For as long as I can remember, I have chosen quality over quantity when it comes to friends. I categorized people as “acquaintance” with much greater frequency than “friend.” I could be an acquaintance with most anyone, but a friend was a rare treasure.
As a mom — especially as a stay-at-home mom — of three young children, I have learned the value of mom friends. Not only are they your kid activities advisors, your mystery rash gurus, your go-to for recommendations from gynos to plumbers, and your how-do-I-survive-this-stage parenting counselors, but they’re your sanity savers.
On the days when you think your kids are plotting a coup, on the mornings you are tempted to shove your husband’s yet-again haphazardly flung jacket down the garbage disposal, on the nights when you’re drowning in a tsunami of mom guilt, on the afternoons when you found yet another dehydrated kid poop in the dryer and you just have to laugh-vent to someone who will double over in giggles instead of vomit in her own mouth, you turn to your mom friends. Because, as much as you love your kid-free friends, there are some things only fellow moms really understand.
So, what do I look for in mom friends? These are my basic top 5 must-have qualities:
1) Non-asshole. I mean, sometimes we’re all assholes, that’s just reality. I’m talking general life approach here though. I look for someone who doesn’t litter, doesn’t intentionally park or drive like a self-centered jackass, doesn’t treat waitstaff or nail technicians like peasants, isn’t homophobic/xenophobic/racist… you know, someone who acts like a decent human. Someone I would be happy to have around my kids.
2) Trustworthy. If someone gossips to me about someone we both know, I could only expect that person to gossip about me to someone else. I understand venting — that’s reasonable, and as much as I’d like to think everyone is completely happy with me at all times, I know that’s absolutely not the case — but intentionally bashing, demeaning, or spreading rumors is inexcusable. We’re not just adults but MOMS for goodness sakes. I don’t need or want the negativity and duplicity of gossip in my life. Some people enjoy it; I don’t. I need to trust my friends.
3) Genuine. Just as I trust my friends to act like decent humans who won’t gossip about or to me, I need to trust that they are who they say they are. No facades, no weak egos hiding behind bravado, no lying by intention or omission, no befriending me as a means to an end, no competitive drama, no judging. Cop to your bad days, your flaws, your struggles. Life is beautiful but it isn’t perfect and sunny all the time, so own that. Just be you… the real you.
4) Amiable. The ability to laugh at life and yourself is huge! Sure, sometimes things go wrong and we cry, but choosing to laugh more often than mourn is awesome. Because, why not laugh? Laughing is more fun than crying anyway, right? The heartier the laugh, the more I like you. ‘Cause what’s the point of a good belly laugh if you’re stifling it into a demure giggle? Let it out and laugh proud. I’ll snort and cackle right along with you.
5) Inspirational. I admire something about all of my friends. Whether it’s pursuing a dream, parenting a rugged crew with overflowing love, having a wicked sense of humor, overcoming life struggles without becoming bitter, being a beacon of zen tranquility, honing a talent, or being the most honest, true, and best version of herself possible, each of my mom friends has a facet that I honor. Surrounding myself with people who inspire me to do and be better, I am enriching my own life and those of my children.
I carefully select my true mom friends. My life is better and more fun because of them. We all deserve to choose friends who better us, who sync with our worldview, our values, and our lifestyle. I wish you the fortune and self-confidence to find a mom friend perfectly suited to you.
What do you look for in mom friends?