It’s no secret that that when you become a mama you are all of a sudden inducted into a “mom club.” I didn’t know this was going to happen before I had kids. NO CLUE. This really rocked me after having kiddos. If I am being honest, this seriously freaked me out. I always just thought I would high-five other mamas I saw at Target and that would be all.
No one wants other moms knowing what a hot mess they are most of the time. Myself included. Personally, I had forgotten completely about make-up, my hair was always in serious need of a haircut, and some days I really wondered if I would ever choose jeans over leggings again. (Not likely!) The Instagram-perfect mamas that surrounded me were a pipe dream kind of mom-goal. I would definitely be rejected by the “club,” I was sure of it. So for a long time, I hid from this sort of community. BIG MISTAKE.
The punch in the gut
It was about a year (yeah, a long time) into having my first baby that I realized that I needed friends who were going through what I was going through. Most of my friends were still baby-less. They were still living in the land of free time and spur-of-the-moment vacations. If I’m being real, I was jealous of the freedom they had. This was the punch in the gut for me. I was reveling in my old ways of life and not enjoying the stage of life that I was in. Spending too much time with those who were in a different stage of life than me was causing me to miss out on my stage of life. I needed people who had all the same daily mom duties, wins, and struggles that I had.
This revelation was the last straw; no more hiding out. It was time to enjoy where I was!
It’s not kindergarten
It sounds simple. Go out and make friends who have kids. We watch our kids do it every single day. They see another kiddo at the grocery store, they are both eating a cookie and are instantly best friends. Wouldn’t it be great if it were that simple?
“Hi, I see that your toddler is screaming about riding on the horse too. Want to come over for coffee and story swapping?”
Maybe this method works for some of you uber-outgoing mamas, but I am slightly more reserved than that.
The harsh truth is, this is a lot harder than it seems. When you think of people who you want to surround yourself with, you obviously want to have things in common as a starting place to connect and converse. Something even more important, however, is the idea of finding a niche of people who you can be yourself and be vulnerable with. This is why mommin’ can be so hard. Building solid friendships is taxing work. But is it worth it? Absolutely!
How do you choose your club?
When I began my mom-friend quest, I was very leery about who I wanted in my inner circle. After all, if things went how they were supposed to, these women would be a part of my life and more importantly my family’s life for a long time. They needed to be solid, raise-a-village-together kind of mamas. The kind of fearless women who would be in my corner on the hard days and never make me feel less than if my house was a disaster. Mamas I could call at 11:00 p.m. and laugh with because I went through the entire day with my shirt on backwards. THOSE were my kind of mamas. (I realize that I’m picky, and I’m fine with it.)
I created a list in my head of the qualities and traits that I wanted in friends that looked a little something like this:
- Had the same faith and beliefs that I do
- Shared similar family values
- Enjoyed long afternoons spent drinking coffee and chatting
- Kiddos similar ages to my own
- Didn’t wear jeans every day
- Binged at least 1 show on Netflix THIS year
- Lived close enough to connect and spend time together frequently
- Agreed that Chipotle is a food group
Now these weren’t complete deal breakers because we all need a little spice in our lives, but they were definitely things that I had in mind as I started intentionally meeting people. I started at my church and through some mutual friends, and let the branching out grow from there.
The evolving list
As I began meeting people to create a mom club I could call home, I quickly realized that I made a huge mistake when it came to only thinking about creating friendships with kids the same age as my own. What I found is there is a serious benefit to having mom friends who have kids of many different ages.
Cultivating friendships with kids the same ages as your own is important for many reasons, including being in the trenches together. However, it is also a natural place for comparison to take place. When we have friends with kids the same ages that we do, our human nature kicks in and the comparison becomes real.
“Wow, her daughter is so well behaved, I wonder what I am doing wrong.”
“She makes home-made lunches and dinners every single day, I need to step up my chef game.”
We may not intentionally think these things, but it’s definitely natural for these kinds of thoughts to cross every mom’s mind. This, I realized, was the reason I was afraid of the mom club in the first place. What a revelation. Figuring that out was a huge weight lifted, and a big step in my ability to make real friends.
My “mom list” has now evolved to ensure that as I continue creating friendships, I have a wide variety so that I can learn and evolve for my kiddos, help other mamas, and ensure that I don’t catch myself enthralled in the comparison game. What a lifesaver!
Believe what you’d like about the elusive moms club, but the second I decided to branch out and embrace it, I became a better mama.
It’s scary and daunting to allow people into your mess. I guarantee that when you finally do overcome your fear of making mom friends, you’ll find that most of the women that you meet have the same kinds of messes that you do.