I recently ended a friendship that was very dear to my heart. Ending a friendship is hard, and it’s even harder when it’s a friend you made post-motherhood, and your families are intertwined.
It actually rocked me to my core because I trusted her with my most precious possessions — my children. She was the first “good friend” that I made post motherhood, and we shared things I haven’t shared with anyone else because we were literally in the trenches together raising our kids, and if you’ve been there, you know the sacred bond that creates.
In recovering and reflecting on the demise of our friendship, it dawned on me that I might have been a bit too relaxed about choosing friends once I became a mom. The truth is, I felt alone in motherhood and would gravitate toward anyone who I felt I had a connection to, without actually stepping back and asking myself, “Is this is a person I want in my life, or more importantly, my children’s lives?”
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I was naive enough to think that the bond of motherhood was enough to sustain a friendship when in fact there’s just so much more to take into consideration. I can’t just be your friend because you are a mom, and drink wine, and your child goes the same preschool as mine. I need more, expect more, and deserve more.
Are you honest?
This is huge for me. I will not tolerate lying, in any way, shape, or form. To be clear, you by no means owe me any explanation for your life choices or an in-depth description of things going on in your life, but if you do share intimate parts of your life with me, please let them be true or just say nothing at all. I want to know you, not the fabricated version you’ve created so that I would like you. I’m a truth-teller, remember? I absolutely cannot stand being lied to.
This also goes for being honest with me when something is bothering you. I’m 37 and don’t have time to read between the lines if you are upset with me. Please shoot straight with me — I can handle it. I deserve a chance to be accountable and apologize, or set you straight if you are confused about something I did. Being honest about your feelings is part of being an adult.
Will you hold me accountable and be receptive when I hold you accountable?
None of us are perfect, and sometimes we need a swift kick in the ass. That’s what friends are for, right? It’s easy to be friends for weddings, engagements, and baby showers, but it’s another thing to be friends through a death in the family, divorce, alcoholism, and mental illness. I need to know that you will pull me out of my delusional thoughts when I can’t see my hand in front of my face, and I will do the same for you. I need us to hold each other accountable. That’s what friendship is — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Are you real?
I give no bullshit, and I expect the same from a friend. You will most likely hear about my deep dark secrets on our first playdate because I want to know early if you can handle the real, authentic me. I’m an absolute open book about my life, which is a gift and a curse. I also come with quite a bit of baggage and am very vocal about my past. I don’t come from a perfect family, I don’t have a perfect marriage, and my children aren’t perfect. I tend to have quite a few day-to-day struggles because I am someone who feels things very immensely and is passionate about all things in my life. If you are someone who likes superficial friendships and easy subject matter, then this friendship isn’t for me — or you.
Do we a similar outlook on parenting?
As much as I profess that I am more than just a mom, being a mom is the biggest focus in my life right now, and I need to know if we are on the same page. Do we value the same things as parents, and do our parenting styles compliment each other? I know this sounds dumb, because who want friends who are just like them — how incredibly boring — but there are a few things that I need to know.
Do you make sure your kids are kind human beings, or do you make excuses for their bad behavior and continue to enable them? This is huge for me. If a mom is continuously watching their kid steal toys and bully another kid and just sitting by sipping their wine, I’m out. If you are also okay with leaving your kids unattended in potentially dangerous situations, I’m not cool with that either. I don’t need you to be a helicopter parent 24/7, but I do need you to be a parent to your children, not a friend. I absolutely cannot budge on safety.
Are you a good person?
Do you let people cut in front of you in traffic (on a good day), or do you speed up and give them the middle finger? Do you do random acts of kindness, like helping an elderly person to her car with her groceries, or do you turn your head away from people in need? I have to let you know that I am a total humanitarian and will do anything to help a person in need. If this inconveniences you, I’m not sure we will get along.
I’m also an animal rights activist. There was a time that I had seven feral cats living in my guest room. Yes, you read that correctly: seven. I worked day and night to domesticate them so they wouldn’t be euthanized. Some people thought I was crazy and that it was disgusting having that many cats in my house. But some people though I was doing something amazing. The people who understand my purpose are my people. I do a lot of things that are very outside the norm, but they are for the betterment of this world. I need to know that you get that.
Do you like to tear other women down?
If you want to talk about which mom needs to lose weight or who got a botched plastic surgery job, I’m not your girl. Now, if you want to talk about the newly single hot dad who was wearing tight jeans at the bake sale, I’m all in. Fun gossip is okay, but malicious conversations about physical appearance don’t fly with me. My kids watch everything I do, and I’m working very hard to not raise assholes. We do not use certain words in my household like “fat,” “ugly,” or “hate.” I need to know you are on the same page.
Don’t sugarcoat shit?
If you’re busy, be honest. If you don’t want to go to the book club that I am hosting, spit that shit out. I’m not a mind reader, nor do I have the time or energy to try to be one. Trust me, I’m too old to get upset if you can’t hang out. I have two people pulling on me all day, so I’m A-OK if you ditch me and I’m stuck alone for the night. No hard feelings. In fact, I will probably be relieved and excited that I don’t have to interact with people in the outside world.
If this is too much, I understand. But I’ve been down this road, and I just don’t want any gray area. I want you to know what you are getting into and what to expect. I promise that if you are on board with all of the above, you will have a loyal, ride, or die friend, for life.
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