I have been thinking a lot about my circle of friends lately and realized that, while they are vastly different from each other and even from me, they are an increasingly important part of my life.
My close friends range from those I met in pre-preschool to those I met pre-babies, and I consider myself very lucky to know them all. Even if time passes between visits or we forget a birthday, these are the friends that are in it for the long haul. They’ve seen it all and keep coming back for more.
But there is more to it than just having friends who forgive you for just about anything.
First, there’s the venting.
Oh, the venting. If I didn’t vent, I’d, well, explode. From the ever forgetful husband to the in-laws to the job, if moms didn’t vent, the world would be a pretty nasty place for the rest of you. The need to get “stuff” off your chest is a valid reason for a good friend. After all, you can’t dump everything on your husband. I had a friend call me recently and say if she didn’t have me to vent to she might jump ship. Now, I don’t think she really meant it, but I could feel her frustration and was sure glad to be on the other side of the phone for her.
Then there is the honesty factor.
Who else but a trusted friend can tell you when your school drop-off attire scares the other kids or on the flip side when you start taking yourself way too seriously? A member of my “momtourage” recently told me she was going to start getting these pretty expensive face treatments and I about fell off my chair. A lesser friend, in my opinion, would have smiled and said something passive like “oh, good for you." Not this friend. I told her exactly how I felt. I told her she is gorgeous, which she is, and that the treatments would be a complete waste of money. Now maybe she will get the treatments anyway, but at least she knows she can count on me for an honest assessment. I hope she does the same for me when I tell her about my rhinoplasty procedure.
Members of your “momtourage” just get it. They know what it’s like to be up every hour and a half dealing with a child’s fever, baby’s diaper rash or chronic cough. They understand when taking a shower takes more effort than it is worth and they understand when you have to bring your child along to your lunch date because the sitter cancelled. They just get it.
They don’t judge you for the grey hairs you haven’t gotten around to color or the muffin top you haven’t gotten around to losing. They know to compliment your new outfit because God knows when you’ll get another chance to go shopping alone. They don’t make passive aggressive comments about your parenting style because they know they might be in the same boat in an hour when their child acts up.
And then there is the very serious side of having close friends, the in-case-of-emergency contact.
I didn’t think about this that much until the endless forms that come with daycare started. I needed to really think about who could pick my kids up in case of emergency and, although grandparents are great, most don’t have car seats at the ready. Luckily I have my “momtourage,” and with a quick phone call for permission, down their names went. And I am happy to have them to do the same with my information.
For me, my “momtourage” includes my next door neighbor, and that is a gift that keeps on giving. Having a neighbor in your circle of mom friends is a very special thing. This is a friendship worth its weight in gold and one that I personally appreciate greatly. I drove into my driveway one afternoon with a vomiting four-year-old, and my daughter ran out the other side and right over to my neighbor’s house. I could focus on my son, and my daughter was thrilled to be playing with her friends. I think I owe her!
Mom friends are a unique bread, and while I love my non-mom friends dearly (they keep me in check when my world becomes too kid-focused), I secretly can’t wait until they have kids, too, so I can bring them into my “momtourage." But, to be honest with you, a friend doesn't need to be a mom to laugh with you, cry with you, hope with you and dream with you.
So take good care of your friends, because some day when the kids are grown and the husbands are asleep on the sofa, you’ll need your girls to continue ruling the world.