When I was pregnant, folding all those miniature clothes and boiling pacifiers, I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to be a mom. But one thing I didn’t think about was the kind of friends I would make (and need) as a new mom. I didn’t realize that the friends I had before having kids might change, that my single or kid-free friends might not be able to relate to what it’s like to pull an all-nighter with a crying newborn, that girls’ nights might be put on hold for a bit.
When you become a mom, you often start to find a new tribe, crave women and men who are going through the same shitstorm and happiness that you are. And in some cases, the new moms you meet at the playground or Starbucks replace the friends of yesteryear. Suddenly the women you spot at mommy and me groups who look as clueless and bewildered as you do are the most comforting thing you have ever laid your eyes on. Their face is telling you that you are not alone.
Cliques don’t end in high school or college. They continue in the work force, they seep into motherhood and, if you are lucky, you find your tribe.
I realized very early on the kind of moms I wanted to surround myself with, but it takes time to find them and I believe it is worth the effort to find souls who love you as the messy mom you are, because, honestly, we are all a fucking mess at least part of the time. I prefer to hang with a mom tribe who admits that truth.
Momming is hard and the last thing I need is another women who is in the exact same situation telling me that eating, sleeping, and showering is never a problem for her so I should probably get my shit together. No, thank you.
These are the kinds of women I want in my mom tribe:
You get excited about going to Target and buying a new feather duster or steam cleaner. Hell, sometimes we might even make it a date and buy a latte for each other. You aren’t above chatting it up in my car and chewing on a stale soft pretzel. It still counts as a night or afternoon out because we are spending time together.
You can appreciate the finer things in life, like Italian leather, but it’s not a prerequisite for happiness or a friendship. We can get excited and squeeze the buttery fabric, and maybe even encourage each other to indulge and treat ourselves to the supple handbag every once in a while (we totally fucking deserve it), but you don’t turn your nose up at my faux leather pants or my imitation crocodile heels I got on sale at a discount outlet.
The simple things mean something to you, and you get really excited when I bring you flowers from my yard and a card my kids made you for your birthday.
You don’t have time to criticize other mothers because you are too busy worrying about whether your kids are being assholes. Like, you literally do not care what Susan is wearing, or what she feeds her kids, or how much she volunteers.
You like to listen to the same music I do and don’t judge the fact my kids know all the words to every song by the Chainsmokers.
You need me sometimes. You welcome me and aren’t afraid to tell me what is going on in your life for fear I will leave. You never wear a mask when it comes to our friendship and you love me without mine, too.
You can keep a secret. I can tell you about the wild sex dream I had about that boy we used to go to high school with and you won’t tell anyone, ever. But you totally giggle and text me when you run into him at the grocery store. And because secrets go both ways, you tell me about the wicked fight you had with your husband last night and about the passive-aggressive comments your mother-in-law makes.
You give me advice when I ask for it. You don’t gloss over the tough stuff. You give it to me like you see it. You don’t tell me it is going to be okay if that isn’t what you think. You have no problem trying to get me to see it from a different point of view because you care about me that much.
You are you, just you, your whole raw, beautiful self. You don’t conform, because you realize you are fucking amazing and living a life that is true. And in doing so, you help me be authentically me so that we both can be the moms — and women — we want to be.