While you are in the midst of the soul-sucking, bleary-eyed, butt-wiping, tantrum-giving, heart-bursting stages of raising children, having at least one girlfriend you can count on for anything is imperative. Sharing your disappointments, achievements, fears, worries and goals with someone who is in the thick of it right alongside you can be one of the biggest blessings. That blessing is even greater when you realize you have stumbled upon your “octopus friend.”
In the strangest possible twist of events, I was lucky enough to create an unbreakable bond with my octopus friend, Stacie, very early on in motherhood and I know for a fact my life would not be the same without her in it. We have created a friendship bond like none other and have experienced so much with one another.
Here are the defining traits of an “octopus friend,” and why you need to find yours now:
1. She just gets it and will never judge.
And when I say “it,” I mean EVERYTHING. You have had a horrible day. Starting first thing with the lady at the coffee shop giving you the wrong order on the way to work. And ending with you crying on your patio because you know if you go in the house you’re going to spew a slew of hateful words at your stubborn preteen.
Your octopus is not going to roll her eyes and tell you, “it’s just coffee” or “your daughter is basically just a mini-you” (both of which would be true). She’s going to tell you to sob it on out. Ugly cry your heart out over not getting your caramel iced correctly. She’ll offer to talk to your daughter and de-escalate the situation before you totally lose your cool. And while she is saying all the right things and giving you your moment, she knows in the back of her head, you would do the same for her.
2. She won’t leave you in a funk.
Yes, your octopus will let you simmer in self-absorbed sympathy over the day-to-day tribulations, but she will not let you sink into self-deprecating depths of wallow, especially about the stuff that really matters. Stressed out about your love life, finances, work, children? Your octopus will know just what to say to help you rise above. She will constantly remind you of how badass you are, how far you’ve come and that this let down is just another valley to trek through together.
3. She’s going to be real with you.
From the smallest to the biggest aspects of life, she will tell you the truth. When your new shirt from Forever 21 turns out not to be as flattering as it looked in the dressing room, she’ll be the first to tell you to go return it. If she gets a bad vibe about a new friend or love interest, she will not hesitate to speak her mind and tell you to keep your guard up. And although her bluntness may sting the first few times, you’ll soon learn she’s the one person always looking out for your best interests and not afraid to tell you the truth.
4. She is the first one you call.
Your daughter gets the lead in her musical or got bumped up to playing goalie on her lacrosse team – your octopus is the first person you share the news with. And sure enough when you call her, she shares the same excitement as if it were her own kid’s success. She is also the first on speed dial for the bad stuff. Got in a blowout fight with a co-worker, or are having one of those days where you are feeling like an inadequate mother? Your octopus shares those emotions too, because she has been there and hurts alongside you and is able to give you not only a listening ear, but advice when wanted.
5. You gladly allow her to punish your children when needed — and trust her judgment.
If any other friend of yours raised their voice to your child while you were standing right there, you would feel as if they had crossed a line. With your octopus friend, there is no line to cross. Whereas with another friend you would have wanted them to respect your need to address the situation first, with your octopus you have full trust in their judgment and will gladly let them talk some sense into your child’s hard head because you know they are doing it out of love. An added bonus: your children respect their authority and many times will give you an apology without you having to ask for it.
6. You always make time for each other.
In the chaos of raising children, maintaining a household, and working jobs, you somehow cut out time for one another. You set aside phone date nights where you lose yourselves in conversation for hours. You carve out days in your hectic schedules to get together for play dates, and you are there celebrating the big events too — birthdays, tournaments, and concerts. You show up.
7. You understand when you’re busy.
And sometimes your octopus won’t be able to show up. Sometimes life will get so busy, you’ll realize that although you text, tag memes, and send silly snaps to each other daily, you haven’t seen each other in weeks. But you get it. You never question your octopus’s absence because you know how life gets. And although they aren’t physically around, your octopus is a common presence, mentioned often in conversation with your children and pictures hung around the home.
I have come to believe that an octopus friend is much like a soul mate. Everyone has one somewhere out there in the world; you just have to find them. I hope everyone finds their “Stacie” to share this wild journey of motherhood with. So keep your eyes and heart open and spread out those tentacles. Your octopus friend could be the woman standing next to you in line, the new neighbor across the street, or even the girl you once thought you hated.