10 Tips for Making Mom Friends

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mom-friends

Seven years ago, I passed a mom a note that said: “Will you be my friend? Circle yes, no, or maybe.” Not really. But my palms were as sweaty as a middle schooler’s passing a note folded with origami perfection to her latest crush. But the stakes were so much higher this time. If she rejected me, she rejected my son–my perfect, new boy. If she said thanks but no thanks, she probably thought I was a bad mother or a needy mother or an (insert adjective here) mother. If she circled maybe, it meant I still had to prove myself to her, and I was just too tired to prove anything. I regretted asking her to be my friend the second the stupid words tumbled out of my mouth. But then she said, “yes.” YES!

We had our first lunch date with our little ones in tow. They were tiny and sleepy in their carriers. We all hit it off.

I had a person. A like-minded comrade. Chemistry.

When lunch ended, we went our separate ways.

What next? What were the rules of this game? Would she call? Should I? Was this exclusive?

There aren’t any guidebooks for making mom-friends, but thankfully we figured it out. In case you haven’t, here are some tips…

1. Use the Children. You spotted her at the playground, and you can’t stop thinking about about the way she handled her toddler’s tantrum. You’re swooning over her packed lunch in non-BPA nesting bowls. Her baby wrap was flawlessly tied. Does she feel the same way about you? Throw your child into the sandbox with her little one to find out. Now causally make mom talk. “Isn’t she adorable?” Before your love interest leaves, tell her how much your little one adores her cherub. Reel her in. And boom. It begins.

2. Practice Momogamy (at first). There is nothing more awkward than being the third wheel at a party of inside jokes. Try one-on-one play-dates until the two of you are comfortable adding another and another and another. Before you know it, you’ll be calling yourselves a book club and serving wine.

3. Be Exhibitionists. Play in public. For conversation starters there will be plenty of other moms and their children to mock. No. Do not do that. If that sounded like a good idea, this isn’t going to work. Find a public place on neutral territory. The last thing you want is to hit it off with your mom crush only to have the kids marking their territory (with urine or saliva) and asserting ownership “That’s mine!” “No! Mine!” on every surface including each other.

Related post: 10 Tips on How to be a Good Friend

4. Don’t ask her about that stain. By stain I mean any stain on her person or in her home (if you made it that far). No good will come of calling attention to the baby mucus on her pocket. And if the stain is in her home, you may as well call her an unfit mother and slam the door on your way out. Don’t do it if you want another date, and you do. You want another date. These dates preserve your sanity!

5. Don’t hit her up to babysit. You’re not in the market for a caretaker here, you’re looking for a friend. A surefire way to sink this ship is to ask this mother to take care of your children. She’s got enough going on with her own. Did you notice those stains?!

6. Split before dinner. If dinnertime at your house always runs smoothly, please don’t tell me or anyone else. Your potential mom friend may not be so lucky. Scratch that, if she lives in the world of toddlers, she’s not. It’s nothing short of herding feral cats when the dinner plates touch the table. Get out before she has to explain herself.

7. Make a move. Call! You’re knee deep in laundry. The kids have been crying all day. You’ve got a mortgage payment of late fees for the library. You’re hungry. Your son scored a touchdown. Your daughter is forward-facing now. Call. A person who relates to this, all of this, is what you’re looking for. Call.

8. Use your words. Big into attachment parenting? Trying the Cry it Out Method? Vegetarian? Avoid citing the latest research or any research, really. It’s not a job interview. And while we all understand there’s an impulse to show you still have at least two functioning brain cells, save the MLA citations for another time. Use your own words.

9. Leave the Exes at the door. It’s probably not the time to hate on your previous mom fails. Unload on the hubs until this friendship takes root.

Related post: The Rules for Visiting a New Mom

10. Know when to cut and run. Ladies, not every relationship is meant to be. The beauty of having children is that you have a built-in excuse. It’s always nap time somewhere. Is that a hive on your child’s cheek? Did you forget her favorite snack? Did you see your son’s nose run? There’s no shame in it.

Of course, when you know it’s meant to be, it is. When you enter the friend zone, and you’ve had a candlelit dinner for two or a couples massage, by all means forget the rules. Congratulations. It’s true love!

How to Not Scare Away Your BFF after You’ve Had a Baby

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It’s not always easy to make time for post-baby bonding with your best friend, especially now that a tiny gluttonous cry-machine dominates your every waking moment. But your friendship is important to you, so you do it: You summon the extra energy to pull your bleary-eyed self together for a little one-on-one (plus baby) time with your loyal BFF. It is a joyous occasion; she even holds the baby for you while you take your weekly shower.

And oh, how you’ve craved conversing with an adult human! Sure, you might slip into a brief coma while BFF tells you about tossing her martini on some ass-hat at a bar, but what a relief to finally unload about how it burns to pee with vagina stitches! And you aren’t even self-conscious like you imagined you’d be when you whip out your enormous, swollen boob and stuff it in your screaming baby’s mouth, all while your BFF looks on in slack-jawed awe.

