“Mommy friends” are coveted milestone in motherhood — yet a fraught one. As Rebecca Eckler and Maria Guido have independently voiced, being an “old mom” can be awkward once all your previous mom friends have older kids and are kicking back tequila shots. Conversely, if you’re one of the first ones in your friend group to welcome a baby, you may find that your childless counterparts are also kicking back tequila shots while you timidly ask if BYOB means “bring your own baby.” But whether you’re a 19-year-old mom, a 29-year-old mom, or a 39-year-old mom, making mom friends is compared to dating for a reason. And that’s because all the various dynamics over parenting ideologies, mommy stigmas, and childrearing techniques can make for very hit or miss chemistry.
So while I encourage all the ladies (and gentlemen) of the Mommyish community to keep keepin’ on for mommy companions, my best advice to you is to not seek out friends with kids at all. Just seek out friends (some of whom may happen to have kids), and for the following reasons.
1. They will judge you faster than you can say “baby formula”
Even if you guys swear up and down over your matching Sophies that you will never harbor any mommy judgement, they totally will. One day — while you are at the park, while you are at playgroup, while you pick your kid up from school — they will have a fleeting moment of parental judgement. They may promise to never vocalize it to you (so decide how you feel about that), but it’s definitely there behind the trembling of their eyebrow and, “Oh, it’s fiiiiiine.”
(photo: Conor O’Dea)
2. Having matching parenting ideologies isn’t a match made in heaven
So you’ve decided mid-pregnancy that you’re going to be an AP parent? A Ferber gal? A “Cry It Out” couple? And you research out various baby and mommy groups according to your preferred parenting tactic? While this approach is great in theory, there will most likely come a moment where you, as a fully capable parent, decide well maybe baby-wearing isn’t for your family after all. Or maybe you won’t be able to commit to hardcore ferberizing your kids like you planned. Or maybe sleep training will look pretty tempting after a few months. Infants have a distinct way of changing what kind of parent you thought you’d like to be. And the very LAST thing you need as you reroute your parenting ideologies are some snarky ladies with resting bitchface giving you the eye roll because you’ve decided not to breastfeed.
(photo: Jennifer Laycock)
3. Your kids may not like each other just because you do — and that will be awkward
Just because you and your new-found mommy companion are “Orange Is The New Black” watching soul mates doesn’t mean that your spawn will be having an arranged marriage. While your new blobs of JELLO (also known as newborns) may delight in wobbling next to one another on blankets in the park, don’t depend on these little ones to keep your flame a burning. Remember when your parents forced you to play with that brat up the street just because she and your mom were in book club together or something? Remember how awful that kid was? And remember when you went to your mom and she was like “lalalalalalal! I don’t hear you because she is the only person who I can stand in this town!” Well, your kid might grow up to be you and your friend’s kid that awful brat who does weird stuff like eat paper towels and spit them out on you. Your friendship over J. Courtney Sullivan novels, original Netflix series, or DIY crafting doesn’t have to be contingent on your children mirroring your bromance. In fact, it might be all the better for you if it isn’t.
4. One day one of your kids will do something really wrong to the other, and it won’t go over well
This is major parenting moment for you and a memorable one for your kid. But what it won’t be great for is your precious mommy friendship. You know how many sob stories I get in my e-mail inbox about mommy friendships getting completely dashed because someone’s kid bit the other one? Or smacked the other one? Or stole something from the other one? If your friendship predates your uterine contractions, this probably isn’t a deal breaker. But if you’ve just joined a new playgroup and your 5-year-old throws a rock into the face of the one kid of the one lady you can kind of stand, consider that budding friendship most likely over.
(photo: Corey Ann)