You can’t do this motherhood thing alone. Even with an active and caring partner — even with grandparents who love providing free child care — you need the help and support of a gaggle of fellow mothers to see you through the next 18 years with sanity and serenity.
Of course, it helps to have more than one variety of mama by your side. Here are the 11 moms whom you definitely want to keep around.
1. The Fit Mom
On the one hand, you want to hate the moms out there who find time to get and stay fit; on the other hand, you want to be them. By befriending the fit mom, you can learn the secrets to balancing fitness and family. When starting an exercise regime, it helps to have someone beside you for support (physical and emotional), and your fit mom friend will never pass up a hot yoga session or an evening run.
2. The Mom Who Is Too Nice
You might give your significant other “the look” whenever he tells you how beautiful you are, but when a compliment comes from a friend, you can usually take it to heart. That’s why it helps to have the too-nice friend by your side. Every time you see her, she’ll have a new nice something to say — “Your haircut looks fabulous!” “Your kids are little darlings!” “Where do you find such stylish clothing?” — and we promise, it will never get old.
3. The Mom Who Is Not Nice at All
It is exhausting being on your best behavior, and with this mom friend, you know you don’t have to be. She never hides her true feelings (around you, anyway) and isn’t afraid to tell embarrassing stories about spouses, friends, and even her own kids. In return, you can share your own secret complaints.
4. The Giving Mom
This mom absolutely hates clutter — even though it seems like she has infinite amounts of it. Every other weekend she hosts a garage sale, and you have seen her make massive donations more than once. This mom makes a good friend for a number of reasons: She has the best spring cleaning strategies, she is always trying to give you hand-me-down toys and clothes, and she reminds you that there are families who need your old junk more than you do.
5. The Mom From School
You will inevitably meet the parents of your kids’ classmates, and having a mom friend from school is a major boon. Perhaps this mom is a leading member of the PTA, or maybe she has the intel on the best teachers in the upcoming grades. Having a school insider on your friend list is excellent for your kids’ education and your peace of mind.
6. The Mom in Spirit
This friend loves spending time with your kids, and the feeling is 100 percent mutual. Even though she doesn’t have little ones of her own (yet), she knows exactly how to make your kids laugh and smile. While she is still in the process of procreating, you can drop off your kids with this friend anytime, so she can get practice and you can get privacy.
7. The Stay-at-Home Mom
There is plenty of stigma attached to moms who choose to forego demanding careers and stay home with their little ones, but studies show that children raised by at-home parents are more likely to grow into balanced, capable adults. It’s useful to be close with an at-home mom to help you assess whether that lifestyle is right for you, but also because she will always be available for babysitter emergencies.
8. The Mom With In-Law Issues
It is easy to convince yourself that you have it worst of all — until you meet up again with this mom friend, who never ceases to have a new uproarious in-law story. You might think your partner’s family is annoying, but after a lunch with this friend, you’ll be counting your blessings.
9. The Experienced Mom
With kids older than yours, this mom has been through everything you are experiencing — and more. She knows the best pediatricians, the best venues for birthday parties, and the best brands for backpacks. Forget parenting books; you can go to this friend with any question and expect a perfect answer.
10. The New Mom
You can tell how far you’ve come in motherhood by watching this mom limp through life. Fresh out of the maternity ward (for the first time, clearly) she turns to you with all the basic parenting questions you had with your first little one. It never hurts to have a friend who makes you feel put-together and gives you a chance to pass on your own sage wisdom, and this mom will do just that.
11. The Anti-Mom
At least once a week, it feels good to see someone who doesn’t call you “mom.” Likely, you’ve known this friend since before motherhood (was there such a time?) and she has chosen a path that doesn’t lead through diapers and spit-up bibs. With this friend, you can talk about anything as long as it isn’t related to kids, which is especially relaxing.