You just… can’t figure out why BFF doesn’t call as often as she used to…

Perhaps it’s the conversation? Take poop, for example:

After having a baby, poop is suddenly on the table as a totally acceptable topic of everyday conversation. Moms love to discuss the physical properties of their baby’s poop; the viscosity, density, hardness, color, smell. It’s like science class, but better, because it’s poop. Poop that came out of a human being that we created!

{BRAIN EXPLODING}

Even though my own two offspring have already attained the ages of seven and three, I’ve not yet outgrown the “poop talk” phase of parenting. Perhaps when the three-year-old can wipe her own ass I’ll get off the poop talk; but honestly I’m doubtful. However, I understand that a friend who doesn’t have children of her own might not appreciate the dark humor of me catching a handful of my baby’s poop in my bare palm because I’d rather wash my hands than scrub the carpet. I might tell the story, but I’ll tell the abbreviated PG version and then quickly ask about her work or love life before she throws up. (On my carpet.)

Same goes for Nipples. Remember when you used to think the word “nipple” sounded disgusting to the point that if someone dropped the word in casual conversation the hairs on the back of your neck stood up? And how post-childbirth, suddenly all you want to talk about is how your nipples are chafed and bleeding and you have to rub this ointment(another disgusting word) on them, and the baby’s latch is touch-and-go so he’s basically just biting your tender, delicate (gross words!) nipples and omigod your nipples are so HUGE, so unbelievably GIGANTIC, like those bush women on National Geographic, you know? HUGE, wanna see?? NIPPLES, NIPPLES, NIPPLES!

If your BFF truly enjoys hearing you expound upon the topic of Massaging Ointment onto Your Tender Delicate Nipples then she is a very special individual indeed, and you need to buy her a little something nice, like a Volkswagen. But just to play it safe, I’m gonna wager that most childless gals would be just fine sans the nipple expo.

Other conversational topics to approach with caution and/or moderation:

  • Vomit/spit-up. (Especially avoid that story of what happened when you were playing airplane with baby and flying him around over your open mouth.)
  • Your vagina. (How it tore, bled, got sewn up, how big your labia are now, etc.)
  • Your butt-hole. (How you tore straight from vagina to butt-hole, how it hurt A LOT to poop at first, how you’re constipated now for the first time ever, etc.)
  • That time your husband tried your breast milk and said it “actually wasn’t that bad.”

Some of these topics should be avoided for the gross factor alone, but some of them are horror stories that are simply better left unsaid, lest you accidentally convince your BFF to get her tubes tied before she’s even married.

Now that we’ve eliminated every current thought in your brain from your conversational repertoire and you’re paralyzed with fear that you will inadvertently sever the one tenuous tie you have with pre-motherhood, here are some conversation ideas:

  • Ask your BFF about her life, and when you do, try to maintain an alert expression of interest and empathy. I know you’re unbelievably tired, but for the love of God DO NOT FALL ASLEEP. Your friend’s dating troubles might seem juvenile and boring compared to your exhilarating new life of poop, vomit, and blown-out vaginas, and the solutions to her troubles might seem excruciatingly obvious to you. But that’s only because now all relationships are filtered through your “mom lens.” He texted WHAT to his ‘friend’with the fake boobs? Dump him!!! He’s not the type who would make a good father.

Don’t judge the BFF! She has to learn on her own, just like you did.

STAY AWAKE, SOLDIER! I’M TALKING TO YOU!

  • Another possible conversation topic is memories. Remember all that fun, zany stuff you and BFF did pre-life-sucking-parasite, I mean, pre-baby? Talk about that stuff! It will be a great distraction from your sore nipples. And you might even laugh about something other than poop!
  • And yes, you actually can talk about the baby! If your BFF is as awesome as mine is, she will ask anyway. Just, you know – no poop/vomit/vagina/butthole talk. Seems obvious now, huh?

The place where you and your BFF hang out might change (your clubbing clothes don’t fit anyway, sweetie), but your friendship doesn’t have to. The thing we new moms have to remember is, we’ve been in their shoes; they haven’t been in ours. That means the job of empathizing falls on us. We have to consider the possibility that our BFFs might not be brimming with enthusiasm to listen in rapt attention as we wax philosophical on all the nauseating aspects of new motherhood.

My BFF and I brainstormed about this post, and what I was surprised to discover is that over the course of our twenty-year friendship, the things that have changed between us have nothing to do with me having babies while her career blossomed. Somehow our friendship has managed to evolve, grow and thrive as its own entity, outside of the bubble that is my family. And I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly how we managed to do that.

Actually, come to think of it… she is one of those rare people who isn’t horrified by a good poop story.

No wonder I love her.

