Friendships can change once you become a mom. There are those childhood friends who go through motherhood with you, and there are those who float away like a piece of driftwood in the ocean. When your free time is limited and hanging out with friends doesn’t happen as often as it used to, you learn to adapt. Often, that means figuring out a way to add kids into the friendship if you want to see each other.
Long gone are the afternoons when you’d gather with fancy salads and large goblets of wine. We are in the season of Goldfish crackers and cheese sticks as a way to buy some time so we can grab a few more minutes gabbing on the bench at the playground.
We also get a little choosier about who we’re friends with. So when it comes to mom friends, we’ve got some prerequisites.
1. You discipline my children because you care, not because it makes you feel better about your own kids.
Yes, you might need to discipline my kids if I have to step away to the bathroom, run after the ball my son kicked into the neighbors yard, or if you’ve offered to watch them so I can dash to the store to get toilet paper. I don’t mind if you discipline my kids, and you feel the same about me. But what we don’t do is point our judgy fingers over something small because we are so glad it’s not our child fucking up. We let each other in on the big problems or issues as the come up, then we take care of it and move on.
2. You don’t judge me for serving frozen lasagna.
You can make all your meals from scratch (and drop some off to me if you wish), but you know I have no problem throwing down frozen meals for my kids. And if your kids are over for dinner, you are cool with me serving them something from a box or a can. I’ll totally serve a salad though, too. Promise. I just won’t force them to eat it.
3. You don’t judge me for not signing my kid up for activities throughout the year.
I mean, you can do that for your kids and I’ll totally support you, but you don’t drop hints about how I’m not pushing my kids hard enough because I don’t. You accept the fact I have very average kids who aren’t the stars of organized sports or anything else except their own life, and we are all cool with that.
4. If I’ve hurt you, you tell me.
If I’ve done something to upset you, make you feel left out or judged, you tell me. I want my friends to know I have their back, and if that isn’t coming across to you that way, I want to make it right.
5. You don’t make comments about what I eat.
Some days I’m healthy and some days I eat cheese that squirts out of a can. We both agree frosting and Moscato count as a meal and dessert. But when I try to be healthy, you don’t comment on that either. Whether I’m eating a salad with grilled chicken and no dressing, or a bag of pepperoni, you understand that different days call for different things. We are comfortable enough to say, “Well, even if you don’t want dessert, I’m getting something,” without pressuring the other to do the same.
6. You have a dirty mind.
You don’t care if I bust out laughing because something resembles a penis. I can say, “For the love of tits,” around you and you get it. You make me a dirtier — but better — version of myself and I do the same for you.
7. We can both admit when our kids are being assholes.
Because they all are. My kids are not better than yours; your kids are not better than mine. They all make mistakes and act like assholes. They all want to climb up the slide, slap each other once in a while, and they all have trouble sharing at times. Shit happens, and sometimes kids suck.
8. You swear like a motherfucker.
Or at least, you don’t care if I utter profanities to my heart’s content. I’m 42 — I literally cannot change at this point.
9. You are comfortable with me.
You can bring me your good, bad, and your ugly without feeling like you need to hide a damn thing or paint a rosy picture, or stay away when you are depressed or anxious. You tell me how you are feeling and know I’ll understand if you need to cancel plans or cry on my sofa for 5 nights in a row.
10. You don’t care what state I’m in, where my house is, or if my kids are wearing clothes that fit them.
You embrace my home if it’s a mess but don’t shame me if it’s clean. You couldn’t care less if I show up for lunch wearing heels or sweatpants, and you don’t comment that my son needs new pants, a haircut, or socks that match. The reality is, I can’t look nice and have my kids look nice too; I have to choose.
Mom friends are what keep us going some days. It’s okay to choose wisely and surround your self with a few, lots, or just one person who gets you.