If you were to ask my mom friends what kind of friend I really am, promising them that their answers would never, ever get back to me, you’d probably hear things like this… “She works all the time – too much, probably.” “It’s hard to get together with her.” “She rarely just phones me up to chat.” “When there are playdates, she always forgets to bring a water bottle or wipes or something else.” “She is scatterbrained. She is that mom friend.”
It’s not that I’m not likable. I am blessed to have tons of amazing besties who I met before there were mom friend apps or even apps for moms!. But the truth is I am that mom, as in the mama who relies on all the other mamas to take the lead on scheduling and for help when emergencies come up and who will almost never say what things are really like in her life.
That’s the mom friend I am. Sometimes, though, I dream about the mom friend I’d like to be! This is how I imagine her…
She always has snacks. Enough for her kids and your kids and everyone’s kids. She has sunblock. And hats! She never has to ask another mom if they have an extra water bottle. She probably carries an actual diaper bag instead of a LeSportsac tote. She is prepared with a capital P, not rushing off to playdates empty-handed right after finishing last minute work stuff. The mom friend I want to be would never have to beg granola bars off of other mothers.
She worries about her mom friends. Because unlike me, she doesn’t have a bad tendency to assume that all of her friends are living dreamy lives of bliss and leisure. She knows that all mamas have it hard, whether they are home with their kids or working in an office or working from home. She knows that too many people have been raised to say “Oh, everything is fine” when things are most definitely anything but fine. And she knows what to do about that.
She stops by just to say hi. She’s like the handful of wonderful friends I have who are the kind of people who will randomly drop by, sometimes with coffee or even sweets, because they know I’m stuck working at home all day. The mom friend I’d like to be has her eyes peeled for the sorts of treats her local mom friends like, and she stops and picks them up and then drops by like it’s no big thing.
She talks less and she listens more. Who among us doesn’t like to feel like we’re really being heard? She makes a point of shutting her trap now and then to give her friends a chance to muse or daydream or rant and rave because everyone deserves that opportunity. And she knows that what goes around will come around and when it’s important, she’ll have friends who will likewise take the time to listen to her.
She encourages her friends’ passions without judgment. The mom friend I’d like to be is a master of sympathetic joy. When one of her besties has a big win, it doesn’t make her wonder if she’s good enough or smart enough. She’s just excited to be able to celebrate with someone she cares about. And when her friends’ endeavors don’t turn out for the best, she’s quick to offer just the right words of comfort. Or a hug for those mom friends who are huggers.
She asks for advice. Sometimes she asks just to give her friends a boost – like, hey, I respect your opinion about this matter so much that I’d really appreciate hearing what you’d do in my shoes. But sometimes she asks because she’s okay with people knowing she is vulnerable and not afraid to admit that she doesn’t know it all. She also knows that even though you can google anything and everything these days, sometimes it pays to ask a good friend.
There you have it, the kind of mom friend I think I could be in a world where I didn’t feel like I had to work 24/7. A world where there was more time and less stress and less uncertainty. But of course we live in this world so I just have to do my best to be like the mom friend I wish I could be whenever I can.
What kind of mom friend would you be in a perfect world?