10 Tips on How to be a Good Friend

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10 Tips on How to be a Good Friend

I have spent the last five years mastering the art of  how to be a good friend to other mothers. From eating Crisco straight out of the can to leaving floaters in my guest toilet, I can say that I’m a better friend now than I’ve ever been. Lucky for you, I’m sharing my top 10 tips…

1. Be an average-sized person. Do you like hanging out with really skinny people that make you feel fat? Me neither. That’s why I eat ho hos and bon bons on a daily basis. I never want to make my friends feel fat while they’re hanging out with me. Sometimes I get a little too thin, and when I see this happening, I just eat more Crisco straight out of the can. It’s the least I can do for my friends.

2. Don’t do a great job cleaning your house. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m at someone’s house, and I see a little counter-top clutter, I feel more comfortable. And – a dirty toilet or fingerprints on the bathroom mirror? Thank the Lord – I feel like a normal person. I work hard to make sure my house is never too clean for guests – and I can always count on my dog or one of my kids to make it smell like a giant fart, which I think is a nice touch.

3. Make sure your kids scream bloody murder while you’re on the phone. My friends know that when they talk to me on the phone, they’re going to hear my kids yelling and screaming. I like to think of this as a special gift I can give my friends. It either makes them feel totally normal when their kids are also screaming in the background. OR – it makes them feel like they are great mothers because their kids are NOT screaming in the background.

4. Burn dinner when you have dinner guests. When you have dinner guests, it’s usually a good idea to royally mess up something – just to make everyone feel like great cooks themselves.One Thanksgiving I purposely left the bag of guts inside the turkey and made a big show of taking it out of the cooked bird while we were at the dinner table. Everyone immediately felt like they were better than me. Mission accomplished.

5. Never look too put together. This is a tough one for me, because I tend to be fairly put together. But before I leave the house, I try to mess myself up a little bit so that no one feels dumpy when they’re with me. Sometimes I smear a little baby poop on my pants or on my shirt. I’ve been known to tear holes into the knees of my jeans… you get the idea.

6. Forget your kid somewhere. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m keeping it in my back pocket in case of a friendship emergency. Forgetting your kid somewhere pretty much guarantees that no matter which one of your friends is having a bad day – they’re still a better mother than you!

7. Update your Facebook status wisely. You will never see me posting things on Facebook like, “My kids LOVE picking up their toys” or “Oh my gosh, I have to buy myself smaller jeans (again)!”  No, you won’t. Because I am a good friend. Instead, I post things like: “Man – this lice just won’t go away.” or “Bedbugs suck!” or “How did I manage to gain 15 pounds this week?” Be a good friend – think before you Facebook.

8. Stop cleaning your minivan. Minivans were made for smashed goldfish crackers, spilled milk, stinky socks, and maybe a little vomit. Once I stopped cleaning mine, my friends felt normal. And I found that it helped to ward off any minivan jealousy from my friends that haven’t gotten theirs yet.

9. Wear your pajamas everywhere. No matter what I’m wearing, I feel amazing when I see another mother wearing Sponge Bob pajama pants while she’s dropping her child off at preschool. Seriously. You want to be a great friend? Rock the PJs in public!

10. Leave some floaters. I always make sure I have a few floaters in the guest toilet, especially when company is coming over. Nothing makes people feel like they’re a better all-around person than me than finding a few floaters in my potty.

Some are easier to implement than others, but once you get the hang of it, we can all be better friends!

 

The Code Between Childhood Friends

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Childhood Friends

1. We will email, text, and use Facebook when we have to, but these methods of communication will never compare to hearing each other’s voices and having a conversation face-to-face.

2. Even if those face-to-face conversations happen once every five years or less, they will be so fulfilling and genuine that it will seem as if no time has passed. We will easily pick up where we left off because our friendship is in a category all its own. We’ve never seen each other’s living rooms and kitchens, but we’ve seen each other with acne, broken hearts, and often worse. We’ve talked long into the night during such formative years that certain songs from the 80s and early 90s and movies and shows and even certain words flood us with memories of each other.

3. Any small talk pertaining to each other’s family members is so much more than the unfairly named (in this case) small talk . “How is your dad?” “How is your sister?” These questions mean something and their answers will mean even more because we know each other’s family members from so many angles.

4. We will, over the course of our lives, help each other preserve those flashes of memory from childhood like the lecture about focusing on more than a guy’s looks that we got in high school from the mom who reminded us that looks fade. Or the pre-college pep talk we got from my dad who had us all in tears days before we all left for college. I remember another mom of our crew always calling us nice girls. “You are nice girls,” she’d insist. And she was right, we were (mostly) nice. Sometimes I suspect we made sure we were nice so she would approve. Every one of us cared about her opinion. We cared about all the parents’ opinions. I can’t tell if as a group we were uniquely invested in each other’s families, or if this is just the way of childhood friends. Either way, I’m grateful to have known you as full people with parents, siblings, grandparents, and cousins and to have practically lived at your houses and even in your cars. I’m grateful to have seen your roots and for you to have seen mine.

