When I was 17 I moved to a new school, it was about 4 times larger than the school I had attended my whole life and I went from knowing EVERYONE to knowing NO ONE in about .2 seconds. Walking into that high school was a hard thing to do, but I had decided it was fine and I honestly didn't care about any of it.
I don't know really why I felt that way but I was just fine with everything- maybe it was the amazing summer I spent really becoming best friends with my sister- she liked me and that was great. Or the stuff I had started doing; working out and running for FUN, cooking and meal planning, trips to the library to let my inner nerd shine. Or maybe it was the loss of my grandfather a few days before my 17th birthday that just made me realize that I just didn't care about fitting in anymore. I made friends, joined the basketball team and overall graduated with a good group of people that I enjoyed.
Then I marched into Texas A&M and acted like I knew what I was doing. I didn't but hey whatever- I swear as a freshman the only thing that was terrifying to me was the bus system. I join a sorority and boom my dad bought me a pretty rad group of friends!! I kid!! Because these people are the women I LOVE and perhaps have become some of the most important people in my life. We have been there through so much and now we are at a point in our lives were we are all MOMS. Those girls I did Irish Car bombs with every Tuesday and happily dunked my ring in a pitcher of beer with? Yep, them we just had a 4 hour texting conversation about breastfeeding. We talk now about potty training, how we are going to handle 2 kids or 3 kids, first time pregnancy symptoms, when and if our husbands are going to get vasectomies- seriously its ALL out there.
Here is the thing- they live HOURS from me. I can't pop in and dump my toddler with theirs and proclaim I need wine ASAP. We can't plan play dates, double date nights or moms nights out. So where I am I now? I am building my mom friends!
After these two experiences in my life seem to have prepared me to make friends right? I mean hello- I have done this so often! I should be awesome at making friends but guess what I am not and right now I have a small group of people that live close to me that fit into my "mom friend criteria".
First let me say this- I am and equal opportunity friender however as I travel through motherhood I have realized some things just DON'T work. And that is ok- I still love those friends, and I by no means want to not be friends but the semantics just kinda stink right now.
1. Kids close to my own child's age
This is number one for a reason, it isn't the most important per say but its up there. Wanna go swimming? Sure! Guess what my not even 2 year old cannot get in the water without me- he can't "go play" so me sitting and chatting while drink a Diet Coke? HHHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!
Listen, I love that you have a 11 year old and a 9 year old that can do those things and only come bother you for snacks. Its super cool, and one day I'll be there too but not today. Today I am running around making sure he doesn't drown and playing silly pool games while trying to get him to kick his feet in my half hearted attempt to get him to swim.
We also are tethered to nap times and bed times. Not because I am a lame mom but because my toddler turns into a level 17 gremlin if he is tired. I want to stay and have one more drink, or swim for 2 more hours but the dictator doesn't and with that we are running home to get in bed.
2. Pregnant or Nursing the close to the same time
Sharing your body for 9months is NO JOKE. Then you decided to feed the little freeloader for another year so its almost TWO YEARS of not getting to do exactly what you want to do. Its nice to not be the only one that can't have lunch meat or a beer at the BBQ. Its nice to have the understanding that if you do go out that 4 hours later you need to go home and feed a baby or pump because HOLY UNCOMFORTABLE. Also its just nice to have someone to bitch with during this time, or daydream about how your family is about to change.
3. Same parenting philosophy as me (or close to it)
Now let me start with this- do I think we need to be 100% on point with everything for our kids? Nope. This isn't a mom shame or attempt to do this but I do think we need to line up on some stuff!
The best example I can think of this is from my random internet friend Ashley- we met when Q was about 4 months old and her daughter was 8ish months old. We are in a moms group and saw we were close so we went and had coffee. Almost 2 years later we are still friends and she is someone I truly enjoy as a friend!! However when we were setting up our first meeting she asked me flat out "Do you vaccinate?". I replied with yes we do, and asked if she did because I thought it was such a smart question to ask. This is something that D and I feel strongly about- we are going to get our kids vaccinated and Ashley feels the same way. I know that her girls are up to date on shots, and she knows Quinn is as well, so when we get together I don't stress.
There are a lot of things I don't care about- but then the ones I do care about I am going to voice that and go with it. We are all doing what is right for our own kids so just know this is my thing and its not personal but I need somethings to mesh!
4. Geographically Close
I know this is kinda a crappy reason to be friends but it matters!! I have one mama friend that lives down the street from me. Like less than 5 minutes away and you know what- its SO much easier to make plans with her. We can jump in the car and get there or them here in no time, we also know what is close to both of us if we want to venture out of the house. We live in DFW so a 30 minute drive can turn into 2 hours fast if there is a wreck or construction, its a thing and I am not a fan of toddler stuck in traffic. So a short travel time is pretty rad for me!
5. I have to (and want to) like you
Seriously! I want us to enjoy hanging out and also want to spend time together- its great if our kids get along but it would also be cool if we got along as well. Overall I am pretty easy to get along with and can talk to most people, but there are for sure people I just enjoy more than others. I have fun with them and others I don't dislike them but we just don't mesh. I also don't want to feel like I have to not be myself or pretend to be cool- because cool I am not.
I will be 30 in a few weeks and I am just OVER the whole high school, feeling self conscious about things. I also don't want to play games, I love a round of gossip as much as the next person but hey we aren't on the Real Housewives and my life is 95% drama free. And the 5% that isn't- revolves around my toddlers moods.
Now are we perfect? Heck no, we are like any normal family and have our own things but overall we are boring. This doesn't mean I will bail on friendship if big things happen of course- we have life stuff that happens! I just don't want to get sucked into the Mean Girl mentality with grown women.
I think the biggest hurdle with mom friends is its HARD to find them and even harder to maintain them. Between toddlers, newborns, the house, work and my marriage I have limited time for friends so when I find that special one its really nice to have some mom friends!