You need to designate your “vent buddy” ASAP
Sure, being a parent is pretty much the best thing in the world, but it is also incredibly hard. In between the heartwarming moments, laughter and joy, the process of keeping little humans alive over a period of decades is brutal, exhausting, selfless, and often unappreciated work. It can also be a lonely road — and ultimately have a negative impact on our mental health — which is why having a like-minded mom friend who can totally feel your highs and lows makes it all the much better. Well, someone has finally coined a term to describe said friend, and we can get on board with it.
According to Smartparenting, a “vent buddy” is that person you can bitch to about everything and anything parenting related, no matter how monumental or menial. Not only is this person good for your own sanity, but your child’s brain development as well – and science backs it up.
One 2009 study found that releasing stress by talking about it is a common coping mechanism, and that it can ultimately lower that stress. However, get this: If the person you are venting to doesn’t have empathy (um, perhaps like your significant other) it can add to your stress. So when you feel like you are going to explode, choose wisely before you let it all out.
They also point out that a vent buddy will keep you from feeling lonely. Sometimes we all want and need is someone to listen. The designated vent buddy totally serves this purpose.
It’s also nice to have someone to give advice — especially when we know they aren’t going to judge us. If you choose a vent buddy carefully, you will always feel like this person has your best interests at heart. You will probably be more likely to stay open-minded about any advice she has, or guidance about walking through difficult situations.
Do you struggle with empathy? Your vent buddy can help with that, too. By listening to and supporting your friends (because that’s part of the deal with vent buddies — it goes both ways) it will help put yourself in other people’s shoes. You can be there for her the way you want her to be there for you. By helping each other, you will each be reaping the benefits.
There is also a trickle down effect to having a vent buddy. They also point out that because your children will be surrounded by a meaningful and healthy friendship, they will probably be encouraged to seek similar relationships in their lives.
There is another totally unexpected benefit of having a vent buddy. If you have a baby, it might boost their early brain development. One study found that having a circle of friends results in a new mother being less stressed, and this is positively associated with child cognitive development.
If you don’t have an official vent buddy, find one ASAP. If you do, call them up and tell them how much you appreciate them. They are basically keeping you sane, after all.