5. We will not remind each other (aloud) about stupid mistakes we made back in the day like boyfriends we fought over or the times in our lives when we let our friendship fade too much. None of that matters. You are here now. I am here now. We will always be there for each other in the important times. And if we can’t be there, we will understand that, too. We will get that there is a current life with responsibilities and struggles and even joys that neither of us is a part of for the other because of distance, time, and reality. We will not hold this against each other or pretend that pictures on Facebook changes that fact. We will just get it. Our friendship will exist in that rare time and space protected by the drama of hurt feelings. We’ve been through enough middle school and teenage angst together that our taste for it as adults has long since passed (at least with each other).

6. We will love each other unconditionally because our memories are too precious to let conditions get in the way.

The Rules for Visiting a New Mom

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Rules-for-Visiting-a-New-Mom

You know the scene: A close girlfriend has her long-awaited new baby and you feel the need to hightail it to her house to hold that little bundle of joy. In fact, it takes all of your self-control to not show up at the hospital and interrupt the precious few hours that she’ll have a staff doting on her around the clock. Either it’s because you love that new baby smell or you think Mama is going to have hurt feelings if you don’t show interest in her newest family member, but regardless, you are going to hold that baby. This is what we do as women, yes?

Au contraire, mon amie. I distinctly remember being two months into motherhood and realizing that I didn’t need or want any more girlfriends stopping by and over-stimulating my colicky, sensitive child with their scary foreign faces, inappropriately loud voices, or refusal to stop bouncing him for even a few minutes. Give the baby a break from the bouncing, ladies. Do you think I want him to get used to that?  No, I don’t, because I’m tired and I don’t want to have to bounce him myself.

Related: How to Not Scare Away Your BFF after You’ve Had a Baby

I assure you that I would not have been hurt had no one come to visit me at all. Do you think I made this baby by myself?  In fact, I did not. There is a man who lives here to keep me company in the evenings. During the day I was too tired, overwhelmed, and covered in spit-up to care about loneliness, and having company just meant that I’d have to squeeze my fat ass into something that didn’t fit and vacuum the dog hair off the floor.

Before I became a mother I was one of those girlfriends who showed up just to hold your baby. I hereby publicly apologize to all of the new mommies that I did this to. No mother I know was sitting around, desperately waiting for me to appear at her house empty-handed and hold her baby. I am no Baby Whisperer, believe me.

Related: The Scary Mommy Manifesto

There was one instance that I arrived at a girlfriend’s house for no other reason than to hold her new baby and then I sat down and ate the dinner that her husband had been preparing for them. Me! I did not just have a baby! Why was I eating her food?  Shameful.

Now I’m a mother and realize that if you want to hold that babe in the first four months before the yummy new baby smell wears off, then there are some rules governing that situation…

• Bring food that you know they’ll like. This means a take-out lunch from a higher-end restaurant and bring enough food so that Daddy has something to eat when he gets home. Chicken, fish, steak, or something that fits their special diet.  Don’t be stingy; buy enough for leftovers. Don’t make something on your own unless it actually tastes good. It’s best to spend a little money and treat them to something nice since it’s going to be a long, long time before they go to a restaurant again. I hate to say it, but if you can’t afford to buy her a decent lunch, then you need to consider whether you can really afford to hold this baby.

• Don’t eat her food. Does Mama have some pulled pork or a rack of short ribs simmering in the crock-pot when you arrive? Don’t you dare accept any of it if she offers. She is being polite and you are not actually a guest. You are an intruder. Remember:  Everything that you don’t eat is leftovers for them tomorrow, so don’t eat anything at all. You can have some water if you get it yourself. You need to be on high alert to recognize fake offers of food/gifts/favors and so on from this woman; she is likely out of her mind from sleep deprivation and doesn’t know what she’s saying, but she will still remember your greediness years later.

One of my friends left a homemade chicken casserole and fresh chocolate chip cookies at our front door and didn’t even need to come inside. The hallmark of a truly excellent friend is one who will knock quietly, put the food on the front porch, then get in the car and drive away.

• Bring a gift, even if you already gave a baby shower gift. Ask Mama what she needs or check her registry for lingering purchases. Don’t get your panties in a bunch about this one; it can be something as simple as a case of pacifiers or replacement pump pieces–  things that only cost a few bucks. Nobody ever said that a gift had to be a surprise in order to be good. When in doubt, ask what diapers they use and bring those. If you buy the cheapest diapers you can find that are imported from Mexico, she’ll be dealing with scratchy leaky diapers and cursing your name at 4am.

• Snap Away. If you’re a semi-pro photographer, bring your camera and your most flattering lens. Don’t try to sell her the portraits later. Send them for free.

• No summer dresses in winter. Don’t bring size-inappropriate-for-the-season clothing that suits your taste and not theirs. Babies grow fast. Use your brain.

