Why Mom Friends MatterWednesday, May 02, 2012
Failing With Gusto
It is funny how friends evolve over time.
When I was young, I played mostly with the kids on my block. It was all about proximity. It had absolutely nothing to do with common hobbies or compatible personalities. Yet when the girls I grew up with took an early interest in boys and dating around the 6th grade, I was quickly left behind. Friends could sniff out my over-protective parents from a mile away. There would be no sneaking beers or boys into our basement unless you were willing to take your life into your own hands. My dad was a scary man. And he owned a gun.
I was a little lost and friendless when I began the horror more commonly known as junior high school. Thankfully, a couple of classes introduced me to the merry band of honor students who would help guide me through the social landmines and pitfalls of junior high and high school. We shared a love of all things shabby geek. Gin rummy. PBS' NOVA series. Greek mythology. It was all tragically uncool, but at least we had each other.
In college, nobody was aware of my painfully long history of extreme dorkiness. I was able to make new friends. Hipster friends. Friends who drank beer and listened to alternative music and played in rock bands. I had somehow morphed into a regular person who people didn't sit next to merely because they wanted to copy answers from my test.
After college, I had a rapid influx of new and exciting work friends. We were all in our 20s, all living downtown, and all completely broke. We were like the show Friends but without the trendy clothing or catchy theme song.
Then I became a mom. Most of the high school and college friends were distant memories, separated by geography and time. Many of the work friends were still single. They basically gave me up for dead once I had a baby. I was terribly lonely and again felt like that 6th grade girl abandoned by those who wouldn't be caught dead in a Baby Bjorn.
And that's when it happened.
I found mom friends.
I love my mom friends. They are the ones who whisper the teacher's name into my ear at parent-teacher conferences because I never remember anything. They are the ones who volunteer to watch my kids so I can finally go to an OBGYN appointment by myself. They are the ones who don't expect me to be remotely interesting because who has that kind of energy anymore? They are the ones who have provided the most love, support, and encouragement throughout this most wild and woolly parenting adventure.
Not that they're perfect, mind you. They still openly mock me because of my flair for the Tiger Mom ("You're not seriously considering signing your kids up for summer chess camp?"). They badger me to cook something besides Quaker Instant Oatmeal for dinner. They stand in open opposition to my Red Bull habit. But these Mom Friends tease me with a gentle humor and a strong belief that nobody has this whole mothering thing quite figured out.
And then of course they hide my brochures for Marine Biology camp.