Mom friends. They are the ultimate survival tool when it comes to navigating motherhood. They’ll validate you, assure you, and even toast you at those elusive moms’ nights out. They are the cure for loneliness when the hours are long and give you the courage to try new things. They’ve either been around the block or you’re both doing the whole ‘mom thing’ for the first time. Every season of motherhood serves up different needs, questions, challenges, and schedules. With little free time, it’s important to maximize these mom-friend relationships. When it comes down to it, what’s really important is finding the mom-friends worthy of your love, your tribe, your time — worthy of being included in your mom-friend collection.
The ‘Experienced’ Mom Friend
Second only to ‘Dr. Google’ is the experienced mom friend. You need someone you can text with those, “Please take-me-off-of-this-ledge, oh-experienced-one” types of questions. Someone who’s been through it, perhaps many times. She’ll validate your concerns, while providing reassurances. She’ll remind you to both avoid comparisons when it comes to other kids and to register early for pre-school. This friend will tell you which sleep sacks really work (or better yet, gives you her hand-me-downs). I’m talking about the experienced mamas who will take your ‘newbie-mama self’ under her wings, and simply leave space for you. Chris, Christina & Ashley, thank you for helping me find my courage, oh-experienced-ones.
The ‘Mutual First-Time’ Mom Friend
No matter how type-A you thought you were in your previous life, when you become a mom for the first time you feel like a combination of ‘hot-mess’ and ‘failure’ for about ninety-percent of that first year. You don’t need someone to tell you, “You’re not failing,” (because deep down, you sort of know that). What you need is a mutual first-time mom friend. Someone who won’t only sympathize, but can empathize with you over your lack of sleep. Someone to ‘zombie walk’ at the park with you. An adult voice. A sounding board. Someone to compare nap schedules, cry and vent to in those first years. Amie, you were the very best first-time mom friend!
The ‘Multiples’ Mom Friend
As we say in the South, ‘Bless your heart.’ I have the utmost respect for and am in awe by my friends with multiples (twins, triplets, etc.). We need these ‘multiples mamas’ in our lives (and they need us). They provide us with reality checks when our days get “tough,” ha! We too, provide them help (including but not limited to adult conversations, holding/rocking/feeding said twins, folding all laundry within arm’s length, and entertaining their older children). If nurtured, a friendship with a ‘multiples mama’ will be one of undying loyalty and mutual respect. Marianna, I loved you before you were a mama, as a mama, and now as a ‘multiples mama.’ Thank you for always keeping it (and me) real.
The ‘Met-Randomly-At-A-Park’ Mom Friend
One of the biggest hurdles in making mom friends I have found, is scheduling play dates around nap, daycare and pickup schedules. What’s one of the best things about meeting mom friends randomly at the park? You’ve already established that you’re on a similar schedule! Sure, it’s always a little awkward to approach another mom at the park. In that moment you have a choice: either acknowledge each other with a head nod and move on or start chatting! I learned quickly that while no, not every parent you meet at the park will turn into a play-date, I’ve met some amazing mamas at the park who continue to be mom friends to this day. Whitney, thank you for letting a stranger-turned-friend bend your ear!
The ‘Virtual’ Mom Friend
Some of my best friends live across the country and I truly mourn the distance. I fantasize about all of the things we would do together if we lived closer. How we could spend our days a little less lonely, playing dress-up with our girls and sharing everything motherhood has to offer. Being a mom can be isolating. Luckily, today’s technology allows us to at least see each other throughout the week. So whether you’re new to town, haven’t found your tribe, or simply don’t know where to start, don’t overlook the potential of your distant college girlfriends. While you may be separated by miles, you might find that they’re just what you need to fill your virtual cup. Colleen, Lindsey and Lauren, thank you for our friendships from afar.
I have a decade-long friendship with two amazing local women. The three of us all met as childless thirty-somethings, but within a few years we were all promoted to either ‘mom’ (me) or ‘step-mom’ (them). We were all thrust into motherhood around the same time, but the respective ages of our children span 16 years. So while we’re not exchanging notes on the best diapers, step-mom friends are amazing for providing something I always welcome: perspective. As step-moms, they’ve become examples of unconditional love, selfless choices, clear-and-concise communication, scheduling around child-sharing, navigating the heartbreaks, and countless more lessons I may never have considered were they not in my life. Allison and Kristen, my hearts, I am so proud of you both.
The ‘Wanderlusting’ Mom Friend
Terrified to take that first trip with baby? Look no further than your ‘wanderlusting’ mom friend. She’s the friend who’s there to light a fire under your rear-end and propel you out of your living room and into the great unknown. This is the mom who will send you photos of her newborn baby asleep from inside a tent on their Alaskan vacation with the hashtag #WildernessBabyFTW. The friend who encourages you to take that road trip, even if you’re afraid it will ‘ruin their nap.’ She’ll drag you along to places you never imagined you’d go with baby in tow, and she’ll take the Instragram-worthy pictures along the way. Jeanie and Amie, thank you for making me brave.
When it comes to the ultimate mom friend, who better than the woman (or people) who raised you? After all, you turned out pretty amazing. Our mom figures are never off-limits or out of reach. Have a burning question at midnight? Call mom. Need to cry it out in the bathroom? Call mom. Need someone to tell you you’re doing it right? Call mom. She’s your ultimate validator. She KNOWS. She knows what it means to sacrifice her needs for yours, but also has the clarity and wisdom to help you get out of your head. She’s family, meaning she’ll be more than comfortable telling you exactly what you’re doing wrong (with love and grace, of course). She’ll celebrate your big and little wins, while folding your laundry and spoiling her grandbabies. Mama Rita, you’re the very best mom and mom friend I could EVER ask for. I love you.
Looking for ways to meet some mom friends but don’t know where to start? Check out our directory of Knoxville Mom Groups! You can also sign up for the Peanut App where you can connect with and meet other women at similar life stages to your own.