• Don’t bring decorative kick-knacks. As much fun as you might think it is, no mother wants you to decorate her new baby nursery. Decorating the nursery is strictly relegated to mom and dad and you can keep your over-sized stuffed animals, picture frames, and inspirational quotes out of it. Nobody wants something extra to dust around when they have a new baby. Don’t make Mama waste a stamp graciously thanking you for some random thing you dug up at Tuesday Morning that she never wanted in the first place.

• Make yourself useful. Is your new-mother friend one of those controlling types who doesn’t want anyone helping with her housework?  Your friend needs to get over it because in about 8 months that baby is going to be mobile and her days of being in control of her surroundings are officially a thing of the past.

Do the dishes. If the kitchen sink is full of dishes, turn on the water, rinse them off, and start loading them up in the dishwasher. Load them smart because you know how much we hate it when the dishwasher is loaded wrong. Don’t halfheartedly ask Mama if maybe you can help out in some way because she’s going to say no even though she means “God, yes, please someone help me for once.” Just do it.

• Or the laundry. Look around and spy a pile of clean clothes that needs to be folded? Do you have two working hands?  Fold the laundry, even the underwear.

• Be that friend. One of my friends not only brought food and a gift, but she called from the drugstore to see if I needed anything (indeed, I did need nursing pads for those leaky boobs no one warned me about) and started putting away all of the odds and ends that belonged in the baby’s closet that I couldn’t reach because of my c-section. When she asked what she could do it wasn’t really a question as much as it was a statement and request for orders.

Related: 10 Tips on How to be a Good Friend

Another girlfriend came over with her husband for an afternoon. He sat in a chair and rocked the baby while she cleaned my kitchen spotless, including shining up the stainless steel of the refrigerator. What did I do?  I took a bath and washed and dried my hair for the first time in a week. You know when your hair gets so dirty that the roots hurt? That was my hair.  I had an entire hour to myself where I wasn’t listening for the baby to cry for the first time since becoming a mother two months prior. When I tried to check on the baby in the living room she whispered, “Get out of here. He can smell your milk.”

But not THAT friend. I can honestly say that there were a few visitors during that time of my life who had me thinking, “I’m being held hostage by this tiny person who just threw up in my eyes and you didn’t even bring me anything?” Don’t be that friend. Learn from me, the reformed do-nothing baby holder. Last summer when a friend had a new baby, I brought a small gift and lunch whenever I went to see her because I knew she felt so overwhelmed. These days I don’t even give birthday presents without asking Mama what the little one needs, or if my gift idea is alright with her.

If you’ve been a blatant do-nothing baby holder in the past, fear not. Make a mental note to buy the child a special gift for their next birthday party and rest easy knowing that at some point, your day of having vomit in your eyes will come and you will find yourself wondering what the hell these baby-holding friends are doing in your house.

The Six Mothers Every Mother Hates

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Mothers Every Mother Hates

Moms rule. Everyone knows this. You could scour the earth and never find a group of women more dedicated, tireless, giving and loving than the mothers of the world.

And yet…

Who among us can honestly say they don’t get frustrated with certain types of mothers? Let’s call them “motherhood extremists.” They are peppered throughout our daily lives – in classrooms, on committees, at the grocery store, at sports events – those mothers who push our buttons and work our nerves.

We don’t like to admit it, but they make us feel a little, um…inferior in certain respects while at the same time leaving us with a tinge of guilt for becoming annoyed with their behavior. They are, after all, other moms. Aren’t we all on the same team? Shouldn’t we be supportive of one another? Sure…up to a point – the point, for instance, at which one of them brings camera-ready pilgrim cookies with articulated limbs to the classroom Thanksgiving feast while loudly commenting on how surprisingly easy it was to move around the kitchen on crutches.

Yep, that’s where that point stops.

Of course we grudgingly admire some aspect of these ladies’ parenting personalities – we admit that up front. But could we perhaps dial it down a smidge? For instance…

1. The Germinator: Woe to the bacterium that comes within striking distance of the Germinator’s 50-gallon drum of hand sanitizer. Like a one-woman Centers for Disease Control, this mom issues health bulletins, charts outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the public parks and has been known to send her child to birthday parties wearing a festive germ mask. When you are in the presence of the Germinator, you have an uncontrollable urge to wipe your child’s nose, whether it’s funky or not.

2. Mayhem Mom: The Tasmanian Devil of parenting, Mayhem Mom is surrounded by chaos at all times, yet never seems to be flustered by it. The last time you talked with her, she was holding two screaming children and calmly segued from telling you that her roofer had just left town after ripping the shingles off her kitchen into musing about what she should pack for tomorrow’s road trip to Mount Rushmore, all while her Labradoodle retched into her stroller basket. All it takes to tip you into critical fail, on the other hand, is the discovery that you accidentally grabbed the wrong soy latte off the counter at Starbucks.

