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5 Friends Every Mom Needs

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By Charlotte Latvala

 The First 12 Months

1.) The Role Model

This is the absolute first mom friend you need – a buddy with some mothering miles under her belt.  Her kids are a few years older than yours, so she’s the go-to person for questions about teething, getting rid of the pacifier, or finding a reliable sitter.  My sister-in-law Janet turned out to be my mommy mentor.  A full five years older than me, she was already the mother of three by the time I had my first baby.  I looked to her for guidance and reassurance — and thankfully, she found no question too idiotic:  Will the wird infant acne go away on its own?  What exactly should an umbilical stump look like?  does a baby have to wear a T-shirt under every outfit?  I knew I could call her at 2 a.m. with a screaming infant on my shoulder — and she would calm me down and promise me that motherhood would get better.

2.)  The Twin

You might meet this pal in Lamaze class, or in the park with your newborns tucked into strollers, when you commiserate over sleepless nights and sore nipples. Your babies are nearly the same age, so she totally gets what you’re going through.  Even better, you share identical parenting philosophies: you’d never let your baby cry it out at night, and you’re completely against spanking.  Meeting her is like meeting that first best friend on the third-grade playground — you click instantly because you have everything in common.  My coworker Debbie and I were pregnant at the same time, and our first children, both girls, were born just a few months apart.  We became inseparable as our daughters reached milestones together — we would discuss weaning, separation anxiety, or poop color for hours.  I’ll never forget the excited phone calls we exchanged (“She peed in the potty two times today!”) when our daughters were toilet training, conversations that probably would have made anyone else roll their eyes or cringe.

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 The Toddler Years

3.) The Spur-of-the-moment Coffee Buddy

I met my friend Susan when my daughter was 18 months old: her toddler was a few months younger.  Initially, I thought we were just too different to be good friends — not only was she much more outgoing than I am, she was about 10 years younger.  But despite our differences, we clicked.  We brought out something funny and spontaneous in each other, and she turned out to be a lifesaver during those long winter “I-need-to-talk-to-another-adult-or-I’ll-go-insane” afternoons of toddlerhood.

She was always up for meeting at Starbucks at a moment’s notice or dragging the kids to the children’s museum or playground.  All in all, she brought a bright ray of sunshine to the occasional doldrums of motherhood.  I know it was perfectly okay to drop by her house unannounced: if she was busy, she would tell me.  If she was up for an outing, she would grab her diaper bag and go.

4.) The Rule Breaker

As we become more experienced parents (and sometimes a bit smug in our all-knowingness), we need a mom friend who will confide some wacky, borderline-shocking thing she did with her child ( let him eat cookies for breakfast, pee in the bushes, play with — gasp! — toy guns).  Not only do we gain a sense of perspective from her, we gradually realize that parenting doesn’t always have to be done exactly by the book, that a few blips off the chart here and there probably won’t cause lasting damage to our children.

When I first met Lisa, her seeming inattention to what I thought were ironclad rules amazed me.  She cavalierly bottlefed her baby, even microwaved the bottles!  I was such a nursing devotee — okay, snob — that I found it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t at least try breastfeeding, much less not feel guilty about not doing it.  Not only that but she let her children stay up watching SpongeBob reruns till the ungodly hour of 10 p.m. ( actually, they didn’t have a bedtime: they just sort of crashed when they were tired).  And she sometimes even let the older ones drink Coke.

But guess what?  Her three kids were the best-behaved, happiest, healthiest children I have ever encountered — and that includes children from families that got them to bed by 7:30 every night and never let a nonorganic morsel pass their lips.  My friendship with Lisa broadened my horizons and let me see firsthand that things aren’t always black and white in Mommy Land.

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Friends After the Toddler Years

5.) The Best Friend’s Mom

As I tick through my list of friends — It’s apparent that my current social circle is largely made up of women I’ve met through my children; as the kids became buddies, so did the moms.  At first, these women were special simply because they had a connection to my children, but I’ve come to rely on them more and more.  Their homes are safe havens for my kids, their willingness to carpool a godsend, and their knowledge of the local school system priceless.  When one of us has to work late or get a child to a soccer game on the other side of the city, we know we can count on a fellow mom to pitch in and help.

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Why You Need at Least One Childless Friend

Of course you love your mom buddies, but it’s still a good idea to hand onto the pals you had before kids or to make some new ones whose lives don’t revolve around the playground and naptime.  Here’s why:

  • Childless pals link you to your former life.  They bring out interests and passions that may have been dormant for a while; you get so used to thinking of yourself as a mom, you forget that you are also and artist, book lover, and runner.
  • You need a break from 24-7 kid thinking.  It’s easy to get so caught up in your baby’s world that you don’t take time for anything else.
  • They offer perspective.  listening to your friend discuss the trails and tribulations of the dating scene ( the grass isn’t always greener) may make you appreciate your life a bit more.
  • They admire your baby without giving advice.  Childless friends tent to lavish attention on your little one without feeling the need to offer theories on sleep or feeding.  Plus, it’s just plain fun to watch them enjoy each other.
 

 Do you know which friend you are?

I’m a lot like the Rule Breaker.

This is an article I came across a long time ago from American Baby magazine ( June of 2007 By Charlotte Latvala)  and just loved.  I thought I would share it with you today.

Jeanna

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