I am in awe, and, I’ll admit, a little jealous of my three-year-old daughter’s ability to make friends. Everywhere we go, she sees other children and says – “Look Mommy! Friends!” We will be at the pool less than 15 minutes, and she’s engrossed in an intense game of princess make-believe with another little girl that she’s never laid eyes on before. Meanwhile, I sit awkwardly on the side of the pool trying to muster up the courage to introduce myself to the girl’s mother, wondering if we could also be friends.
Making and maintaining adult friendships is a huge challenge, although I believe it is one that is absolutely worth the initial awkwardness. Motherhood can be so isolating, and we need other women who will support us and to whom we can offer support as well.
These ten friends aren’t going to necessarily be ten different people because, let’s be honest, making three or four good friends is hard enough. So thankfully, one woman can potentially fill the roles of several of these types of friends. But nonetheless, here are ten friends that every mom needs…
1} The Same Stage of Life Friend
You have children about the same age. She can relate in real-time to the challenges of sleepless newborn nights and breastfeeding, toddler tantrums and potty training, or homework woes and screen time limits for older children. You get together regularly with your kids, and in between diaper changes and kissing boo-boos, you laugh, roll your eyes, and sometimes cry about the beautiful chaos that is motherhood. Many days, this girl is your life line – she helps you remember you aren’t alone.
Where you met :: At Gymboree class when your babies were 6 months old.
Favorite meeting spot :: Chick Fil A, table in the back by the play place.
What you wear :: Yoga pants and a messy bun. Spit up stain on your shirt optional.
How you communicate :: Text messages with lots of sleepy face and poop emojis.
2} The Past Life Friend
It’s so easy to feel like motherhood is all-consuming, and that you have lost your true self while meeting everyone else’s needs over your own. This friend reminds you that you once were and still are a lot more than only Mommy.
Where you met :: Freshman orientation.
Favorite meeting spot :: The out-of-town wedding of your college suitemate, sans kids.
What you wear :: A little black dress, just one or two sizes bigger than the one you wore in college.
How you communicate :: With #tbt and TimeHop app pictures of that amazing ski trip you took in 2005.
3} The One or Two Stages Ahead Friend
She’s well past the typical “Mommy Wars” insanity and couldn’t give two hoots whether you breastfeed or formula feed your baby. Her kids are older, and bless her heart, while you are trying to get your three-year-old to poop on the potty, she’s navigating the world of SnapChat and college admissions. Yeah, you kind of roll your eyes at her constant advice to “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast,” but at the same time, you know she’s right. You will be her in the blink of an eye. You pay attention to how she parents and treasure her wisdom.
Where you met :: Church. She volunteered to hold your baby, and you thanked God for her right on the spot.
Favorite meeting spot :: Starbucks, while your toddler is at preschool and her teenagers are at high school. And you bring your infant along because you know she will hold him the whole time.
What you wear :: Doesn’t matter. She doesn’t care.
How you communicate :: Phone calls, and in-person, deep conversations.
4} The Childless Friend
She loves your kids, gushes over their adorableness, and will “Like” every picture you post of them on Instagram. However, when you get together, she is way more interested in discussing your latest book club selection or the current political craziness than she is in hearing your angst over your decision to redshirt your kindergartener.
Where you met :: Work.
Favorite meeting spot :: That trendy new wine bar that you’ve never heard of, and you cringe as the 20-year-old hipster valet takes the keys to your trashed out minivan.
What you wear :: Your pre-pregnancy jeans that you can barely squeeze into, and a tunic you kept from your latest Stitch Fix box.
How you communicate :: Text messages that she sent at 11:00 pm when she comes in for the night, and that you received and responded to at 2:00 am when the baby wakes you up.
5} The Related-to-You Friend
A good friend can be as close as a sister, and sometimes, she quite literally is a sister. Or sister-in-law. Or cousin. Family dynamics are tough, and it’s good to have an ally to laugh with and vent about crazy you-know-who.
Where you met :: She married your brother.