3. The Nutritionista: You didn’t know you were feeding your family appalling crap until the Nutritionista came into your world. (Okay, maybe you didn’t know just how appalling it was.) You’ve been skittish around this mom since you got shamed for bringing non-organic rice crispy treats to school for snack and things really went downhill when she saw that Red Bull roll out of your purse at soccer practice. Now you’ve made a special trip to Whole Foods to try and figure out what to feed her child when he comes over for a playdate tomorrow because you’ve got a feeling the usual beef jerky and juice box aren’t going to cut it.

4. Cool Mom: Cool Mom seems to exist solely to make all the other moms (especially you) look like uptight buzzkills. Children of all ages are drawn to her world without boundaries like tweens to moody vampires. Wear the tube top, Daisy Dukes and over-the-knee boots to school on Friday? “Chloe’s mom lets her!” Eat banana splits in the car on the way to Grandma’s? “Chloe’s mom lets her!” A co-ed “just friends” sleepover for your 14th birthday? “Chloe’s mom let her!” The unspoken question: Why can’t you be cool like Cool Mom?

5. The Mouthpiece: This mom purports to be the spokesperson for any and every organization your child is affiliated with, including schools, sports teams and civic organizations. She considers it her sacred duty to have the inside scoop on scandals, staff changes and ongoing grievances and prides herself on her network of highly placed sources. Every conversation with the Mouthpiece leaves you with the uneasy feeling that she knows your child’s grades before the report card ever comes home…as well as your credit score.

6. Immaculate Mom: Blessed be Immaculate Mom for nary a harsh nor unkind word has ever crossed her tastefully glossed lips. When you and your disgruntled mom friends are in a cluster, grousing about the epic crabbiness of the school’s Spanish teacher, Immaculate Mom will pop her head in and say something like, “Perhaps Señor Hofbrau was having a challenging day.” WTF? Nothing draws Immaculate Mom’s ire. You’ve seen her respond with a smile and kind word to rudeness that would have Mother Teresa throat-punching the parent in question. How does she do this? It’s…unnerving. You know, however, that one day she’s going to blow like Mount St. Helens and when she does, you plan to be there, capturing every last F-bomb in sweet hi-def.

Mommy Friends

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when-harry-met-sally-50fe1841360c0

You know that dialogue in When Harry Met Sally about whether or not men and women can ever really be friends? Here it is, in case (unlike me) you don’t have the entire movie memorized…

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry: No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do.
Harry: No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do.
Harry: You only think you do.
Sally: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all want to have sex with you.
Sally: They do not.
Harry: Do too.
Sally: They do not.
Harry: Do too.
Sally: How do you know?
Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally: So you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail ‘em too.
Sally: What if they don’t want to have sex with you?
Harry: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry: Guess not.
Sally: That’s too bad. You were the only person that I knew in New York.
.

God, I love that movie. But, back to my point…

I don’t believe this argument to be true. I think male/female relationships can exist without the least bit of sexual complication entering the picture. I really, truly do. Or, at least, based on the number of close female friends my husband has, I sure as hell hope so.

I do, however, wonder about another type of friendship: The mother and the non-mother.

It’s easy being friends with fellow moms. There are no hurt feelings when a phone call abruptly ends and you forget to re-dial for three days. There is no dry-heaving when you describe, in great detail, what your child just puked up and changing a diaper mid-conversation isn’t notable in the least. You aren’t offended by the chaos on the other end of the line, because it echos the chaos in your own household. It’s welcome, because for a change, it isn’t yours.

Non mommy friends, on the other hand, aren’t always so accepting. I find myself calling single girlfriends while in the car after school drop-off or hiding out in the bathroom, so we’re not interrupted with pleas for snacks or ass-wiping. I’ve been hung up on because I sounded “distracted” on the phone and wasn’t appearing to focus my full attention on the call. But, isn’t “distracted” a defining characteristic for a mother? Do we ever actually have the luxury of focusing 100% on a phone call?

Even if a non-mom doesn’t vocalize it, is she forever resentful not to be number one anymore? It’s not so easy to jet off for a visit anymore or meet for dinner and drinks when a sitter cancels at the last minute. As much as you love your friends, once you have kids, they take second fiddle. They just have to.

Of course a mother and a non-mother can be friends. Some of my dearest friends don’t have kids and I love them just as much as I did before. But, I wonder, if like Harry says about sex, the kid thing eventually gets in the way and messes things all up?

I’m not sure…

What about you?

Talk To You in 30 Years

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talk636

The other day a friend apologized to me for running up to me at an event, asking me a question and running away to chase her two year old. She was worried I thought she’d been rude. I immediately had to think…wait, when did she ask me a question, what was it and did I actually answer her?  You see, I also have a two year old who is a giant CB. (No, no get your mind out of the gutter) A giant CONVERSATION BLOCKER.

