“It takes a village to raise a child”. That’s what they say. And I could not agree more. I am super thankful for the “village” that is helping to raise my rowdy boys. My husband, of course. My parents. My in-laws. My brother. My son’s teachers.
Having a village of people surrounding and pouring into your kids is invaluable. But who is surrounding YOU? Filling YOUR cup? How about THIS saying (penned by me) “it takes a village [“of Mommy Friends”], [to keep a Mom sane enough] to raise a child”?
Once you become a mommy, you simply must make some fellow mommy friends. You ain’t gonna survive this thing without them, I’m telling you.
But we are BUSY! We don’t have time to enter the “mommy-dating” scene. Often times, our days look like: survival. Who has the time/energy/mental capacity/time/charm/wit/opportunity/clean clothes/time to go out and forage for a bunch of new friendships? And honestly, after a day spent saying things like, “why would you try to put your toe in your milk?” (I said that today), and “please don’t touch the dog’s private part”, could you even summon up anything semi-intelligent to say anyway??
The good news is, making mommy friends doesn’t require any of that. You are likely already walking around in a breeding ground of potential friends every day, and you don’t even know it.
So, who are they? And how do you reel them in?
1) The Mommy you were friends with before you guys even became Mommies: Well, this one is a no-brainer. You’ve been friends with her (or with them) for forever. Since high school or college. Or maybe just since those early years when you and everyone else you knew were childless newlyweds…footloose and fancy free. You stayed out late together, drank wine…maybe too much….together, and have millions of stories that begin with “remember that one time when we ___________”. She was the first one you told when you found out you were becoming a mom, and vice versa. Like I said, this one is a no-brainer, BUT…
What You Need to Do to (continue to) Reel Her In: Keep on feeding that relationship. As kids come along, and you move to new neighborhoods, new schools, new activities, as your kids began to make their OWN friends (versus being friends with who you tell them they have to be), this relationship can unintentionally be neglected, and begin to wilt. Don’t let it. DO NOT take advantage of this friendship. It is oh-so-valuable.
2) The Mommy of the Kid who YOUR Kid Really Likes: If your child is school-aged (even preschool-aged) they will begin to make friends in their class, who inevitably, they want to play with outside of school hours. If your kids are young, this very likely means that YOU are about to be forced to hang out with that child’s mom, on this playdate that your four-year olds have set up. Your first thought may be “ugh”. I don’t know her. She doesn’t seem like my ‘type’. Can we please just call up one our ‘real’ friends (aka MY friend and her kid) and hang out with them?” Alas, don’t do it!!!
What You Need to Do To Reel Her In: Give her a chance! Have an open mind! Your friends don’t have to be just like you, or part of your comfortable and familiar circle. Be WILLING to make a new friend, and you likely will.
3) The Mommy You Met By Chance: That mom that you met, when you were both sitting on the bench at Chick-Fil-A, taking in the scent of smelly feet together, wondering what the sticky substance on the glass behind you is, and gasping in horror as one of your children licks it. You suddenly realize that the 45 minutes that typically seem like an eternity in that cesspool of germs, has actually FLOWN by, because of the great conversation you’ve been having.
What You Need to Do to Reel Her In: Don’t just say “bye. Nice talking to you! Good luck with the potty-training”. Get her digits! Give that girl a call! This could become one of your new mom besties.
4) The Fellow Preschool Mommy Who Saves You Time and Time Again: You are consistently a frazzled mess. You canNOT be on time to save your life. Neither your toddler nor your five year old will hold your hand as you are walking down the hallway, so you give it your best shot to chase after both of them, and fail miserably. You finally make it to the door of your child’s classroom, only to realize that the money you were supposed to bring for the class pizza party is in your purse. In your car. Back out in the parking lot. Here comes Super Preschool Mom to save the day. She says, “let me hold the toddler for you, while you help your Big Guy unload his bag. And by the way, I have an extra $5. You can pay me back later. In fact, want me to just go load Little Guy back up in the car for you, so you can enjoy a peaceful walk back down the hallway on your way out?” Yes! Yes to all of the above! And yes to this mommy friend!
What You Need to Do To Reel Her In: Nothing. You have absolutely nothing to offer this woman. Who are you kidding? If you even try, it will probably just frazzle you more. What is in it for her? I have no idea, but try with all your might to make this mommy friend YOURS….and try to reassure yourself that the only reason she has it so much more together than you is _______________ (fill in your own justification).
5) Your Mommy: She was your first friend! She was probably your BEST friend for a lot of years! Keep her around! She knows you better than anyone else, she knows a thing or two about how to raise children, and she loves you despite all of your flaws.
What You Need to Do To Reel Her In: Call her. Hang out with her. Drop your babies off at her house and let her be as good of a grandma as she is a mom. DON’T always drop your babies off her at her house, and sometimes just go out on the town with her. Continuously be thankful for her, and verbalize that to her.
Did you have a hard time making friends with fellow moms when you first became a mom? Do you still? Where did you meet your mom friends?