mom code

Welcome To Motherhood, Here Are The Mom Group Rules

Like bro code, but even more essential.

welcome to motherhood, here are the mom group rules
Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

I’ve been blessed with a stellar group of mom friends. They’re my fellow buddies in the trenches who are laughing (and sometimes crying) right along with me at the sheer absurdity of motherhood. We celebrate the milestones and mourn the tough stuff together. We are here to lift each other up and offer consummate support and encouragement.

But like so many other situations in life, this group works because we have rules. Sure, they’re unspoken, but they’re absolutely there, and it keeps everything from running off the rails. There are just too many raw nerves and controversial topics in parenting that can blow up a perfectly good group of girlfriends. These are our “mom mantras'' — our mom code — that we all adhere to. Maybe they’ll work for your mom squad as well.

1. I will never judge your house. Please don’t feel the need to apologize for the state of your home. You have children. There will be crumbs on the floor, laundry, or even (gasp!) a school project sitting out. In fact, if your house looks like a spotless model home every time I come over, I might start to wonder. So, let’s skip the whole I’m sorry the house is such a mess faux apology routine. Kapeesh?

2. If my kid is acting like a jerk and I'm not there, please correct them. If my kid rudely calls you Bruh or makes a mess and doesn’t clean up after himself when I’m not around, feel free to regulate on him.

3. I will wear athleisure to our playdate later (even though we both know I didn't work out today). Sending me a text that says, “Our playdate is casual'' is like saying, “I will be breathing at our playdate today.” Don’t worry about stating the obvious. Duh, no one intends to show up to the park in cocktail attire with full hair and makeup. And also, please don’t show up to the park in a cocktail dress and full hair and makeup.

4. I will not give your kid a gift that has the potential to ruin your carpet and/or your life. “I just looooove spending my plethora of free time scrubbing dried slime out of the carpet,” said no mom ever. There’s no faster way to simultaneously ruin your rug and your sanity than futilely trying to vacuum up embedded bits of glitter or sand. Please pardon me for being a *tad* dramatic, but slime, Silly Putty, anything with glitter and goo are a stain on the soul of humanity. So, please don’t inflict these on your friends. While I am on this soapbox, live pets (I’m looking at you, goldfish) are also a hard no. So, in summary, anything with a heartbeat or that will require hours of cleanup is off-limits. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

5. We cover for each other in front of our kids. Why yes, the trampoline park is closing early today. And these cookies are super spicy. *shoves said cookie in my mouth.*

6. I will not poach your babysitter. Stealing someone’s babysitter is, in fact, worse than — or at the very least, equally offensive as — stealing someone’s husband. I get that I don’t “own” this sitter, but finding someone you trust who your kids are also comfortable with is akin to winning the lottery, so please don’t hijack my jackpot. I don’t mind if you “borrow” my sitter once or twice in a pinch, but using them regularly leaving me in a lurch is a big no-no (and might even get you kicked out of the group chat lickety-split). It ain’t cool. Just don’t do it.

7. I’m allowed to vent my frustrations about my kid without being judged. All kids grate on our nerves every now and then, and it helps immensely to lament that frustration to other parents who can relate. Of course, I deeply love my kid, even if I am grumbling about them. Also, please don’t mistake my complaining for being ungrateful. We should be allowed to air our grievances with our nearest and dearest (or on the internet) without fear of judgment. Keeping up pretenses that your child is perfect or suffering in silence benefits no one, so let’s all band together and be honest and open about the frustrations of raising kids.

8. Of course, you are welcome to my diapers/wipes/extra snacks. Sharing is caring. Mi casa es su casa and mi diaper bag es su diaper bag. I was once in a Chick-fil-A, and I desperately needed a diaper, so I nervously approached this table of moms I didn’t know. Before I could even finish my sentence, three of them were already holding out diapers for me. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

9. I will respect your differing opinions on parenting choices. There is a vast array of ideologies, tactics, and methods when it comes to parenting. Even though we may not necessarily agree, I understand that we are all doing what we think is best for our kids. Certain things work well for your family, but not mine, and vice versa. I'll respect your choices and consider your viewpoints, even when they differ widely from my own.

10. I will keep my trap shut about your, ahem, unconventional baby name. Do you ever hear a baby name and think to yourself, you had all the names in the world at your disposal, and THIS is what you came up with? There’s a fine line between a unique baby name and a ridiculous baby name, and that line is Phelony, Kolonoscopy, or Shower Drain (pronounced James, naturally). But even though those might not have been my first choice for names, I will not offer you my unsolicited opinion. P.S. If your kid’s name is Kolonoscopy, I think it’s a lovely name, and I’m just mad I didn’t think of it first. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

11. When I offer you help, take it (and don’t feel guilty about it). I wouldn’t have offered to help if I didn’t genuinely want to give it, and I’m not just being polite. I know there will come a point when I’m in a time of need, and you will step in and do the same for me. It takes a village, and I’m damn proud to be a contributing member of that village, which involves both giving and taking.

12. I mean it when I say you look great after having a baby. You just birthed a human, and your body reflects that. You look fantastic, and I mean it sincerely.

13. We will always stick together (even if our kids are no longer friends). I know friendships are fickle when it comes to kids and teens. One minute they’re besties; the next, not so much. Many times, nothing went wrong. Sometimes it’s as simple as they had different teachers or one of them quit the baseball team. But that doesn’t mean that our bond ceases to exist. We are ride or die. We moms gotta stick together.

Christina Crawford is a Dallas-based writer, guacamole enthusiast, and mom to three feral little boys. She spends her days putting out fires (actual and metaphorical) and trying to keep goldfish alive. Her words have appeared in Newsweek, HuffPost, Health Magazine, Parents, Scary Mommy, Today Show Parents, and more. You can follow along on Twitter, where she writes (questionably) funny anecdotes about her life at @Xtina_Crawford