I mean, honestly, I cannot remember the last time I was able to have a full conversation or complete a sentence with someone else when my child is around.  I’m pretty sure there have been at least five to 85 people in the past two years who I have completely lost contact with simply because they have become convinced that I either have a severe case of adult undiagnosed ADD or that I am always on the verge of a mini stroke. I can’t complete a flipping thought to save my life. I repeat myself. I walk away from people mid-sentence. I walk away and never return or by the time I do actually return the person who I was trying to talk to is gone. I forget things, constantly.  If it’s not written down in giant letters, with blinking lights and hanging on my actual forehead, I will forget all about it.  So, it’s time for an apology.

Dear (insert name here),

I would like to say that I’m sorry.

I am so sorry that while you were telling me all about one of the most important parts of your day, week, year my two year old thought it would be a perfect time to take a massive poop and announce it to all who were in a 280 mile radius of us.

I am sorry that while we are trying to have a very serious conversation about real estate, politics, spouses, careers, reality TV, Dr. Visits, restaurant reviews, a new wine you recommend (do you have some with you now?!) home renovations, family, money, and vacations my two year old repeatedly yelled mommy at the top of his lungs until we both could no longer ignore it.

I am sorry that while we were trying to catch up about life in general my two year old was asking for a snack as if I haven’t fed him in 5 days, 6 hours and 3 minutes.

I’m sorry that by the time I got him said snack I literally forgot what we were talking about so we both put up the white flag and surrendered to the fact that we may never know. The conversation we were attempting to have has been put into a secret vault that only toddlers hold the key to.

I am sorry that the friend, sister, daughter, cousin, wife, niece, granddaughter who used to listen to you without any distraction is suddenly like trying to talk to a puppy, on crack, who just saw a squirrel and possibly has to pee.

Please take note that this is in no way a reflection of how I feel about you.

This is just me… oh crap my kid is chucking sand at another kid, oh shit he’s under water, oh my god how is he already up by the playground, HEY PUT THAT ROCK DOWN MR.!!!, What are you eating now??? Is it actual food??? Okay sorry where was I? And THIS is exactly what I mean.

Just know that I miss you and I promise when my child turns 33 I will be able to sit down and catch up on all the awesome things going on in your life.

Until then it’s literally going to be a crap shoot. I am left with no choice other than to tell you I will see you in 30 years, for now I surrender to the toddler.

My deepest apologies,

Me.

The 10 Most Annoying Moms You’ll Meet

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annoying moms

At a birthday party last weekend, I got stuck with “That Mom.” Oh, you know the one — the mom you dread seeing at school functions, parties, playgrounds, and park outings? Sure, there are different types of “That Mom,” and different tactics to diffuse her bothersome traits or at least escape them.

Here’s a list of the most annoying moms I’ve come across and how to deal with them. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to avoid them before they trap you, or at least make yourself disappear faster than David Copperfield at a One Direction concert (I don’t have insider info on whether David Copperfield dislikes One Direction… I just imagine he wouldn’t want to be there).

1. PMS Pam: Talking with this “depress-fest” is more sobering than watching an aged Gary Busey perform live. Her weighty chit chat will include talk of diseases that could strike at any time, children who were poisoned by school lunches, and Botox gone horribly, irreversibly wrong. After a few short minutes, you’ll be sucked into an abyss of worry and despair that will have you questioning your safety, your health, and your marriage. Rule of Thumb: Never talk to her alone, as it will take another friend to pull you from the pit (hope that friend comes bearing cocktails)!

2. Fend For Yourself Fran: This mom sees your child as her respite. Your kid is distracting hers, so that she can get a moment of peace, a glass of wine, a few minutes to read “Mommy Porn.” She’s not concerned with what the kids are doing, as long as they’re doing it quietly… and far away. You may come to her house to find your child, miserable, hungry, bruised, or locked in a bathroom, which she will have no explanation for, as she was unaware your child needed supervision… or a glass of water, or a Bandaid, or some protective gear. Rule of Thumb: Always have her kid at your house or send yours over to hers with a survival kit.

3. Know it all Nicole: This mom is like Kris Jenner, but she won’t take your family to Hawaii. She will, however, advise you how to be a better mom and wife, because well, who doesn’t like unsolicited advice on parenting and marriage? She’ll tell you whether you should or shouldn’t vaccinate, how to get your whites their whitest, and why fast food is making your children dumb. Rule of Thumb: If you want her to impart her wisdom elsewhere, bring up a blush-worthy topic like blow jobs. If she doesn’t run for the hills, hear her out — you can never know too much about blow jobs — when she’s done, bring up vibrators.

4. Donna Droner: Talking to Donna will make you wish you had a cyanide pellet. This chatty chick finds every detail of her stories not only imperative, but scintillating — whether she’s describing how she rescheduled her children’s annual checkups, or rattling off her 39-step trick to get discoloration out of grout. Throughout your pow-wow you’ll feign interest and nod politely, while wondering if plastic party knives are strong enough to perform Hari Kari. Rule of Thumb: Take a fake call. If you’re not holding your phone, pick up anything, hold it to your ear and answer it.

