing about something—relaxed and happy. We were connected then. An unbreakable bond of friendship.

Now, we only talk every few months, mainly because emails like this often get forgotten by me. I feel guilt wash over me as I look at the date on the email. Sent two weeks ago. Like many emails I get, I read them while I’m on the go—thinking to myself, “I’ll respond as soon as I get home.” And then life takes over.

As parents of young kids, it feels like there’s a constant conveyor belt of things that have to get done. If we’re not getting children changed, dressed or fed, we’re getting ourselves ready for work, running errands, taking kids to appointments, activities, birthday parties. Even in the summer, when we try to keep things as unscheduled as possible, there are always things I have (and want) to do. Quality family time, making dinner, bathing children, reading stories, asking about their days.

Then there’s the exhaustion at the end of the day. The baby is teething, so we’re not sleeping. Or there’s another ear infection. There’s the non-stop juggling of time. Time with the kids. With our partners. With our extended families. All of this on top of the task of shaping young lives. Raising little girls to be women and boys to be men—a full-time job on its own.

Before long, it’s not just unanswered emails I’m bad at. When I do manage to carve out time to see friends, it has to be on my schedule. Can you come to my place after the kids are asleep? Can we go somewhere close to me so I can still help get the kids to bed?

And when we do get together, it’s not long before I find myself yawning at 10 at night—yearning for my bed, even though we used to be able to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, chatting and laughing over several glasses of wine.

I’ve changed. And I want to acknowledge it.

I know I suck at being a good friend right now. But I promise it’s not forever. I’m in the weeds. I’m knee-deep in parenting little kids who need me for pretty much everything right now. But this stage in life—it doesn’t last forever.

They quickly grow up and need us less. They learn to tie shoes one day. They make their own breakfasts. They finally wipe their own bums.

And as unglamorous as it sounds, I want to hold onto it. Because the good stuff will go quickly, too. I want to remember their little voices. The shape of their adorable toddler bellies. I want to soak up this time when they think I’m the best, most fun and hilarious human that ever graced the earth.

When they start to grow, I will have time on my hands. I’ll eventually learn how to balance it better. I’ll eventually be sleeping long, long stretches at night. And then, I promise, I will be the good friend I want to be. The good friend I still am.

Because I’m still here. I’m still me. And I still value our friendship—so I’m going to respond to that email.

If you can hang on, I promise I’ll see you soon.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

You might also like:

To the Tired Mom in the Middle of the Night

I Don’t Have Many Friends, But I Have True Friendship

My Dear Daughters, Friendship is So Hard

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Heather Dixon

Heather Dixon is a writer and Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian parenting website, SavvyMom. She's also a mom to three little humans and a new dog parent. She's slowly working on her first novel and can be found at heatherdixon.ca.

Please Don’t Tell a Couple Trying to Conceive to Just Relax

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Black-and-white photo of medical supplies

This is a plea. A plea to those who know someone who is struggling with infertility. So, if you’re reading this, this is directed right to you. Please, for the love of everything, when someone tells you they are struggling to conceive, do not tell them to “just relax.” I know it’s the cliche, default term most blurt out because they don’t know what else to say. It’s awkward to discuss for some. I’m 10000% positive it is coming from a good place and is meant to be calming and reassuring, and you really do believe it’s true because a...

Keep Reading

That Mom at the Playground Could Become Your Best Friend

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Young mother sitting on bench looking at playground

I didn’t realize I was that mom at the playground. That mom who always smiles at the other moms even if she doesn’t know them. That mom who often makes small talk while she pushes her toddler on the swings. That mom who strikes up a conversation while sitting on the bench watching her older kid play. That mom who can often tell whether you are interested in talking to her or not. And if you don’t seem interested, that’s okay. Because maybe you’re preoccupied with other things going on in your life right now. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the...

Keep Reading

Mean Girls Aren’t Like the Ones You See In Movies

In: Friendship
Woman whispering in another woman's ear

Mean girls aren’t like Regina George. If they were, it would be easy to know to stay away from them. Not all mean girls are wealthy, image-conscious, stick-thin blondes. They also don’t always have the reputation of being “mean girls.” The problem is that mean girls are way worse than Regina George because they don’t look like mean girls. Mean girls can be your “friends.” Mean girls know how to gain and betray your trust. They are the girls who, on a rough day, ask you what’s going on not because they care about you, but so they can have...

