As parents, we root for our kids to build friendships at school. And, whether or not you consider yourself a “meddling” parent, you’ve probably had a small hand in forming some of those bonds. In a normal year, we’ll send our kids to school with cupcakes for their birthday, a box full of Valentines, and party invites — things that tell the whole class, “My child is a team player.” We’re even allowing more phone and computer time because we realize how hard it is to maintain friendships during a pandemic.
We’re trying to set our kids up for success and praying that a few friendships stick — the kind with pinky promises, sleepovers, and inside jokes. But the time and energy we put towards their friendships doesn’t always translate to our own lives. We forget about the importance of an inner circle, specifically having mom friends.
Your village starts to take shape the second you give birth. This can include the labor nurses who remained by your side for 48 hours, your mother and mother-in-law who spoil your child rotten, down to the next-door neighbor who helps bring in your trash barrels. All of these people are important, but they can’t really empathize with you.
A mom friend is someone who’s recently “been there, done that.” Her advice comes from a place of relevancy.
Having children means your house never stays clean for very long. In fact, kids seem to follow behind the vacuum cleaner spreading crumbs like Johnny Appleseed. Despite how busy we are with our families, we can never shake the embarrassment of a messy house. But you know who doesn’t care, a mom friend. She’ll see your sink full of dirty dishes and raise you four baskets of unfolded laundry.
A mom friend will plop down on your couch covered in assorted stains without blinking an eye. Your house, your rambunctious kids, your bed head and worn sweat pants – none of it bothers her because she gets it.
If you’ve ever ugly cried in front of your spouse because of something your mother said (or during The Notebook), then you’ve probably seen that uncomfortable look in their eyes that screams, “What do I do?” Sometimes people just don’t know what to say. And when folks do chime in, they tell us how to fix our problems. Wrong answer.
A mom friend will listen, take your side, and then mirror whatever you’re feeling. She’s not there to one up you or give you advice. She’s your sounding board.
When one of our kids finds a friendship that just clicks, we imagine the two of them — thick as thieves — remaining friends forever. Sure, that friendship might fizzle by next summer, but a mom can dream.
So remember to practice what you preach. Go out and find your mom friend!