5. Braggy Beth: This gal will make you question whether your child is stupid, lazy, or socially inept. No matter what your kid’s accomplishments are, Beth’s kids did it better, and did it earlier. “Your daughter doesn’t know her alphabet yet? Have you had that looked into? I mean, I’m sure she’s fine. It’s just that my Lily is just really advanced. She probably learned it in the womb — I mean, we taught her French in the womb. Does yours speak French yet? Sorry, that was insensitive… she barely speaks English.” Listening to her talk will bring out a shameful side of you that wants to give her perfect little angel the finger. Rule of Thumb: Don’t give her kid the finger… kick her in the shin and run.

6. TMI Tammy: Tammy is like a bad Facebook status in the flesh. She feels that the disgusting details of the ooze in her son’s ear and the consistency of her daughter’s last bowel movement is lunchtime fare. Though you may only know her from “Meet the Teacher Night,” you somehow also know that she has an inverted uterus and hence prefers it doggy style. Rule of Thumb: TMI Tammy can work in details that would make Eminem blush, so stick to “Hi” and “Bye” and NEVER ask how she’s doing.

7. Delusional Denise: DeeDee has no clue what her child is REALLY like. She’s blissfully unaware that her darling offspring, whom you’ve seen suffocate a baby bunny, could do any wrong. If confronted, Denise will emphatically deny that it was her little angel, she’ll explain how it was surely an accident, or she’ll complain that her child always seems to be the scapegoat. Rule of Thumb: Keep yourself your kids and your pets as far away as possible — Denise’s kids are the ones who grow up to be serial killers.

8. Stalky Samantha: Samantha wants your life. She will sidle her way into plans with you. She’ll make sure her kids get close to your kids, sign them up for the same activities, clubs, teams, and classes. She’ll call other people to determine where you are at any given time. Her covert detective skills include frequent drive-bys, constant contact through scouring pictures and updates on social media, and oddly “running into you” like, everywhere. Rule of Thumb: Be careful with this one, as we all know how stalker movies turn out… plus you’re probably convinced she has weird super powers like super hearing or ESP. (Well, that’s just silly because she’s actually a vampire.)

9. Judgy Julie: This delightful mom is assessing your every move. On play dates, she’s estimating how many toys you have in your dining room, the sugar content in your pantry, and when you last dusted your blinds. Her goal is simple: find enough evidence to confirm what she suspected all along: She is better than you. Rule of Thumb: Be careful how much you let Judgy Julie see because she doesn’t keep her verdicts to herself. Yep, the high fructose corn syrup snacks you offered up as team mom could be the talk of the next PTA meeting.

10. Me Me Mimi: “Enough about you, more about Mimi,” is her slogan. “What? Your child is allergic to peanuts and went into anaphylactic shock at school?  I totally know what that’s like. That happens to my little Carly with chocolate. I mean, she’s not allergic, but it does a number on her tummy. Last Halloween she had such a bellyache… as you can imagine, it was awful.” Rule of Thumb: Avoid this time suck at all costs, as even a nod in her direction opens a door for her to tell you more about herself and her family… AND DON’T GET HER STARTED ON HER DELIVERY STORY!

Some days I may fall into at least one of these categories (I mean I had to be a Judgy Judy to write this), but I like to believe those days are few and far between. Of course.

How To End A Friendship

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Remember the good old days? The days when you could actually lose touch with the people you wanted to lose touch with? Sadly, those days are gone.

Once upon a time, you could leave a job and rest assured that if you never wanted to hear from those cubical mates again, you wouldn’t have to. Old neighbors would receive holiday cards for a few years until the communication fizzled out and expired friendships were allowed to simply fade away. It was a natural part of the cycle of life. Relationships come and go and that’s how it always was and is supposed to be.

Until Facebook. Thanks a lot, Mark Zuckerberg.

A few months ago, I heard from an old acquaintance. She was the type of person who you know for a brief period of time and never hear from again. Except that she found me on Facebook and lived not too far away. Would I like to meet for lunch? I could barely remember who she was, but I accepted. What did I have to lose?

Turns out, a few precious hours of my life. Within minutes, I remembered exactly who she was and exactly why the relationship should have died a quick, painful death. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to agree. Before the meal was over, I was somehow roped into a double date for the next weekend and invited to her kid’s birthday party. I’m really not even sure how that happened.

I rushed home and called Jeff. Normally, when I meet potential friends and we take that big step of a double date, I give him a speech about us needing more couple friends and to be on his very best behavior. No crude jokes. No inappropriate stories. No third glass of wine. This time, I did the opposite. We need to get out of this friendship now, I told him. You have my permission to be offensive. Be obnoxious. Do all of those things I would normally kick you under the table for. Be your worst self ever.

And, he was. He told jokes that only belong at bachelor parties. He was loud and brash and didn’t think twice about inserting his unwanted opinion. He was horrible. It was perfect. We never heard from her again and the pending Facebook request was cancelled.

And that, my friends, is how you end an unnecessarily resurrected relationship.