Call it what you want to call it: your tribe, your clique, your posse, your kula, whatever you want. We all get by with a little help from our friends. Having a group of friends that knows you, loves you, challenges you and supports you is vital to our survival. Being a mom is HARD. It’s amazing too, but let’s be real, motherhood can be a struggle and it’s easier with friends in your corner.
The five types of mom friends you need in your life:
1. Old Friends
These are the friends that have known you for a good portion of your life. They knew you when you were just kids yourselves. You basically grew up in their kitchen and their mom acted as your bonus mom. You spent countless nights sleeping over their house. It’s the best kind of reunion when you get to see each other again, even if it doesn’t happen very often. It’s like no time has passed and you pick up right where you left off. They know you in a way that develops over the span of decades and that’s not easily replicable, so hold on tight to these friends.
2. Best Friends
This the friend that will always have your back. She will pick up your call any time of day or night. She’s there for you through thick and thin. She’s the first person you call when you have the chance to get a drink or lunch sans children. You call her when your threenager is driving you up the wall. As Mindy Lahiri (aka Mindy Kaling) said, “A best friend isn’t a person, it’s a tier.” You might have 2 or 3 or maybe even 4 women that are in this tier. They have your back, know what’s going on in your life, and text you from Trader Joe’s asking what you need to save you the trip. You should probably have a group text with them. Hold on to these people; keep them close and don’t take their unconditional support for granted.
3. Older Friends
This type of friend might be a few years older than you, she has children a few years older than yours and if you’re extra lucky, both are true. These women are invaluable because they have been down this road before you and are willing to share their experience with you. They’ve honed their wisdom to know what is worth battling over (please and thank you really are important phrases) and what you should just let go of (just buy your kid the light up shoes they’re begging for). Women with older children are happy to hold your fresh newborn, will give you the inside scoop on sports sign-ups, and will remind you that the days are long but the years are short. Be grateful for her perspective because hindsight is often 20/20.
4. School Friends
While you might only see these friends in at school events, do not underestimate the importance of these women. They will answer your panicked texts at 10 PM about what day is pajama day, which days are early-release, and help you carpool to sports practice. They will make school events more fun and you might even get more involved because volunteering is now an excuse to hang out with your friends. By building this tribe, you’ll learn more about the inner-workings at your kid’s school, which is always a good thing. Be sure to get their cell phone numbers–in order to avert a major meltdown, I once had to text my friend to figure out what the “letter of the day” was at preschool the next day. We did not show up empty-handed and there were no tears (mine or hers). Let me assure you, this is a very important type of friend to have.
5. New Friends
Even if you have all the other types of friends, be sure to stay open to the possibility of making new friends at any stage of your life. New friends can challenge our own status quo, encourage us to try something new, and force us to get outside our comfort zone from time to time. If you’re lucky enough to have a large social network, reach out and invite someone into your circle. It can take courage, but it’s worth it to make a connection. Kindness and inclusivity go a long way toward building a community. It’s up to us to be the example for our kids of what it means to be a good friend, so go ahead–smile, say hi and invite that mom into your tribe.