Friends – whether your oldest and dearest from way back when or the newly acquired mom friend from your son’s basketball team – are the single most important thing a mom can have to keep you sane. These are the people who will help you get though the day without losing your mind.
Today we will talk about mom friends. These are the people you became friends with out of necessity. Those other adults you saw at playgroup, preschool drop off, the bus stop or kids sporting event that you thought, “Hey, I want to have a grown up conversation and that person looks nice!” You start out with the basics. Where you live, how many kids, etc. Most people you will never get out of the small talk stage. But if you are lucky, which I am, you find an amazing squad of women who change your life for the better.
I made my first mom friend when my son was a year old. We had just moved to North Carolina and I put all my shyness aside and went off to a neighborhood playdate at a stranger’s house. Luckily for me, that person never met a stranger and is one of my nearest and dearest friends today. Our friendship has lasted through 11 years, 3 moves and 3 additional kids and we pick right back up where we left off each time we reconnect.
Next came the round of preschool moms. We broke up the monotony of afternoons with playdates, sports classes and lunches at LaRosa’s. We pretended the playdates were for the kids but they were really for us. More than once I heard a friend say to her daughter on the playground, “Go, play with your friends over there. This is MY friend time.” As are kids are older now we don’t get weekly playdates anymore but we make up for it with mom’s night out.
Neighbor friends are the best. They are the ones who provide emergency ingredients for dinner, a place send your kids when they annoy you, walking partners, holiday get togethers and driveway tailgates. I know every Halloween I will be sitting in my driveway passing out candy and drinking sangria and complaining about the ridiculous things our kids or husbands do.
Kids sporting events are so much better with a friend. Having someone to talk to passes the time while 800 kids chase a soccer ball or your kid is playing in the dirt in the outfield is essential. We share the joy when our kids play well and the agony when they miss a shot. We complain about having to play at ridiculous times and locations. They cheer as loudly for your kid as their own and having someone to share carpool duties with is a bonus.
No matter how these friends came into my life, they are my family now. We take care our each other’s kids like they were our own and they are there at a moment’s notice when we need a night out, a meal, a baby sitter, a long long walk or a shoulder to cry on. So next time you are out, take a look around. Strike up a conversation with a mom at drop off or on the bleachers next to you. You never know when that shared misery, I mean memory making will turn into a lifelong friendship.