Keep Reading

To the Mom in the Trenches, I’ll Come Back for You

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mother sitting on bed holding one twin while the other crawls nearby, black-and-white photo

Your hair is in a messy bun for the sixth day in a row. You’re trudging to work sniffling because with all the germs your kids bring home from daycare, you just can’t seem to recover. You haven’t had a date night in four months, or has it been five? You stare blankly across the table at your spouse, his lips are moving but your brain can’t quite compute what he’s saying because the baby was up at least 10 times last night. You are just so tired. On top of this, we add in holidays. A time of year...

Keep Reading

6 Ways to Be a Friend to Someone Grieving

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends hugging

Grief can truly be such a lonely experience after you lose a loved one. The loneliness isn’t necessarily because you don’t have anyone around you. It’s because only you had your relationship with the person who died, and it’s hard to find anyone to replace that. I have first-hand experience. My mom died recently and unexpectedly at the age of 62 and I at the age of 34, and it single-handedly has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, having support from family and friends will help you navigate this difficult time. Without it, the loneliness...

Keep Reading

I’m the Hostess without the Mostest, but Who Cares?

In: Friendship, Living
Kitchen island with bowls of snacks, color photo

I wasn’t born a hostess. The idea of inviting people over to my home, whether planned in advance or on a whim, isn’t a natural inclination of mine. In fact, knowing people are coming over usually fills me with a sense of dread and wet underarms. The predictable swarm of anxious questions would buzz into my ear while I frenzy cleaned: Oh my gosh, what if the house has a weird smell I’m not aware of? How the heck do you style a charcuterie board? Why did I think it’d be easy? What if the house looks too messy? Or,...

Keep Reading

Why Does It Feel Like Everyone Else Is Doing It All and I Can’t Keep Up?

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Laundry basket with clothes on couch

I’m doing laundry today and as I sort and fold, I can’t stop my thoughts from going to an anonymous post I saw on a community moms page earlier this week. It went something like . . . “How are you ladies doing it? Really? I can’t keep up on the laundry, let alone everything else in the house. I’m working, but money is still tight and I’m a mess constantly pulled between home and work needs. My husband and I are struggling in our marriage. I am often counted on as a caregiver/helper to my parents, which I’m happy...

Keep Reading

Friendship In the Carrot Tree

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Little girl standing next to garden beds, color photo

“VV really wants to garden,” I mentioned to my neighbor Laura one day in passing, “but we just haven’t found the time to get the soil and get it going.” And it’s too expensive; my husband’s been unemployed all summer—I don’t mention that part. “Too bad our garden boxes are just sitting there full of weeds,” she lamented. Once, she and her husband were avid gardeners, but when his health declined, they gave it up. I perked up, “What if we take over your boxes?” Laura kindly agreed. At 7 p.m., when it’s cooled to a hundred degrees outside, my...

Keep Reading

My Friend Ghosted Me, But It Doesn’t Mean I’m a Bad Friend

In: Friendship, Living
Woman looking at cell phone with worried look on her face

I’m going to try one last time, I told myself as I mustered up the courage to type the words, “Happy birthday to Miss Ava! I hope you’re all doing well” into the text box. Should I add an emoji? Yes, definitely. I added a red heart and held my breath as I hit the blue send button. I put my phone down and tried to forget about it. I had seen the pictures from the birthday party on social media. Pink balloons in a sunny, green park, a rainbow-colored cake, and the smiling faces of mutual friends and my children’s classmates....

Keep Reading

Hey Friend, Meet Me in the Mess

In: Friendship, Living
Friends smiling

If you come to our home, you’ll likely see a basket of folded or unfolded laundry waiting to be put away. You may even see a pile of dirty clothes hanging out by the washer. If you come to our home, you’ll likely find spitty bits in the sink from where little kids brushed their teeth in a hurry and forgot to rinse. Despite my best efforts, they always seem to find their way back. If you come to our home, there’s a 50-50 chance the beds will be made. If they were made, there’s a high chance they were...

Keep Reading