When I cruise moms blogs and parenting magazines, I see so many articles written about mom friends and parenting communities. People say that mom friends are hard to cultivate. I scan comments about how necessary mom friends are for survival, especially in those early years when our lives get consumed by motherhood and we gladly lose ourselves in the daily drudgery of life with an infant.
I find that profound and supportive mom friends are few and far between, and just like most of my romantic relationships or other good friendships, they require a lot of emotional work.
The problem is, I am not always capable of an emotional commitment after investing in all my other relationships.
I live at least 4 hours from my nearest relative and had my first daughter fairly young (for my state and social circle, not necessarily nationally. In Vermont, college graduates tend to wait until 30 to have their first child. Check out the New York Times Article “The Age That Women Have Babies: How a Gap Divides America” for more info and statistics. I’ve had to grow a support network of other local moms but I remain hesitant to call them friends.
This local mom network saved my butt when I was sick and couldn’t properly take care of my toddler, who didn’t have daycare on a day my husband couldn’t take off. This network allowed me to attend a training that helped me further my career. These people took my girls overnight so my husband and I could have a night together to reconnect after years of drifting apart.
Most of these women, my mom friends, are not people I would go on vacation with.
This is my barometer for whether a relationship could move from acquaintance to good friends.
We are not politically aligned. We do not practice our religion or experience spirituality in the same way. We do not share interests, and our houses are not kept in the same manner (mine is much messier, I’m the slacker mom, not them). The thought of going out for a beer or a coffee with these ladies- without our kids- fills me with anxiety.
Despite these things, I can see that my moms friends love their kids and I trust them, despite our differences, to care for mine.
I respect them and even though we raise our kids differently, their kids are sweet, funny and . For this alone, I will always have a special love for this group. We probably won’t remain in touch as our kids grow, but I will always root for them and their families.
Here are the things I need my mom friends to know:
- Please don’t feel bad for saying no when I reach out for help.
- I am not mad if you can’t take care of my 2 year old on a Tuesday afternoon, when I called you Monday night. I totally understand, and you should not feel bad.
- Alternately, know that I don’t reach out to my mom friends for help until all my other options have been extinguished, so please don’t text back, “Let me know if nothing else works out and I will try to help.” If I have contacted you, then “nothing else” has already not worked out.
- I tend to use humor to break the ice, sometimes I am not very good at it. Please excuse me if my humor comes across as me complaining or being incredibly awkward.
- I love your kids. Despite how they might act at home, when they visit me, they are easy peesy. Yes, they may poop in 3 pairs of pants, because they are potty training. They may not eat anything I cook for lunch. They may wake up from nap time and need to be held for an hour because they miss you and need some comfort, but I don’t mind. They are funny and they think all my toys are new and interesting and my kiddos don’t ask for cuddles as much as they used to, so I am glad to cuddle yours.
My mom friends might not be my best friends, but they make me a better mom.
Sometimes, they inspire me, often they recharge me, and I will always be grateful that we met.