Sometimes I look at you while you’re looking at me, wishing for what I have, and I want to ask you if you’re crazy.

You don’t want this. You don’t want the stresses of two small children. You don’t even know what stress is until you’ve had a child. Okay, that’s not entirely true, but you get my point.

You say you haven’t found the right man yet. That’s why you haven’t started a family. I didn’t choose my partner. I got pregnant by accident when I was 20 and then again on purpose at 25.

It’s not as sunny as it looks, I assure you. My eyes have rained tears because I couldn’t get my baby to stop crying or because I couldn’t go into public without my two-year-old throwing a tantrum and I felt trapped. Or sometimes I didn’t even know why, I just cried.

seeking freelance writers to submit work about families, parenting and kids

When you tell me about your (exciting) life, I get jealous.

When you tell me about your dating life (the one I don’t have, not even with my husband because if we have a babysitter, we are too tired to leave our house), I get jealous.

When you tell me about the stress in your life, like not being able to find a good roommate or that you’re tired from going out the night before (last night I was up all night too but not for the same reasons), I get jealous.

Your life is exciting. You’ve gotten to do so much more than I have because you haven’t had babies yet. You look at us and laugh at my jokes about how my kids are driving me crazy, not realizing that I’m laughing because that’s all I can do to keep from breaking down.

I look fulfilled when my toddler says, “Mommy I lub you,” and I promise I am fulfilled in those moments. I couldn’t explain the amount of love that runs through me if I tried. Yet I’m more than just their mom, I’m a woman too, but I don’t always feel like I get to be one.

I feel like everything mommy-related comes first, and it comes at a price. It costs me my happiness. It sometimes costs me feeling fulfilled, and it sometimes makes me feel like I’m not worth more than wiping butts and singing the ABC’s.

I know it’s worth it and I know I’m going to miss it. I also know my childless friend wishes she had it.

I know this because she says every Friday night when she gets home from work, she sits alone in an empty apartment, texting multiple people to make plans for the night. (It’s amazing you get to hold your own phone when you don’t have kids!) She makes me feel lucky to be stuck at home on a Friday night ordering pizza and watching “Big Hero 6” while breaking up fights.

I know: the grass is greener, the sky’s brighter, but their mornings are longer and our nights are never over. They think we’re dull and lifeless and we think their lives are meaningless without kids.

Ideally, it would be best to experience both worlds at the same time as our closest friends, but it doesn’t work that way. In the meantime we need to realize that we can’t understand what a person is going through, not even out best friend, until we’ve walked that road on our own and not just heard about it.

If we can realize that then we can realize it’s possible to be jealous of each other and content at the same time. We can still accept one another and embrace the different stages we’re in at that moment.