This post also appeared on MyBigJesus.com so check it out there, too!
I have a theory about moms and their social lives. It’s that most moms have five groups of people in their social networks. I’ll describe them a bit for you:
1. Friends from before you had kids. Notice I didn’t bother to separate these into high school friends, college friends, work friends, etc. They’re all lumped together now in a group of “they’ve known me as a woman before she was a mom”.
2. Friends you made because you were pregnant at the same time. Perhaps you met these friends at your birthing classes. Possibly, you had the same doctor and ran into each other a lot. Maybe you’re like me, and you met them at prenatal yoga. Or just maybe, you just looked at each other, in the middle of Babies R Us, that registering “gun” in your hand, staring at the wall full of seemingly identical sippy cups, and just laughed together.
3. Friends you made because they also have kids. These are the friends that you were acquainted with, but you’d never really gotten to know before, until you realized your kids were similar ages, and wow! you live in the same neighborhood! Neighborhood park play date, anyone? (Note: They might also be the ones that you keep calling and asking your random “Is this normal?” type questions. And that’s okay, too.)
4. Friends you made because your kids are friends with theirs. Since my kids are young, I haven’t delved too far into this one yet myself, but these are friend you’ve made simply because your kids request to hang out with their kids. Lots of times, that means you and that other mom are gonna get a lot of quality time together, so I hope for your sake she’s cool.
5. Friends that belong in more than one of these groups. These are usually the favorites. Your best friend from college got pregnant at the same time as you. Your community group at church has a couple of moms with kids that are similarly aged. Your kids have had so many play dates with your prenatal yoga friends’ kids that they’re basically best friends now, too.
This fifth group is the one that I say “does life together”. Not that you can’t do life with someone in a different stage of life than you… you absolutely can. But isn’t it easier to relate to someone else who also has a toddler and a newborn, who can relate to the sleep-deprived craziness? Isn’t it more comforting to call a fellow mom to pray for you about your child having night terrors? It just makes more sense to ask another mom advice about getting your four-month-old to sleep through the night.
This group, network, tribe… these are the prayer warriors, the comforters, the make-you-feel-better-ers, and the caretakers on standby. These are the ones who will have coffee with you after preschool drop off in their pjs. They’re the ones who will immediately answer your message at 4:00am, because they’re also up nursing a baby. They’re the ones who will tell you it’s okay to cry over spilled milk sometimes, and your potty-training problems will be over before you know it, who will let you drop off your toddler for an hour while you go to the dentist, and who will remind you that those little mess-making devils are the ones you love, even on their messiest, most devious days – yes, even after you’ve stepped on the twenty-seventh Lego.