Let’s be real for a second. Husbands are great. We need them as our companions, partners and Netflix-watching comrades. Moms, sisters, aunts, mothers-in-law, they are all invaluable resources and sounding boards. Coworkers can be like extended family. But girlfriends, more specifically “mom friends,” are our lifelines.
Life is sweeter with mom friends. Sure, friendships existed before parenthood, but the mom friend is an anomaly. She has an innate feeling when you need an “everything is going to be ok, I’ve been there” text. She shows up, Starbucks in hand, with an extra shot, because it’s (insert any day of the week) and you needed it. She hands down maternity clothes, the cute ones. When your kid is losing his ever-loving mind because you put jelly on his peanut butter and JELLY sandwich, she’s there to swoop in with a lollipop and make the tears disappear.
In my pre-child years, I was blissfully unaware of the world known as “mom friends” and how crucial they are to our day-to-day lives and sanity. Most times, a mom friendship doesn’t start like other friendships. It’s not about bonding over a mutual love of Tequila at the coolest bar in town during Sophomore year of college. More than likely, the two of you will not have similar beliefs regarding religion or politics. Instead, a bond forms over a lack of sleep or finding the perfect pair of non-mom, mom jeans.
Finding, courting, and keeping a mom friend is no easy task. Here’s a cheat sheet for knowing if you’ve found a keeper.
Can you be yourself around her?
Phoniness is for the birds. If you show her all your crazy and she still loves and appreciates you for it, that right there is a true mom friend. There’s no need to suppress our quirks. Whether it be a love of bad reality TV shows, an innate need to express every thought that comes to mind, or making inappropriate jokes, if we can feel free to be anything and everything without fear of being judged, then that mom friend is a keeper!
Not to mention, we all lose our cool. If we need to hide frustration and the “are you kidding me right now!” statements when our child pees on the back porch five seconds after you asked him if he needed to go potty, then we shouldn’t waste our time. Our social time is limited, so why waste it on those with whom we can’t be ourselves?
Do you have opposing views on motherhood? If so, who cares! And she shouldn’t, either.
If she’s a true mom friend, she will not bat an eye if you are all about bottle-feeding while she breastfed from day one. We are all doing the best we can. The truth is, we shouldn’t care if another mom believes in attachment parenting or lets her kid cry it out, whether she feeds her toddler an all organic diet or allows her kid eat day old goldfish off the floor (guilty, BUT I had just mopped!). What matters is if she is fun, has a minivan that will fit your entire gaggle of kids, is there when you need her, and she’s good to her kids.
Will she give you the real story?
Parenting guidebooks do not exist – I mean, they do if you search for one at Barnes and Noble, but they don’t contain the kind of information we are all seeking. Sometimes, when we find ourselves feeling clueless, all we are really looking for is for someone to shoot us straight. A great mom friend will let you know if you are putting too much thought in to feeding schedules. She will tell you the truth about what she has been through and what to expect. On a side note, this same mom friend, will also say you look great when you haven’t washed your hair in three days because you live with an infant, and showers are impossible. Shooting it straight need not apply in those situations.
I remember chuckling with my BFF mom friend on the phone one evening, a few weeks from the due date of my first child as she was filling me in on the horrors beauty of child birth. During the conversation, there were a lot of “I’m sorry, WHAT are you expected to wear as underwear after giving birth?” and “wait, are you telling me I won’t be able to eat AT ALL from the time I arrive at the hospital until AFTER I give birth? I ‘ve been eating for 10 months straight without taking a breath, how will I survive?”
I needed that conversation, and more so the true-to-life information. Surprises are not fun when they come in the form of starvation for a pregnant woman.
Does she thrive on drama? Is she judgy? Does she treat friendships like she did in high school?
If the answer is yes to any one of these three questions, run as fast as you can (without peeing your pants, but if you do, I completely understand and sympathize). We don’t have to be best buds with every mom we encounter, but we do need to leave the drama, judging, and pettiness for the teenagers. When you encounter one of these non-mom friends, look beyond them, over their shoulder, to the mom that is kind, understanding and inclusive. Let’s choose to embrace each other, and not make others feel like an outsider. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The everyday moments of motherhood may be un-relatable to your husband or sister. But to your mom friends, they’ve been there (or will be soon). We are FRIENDS. We look past the sticky floors and non-designer clothing. When we arrive 15 minutes late because our toddler had to stop three times on the way over to poop, it’s okay because she was busy breaking up fights and was 20 minutes late herself.
Take note, when your mom friend invites you to her son’s third birthday party, show up. When she asks last minute to grab a coffee, say yes. And when she says, “let go for happy hour sans kids,” run there as fast as humanly possible, again, without peeing your pants, of course. But we’ve all had kids, we understand if you did.
We need each other. It’s refreshing and reinvigorating to be heard, to laugh at the nuances of motherhood, and to connect with someone who really does understand. Great mom friends are invaluable, so when you find one, don’t let her go!