Finding a friend when you’re a mom is kind of like hunting for Sasquatch. You’ve heard the mommy friend exists—you might even think you’ve spotted one once before—but she’s elusive, mythical, the legend of many a campfire story.
That’s why when you find one, you hold on for dear life, especially when you snare “The One.”
The One is first to suggest fun weekend activities and to invite your whole family to attend. When she bakes cookies or puts together a special treat for her family, she is sure to send some your way as well. She’ll pick up extra tickets to that special kids’ movie that just opened at the theater in case you want to go, is quick to offer to accompany you when you need to run some errands, and has even arranged a joint family getaway for some much-needed R-and-R.
The One is everything you’ve dreamed of in a mommy friend—seemingly perfect in every way.
And you can’t stand her anymore.
Yes, it’s true. You can’t stand one more second of her. And it’s because deep down, despite appearing to have her shit together, The One is really a Needy Nellie in disguise. And what exactly does she need? Why, you, of course. All of you. All the time. And without question.
Your friendship started out normally enough. The two of you met—perhaps at your child’s school, at the park, or through a mutual friend—and hit it off right away. Making mommy friends is hard, after all, and you felt like you had just hit the mom lottery.
You started getting your kids together, going out for coffee when the rare chance presented itself, and planning fun-filled, kid-centered outings. You started chatting on the phone, introduced her to your partner, and planned a few dinner dates. You even started to consider her one of your best grown-up friends.
But then the invites and requests for your time seemed to increase at an exponential rate until it felt as though they were more like demands instead of suggestions. Eventually, even the demands stopped coming and were replaced with expectations—that you’d take turns carpooling each week, that you’d sign your kids up for gymnastics and swimming and piano lessons together, and that you’d spend every waking moment of every friggin’ day in each other’s company.
You started to feel guilty when you had to decline because of a prior obligation, for each time you did, you could sense the disappointment morphing into contempt in her voice. You dreaded running into her at school drop-off because you just knew she had planned your entire Sunday without consulting you first. You even began screening your calls and hiding in the closet when the doorbell rang for fear it was her on the other end of the line or side of the door with the next month’s itinerary in hand. You desperately missed the honeymoon phase when the two of you were still getting to know each other and you didn’t feel like the star of Single White Female: The Mommy Years.
You tried letting her down gently when you decided maybe the two of you needed a break. You even took the old “it’s not you, it’s me” routine for a test drive. But it didn’t take. True to fashion, she guilted and charmed you out of your objective, suggesting the two of you have a bottle of wine, some truffles, and a day at the spa to think it over. She’d even arranged for a babysitter in advance—on her, no less.
What had started out as a match made in Mommy-Friend Heaven had turned into something else entirely. Much like finally spotting Sasquatch only to discover what you’d thought was a bipedal humanoid was really just an overgrown beaver, your beloved mommy friend—The One—was less the woman of your dreams and more an overgrown toddler desperately clinging to your spit-up-covered leggings and draining your soul of its will to live.
The goal of your friendship mission has always been to find someone also in the trenches of motherhood. Someone just as exhausted and overwhelmed as you. Someone who could make you feel better about yourself and help you forget about the stress that raising kids can bring. Perhaps most importantly, someone who also shared your aversion to wearing pants.
What you got was more responsibility with a big old helping of shame and regret.
Well, no more. It’s high time you return to your braless days and your solitary ways. Break this thing off once and for all.
Besides, you’ve got a pretty full plate as it is already, and guilt has never been your favorite side dish.