Favorite meeting spot :: Your mother’s house. Grandma can entertain the cousins while you two sip margaritas by the pool.
How you communicate :: With eye rolls across the dinner table.
What you wear :: Her clothes. You’ll return them to her next week at the family birthday party.
6} The Double Date Friend
Finding couple friends is hard, ya’ll. The chances of finding four people, half of whom are usually the opposite sex, who actually get along without cringe-worthy, awkward conversation, is the magical unicorn of married social life. So when you find a friend who you like, your husband likes, and you both like her husband, hire a babysitter, grab a bottle of wine, and dash out the door before your preschooler can protest your leaving.
Where you met :: At your husband’s company Christmas party.
Favorite meeting spot :: That cozy Italian BYOB restaurant that welcomes that bottle of wine, but frowns upon bringing in children.
What you wear :: The sassy little dress you splurged on earlier in the day.
How you communicate :: Facebook Messenger.
7} The Nothing Like You Friend
Variety is the spice of life, and this friend both makes life interesting and challenges your perspectives on the world. Maybe she’s super crunchy while you wonder why in the world anyone would want to birth her baby at home. Maybe her skin is a different color than yours, or she’s a different sexual orientation, or religion. Maybe her political views are, in your opinion, a little out-there. She reminds you that a stereotype is not a person, and you do the same for her. There are issues where you agree to disagree, but your friendship is stronger than your differences.
Where you met :: Online. You commented on each other’s blogs for years before meeting in person.
Favorite meeting spot :: The writing workshop you signed up for together.
What you wear :: Jeans and a graphic tee.
How you communicate :: Mostly online. You do a lot of observing and listening, trying hard to understand and learn from her.
8} The Tell It Like It Is Friend
We all need that person in our lives who is going to give it to us straight. She loves you enough to tell you when you are wrong and need to apologize to your husband, even though all you wanted to do was vent about last night’s fight. She’s also the one you text from the dressing room at Target, needing an honest opinion about that swimsuit you want to buy, even though all you went in for were diapers. Her yes is a yes and her no is a no. Hold on to this one.
Where you met :: College English class.
Favorite meeting spot :: Her house. Your kids play upstairs while you all sit on her couch and solve the world’s problems.
What you wear :: Waterproof mascara. Conversations with her go deep and sometimes trigger emotional responses.
How you communicate :: Long, in person conversations.
9} The Up For Anything Friend
When you need a girls’ night out or weekend away, this is who you call. She’s always up for fun and adventure, whether that means sneaking away for a few hours for coffee and conversation or road-tripping on a Tuesday night to meet your favorite blogger. “Sure! Sounds fun!” is her default response to any of your ideas. After time spent with this friend, you feel energized and vow to do fun, spontaneous things more often.
Where you met :: At the surprise birthday party for your cousin that she coordinated.
Favorite meeting spot :: Doesn’t matter. You’ll have fun regardless.
What you wear :: Something comfortable, but cute. You never know what you are going to end up doing.
How you communicate :: Last minute text messages and phone calls.
10} The Soul Mate Friend
You’ve known this friend forever, or at least it seems that way. You were maid and matron of honor in each other’s weddings. She was the first person you told you were pregnant, and the first non- family member to hold your baby. You have endless memories and inside jokes, and she’s seen you at your best and at your rock-bottom. She’s many of the other Friends on this list in one, and she knows you better than you know yourself. She’s your biggest fan and the first one you call when you have news to share or just need to talk.
Where you met :: Freshman year in high school.
Favorite meeting spot :: Anywhere with good chips and queso, margaritas, and endless Diet Cokes.
What you wear :: Whatever’s clean. You feel no insecurity or need to impress this friend.
How you communicate :: With an average of 18 texts/day when you can’t meet in person.
Finding and keeping a tribe of girlfriends can make life richer and more fun. A good friend is one of the biggest blessings to a busy, frazzled mom. Although making friends isn’t as easy as when we were three, making time to cultivate relationships is absolutely worth the effort.