Lifestyle / Motherhood

5 Reasons Why You Need Mom Friends

When I first moved to Indianapolis I felt so alone. I could call my sister up, chill with her and her friends, but there was one resounding theme: I was the only one with kids. I’m forever grateful for how they supported me; helping me when they could with pick ups, babysitting until I could get off of work, or giving me a break when I was at my wits end. They were truly godsends. Not to mention all of the fun we had! I always tell myself that I should keep wine in my car for the day I run into them so that I can give them a thank you gift.

In Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, she said, “even with the chaos, motherhood had also brought with it a set of wonderful friendships.” She spoke of how diverse her friend group was; some had careers, others stay at moms, but they were all like-minded in that they were educated, ambitious, dedicated to their kids and just as unhitched as the next mom. She explained that they “all lived in a state of constant calibration, tweaking one area of life in hopes of bringing more steadiness to another.” Michelle’s time with her mom friends taught her that there was no formula for motherhood. She said whenever she was around her friends, she knew they’d all be okay.

I can certainly relate to that. While I appreciate all of my friends, I have a certain appreciation for my mom friends. They can relate to me like no other. They give me insight. They provide a safe space that allows me to be honest with myself, to laugh, cry, and still leave in good spirits. I know I’ll be okay.

Single motherhood obviously means only one parent is doing the job, so a village is imperative. My mom friends, whether near or far, have been a blessing in allowing me to build both a physical and emotional support system. If you don’t have a mom group, here’s why you need one:

1. To remind you that you aren’t alone.

Single motherhood can feel like a mucky pit. Co-parenting can lead to arguments that leave you feeling like a lunatic. Some days you can’t find babysitters for important events and meetings. Some times you’ve talked to kids for so long, you’re out of touch with reality. So, you need someone who can empathize, sympathize, and laugh to keep from crying with you. Someone you can swap stories of hardship with. Stories about sick kids, finessing bill money, craving alone time and the loser you wasted your rare alone time on. I enjoy getting together with my mom friends and letting the kids run wild as we debrief about whatever our current crisis may be. If you stay long enough, the kids run themselves sleepy. Oh, what joy!

A few mom friends and I have been able to get our Single Mom’s Club on. My all time favorite thing we do is hire a babysitter to watch the whole bunch of munchkins while we do whatever we want! We also carpool, take the kids on outings, have holiday parties, and share resources. Sometimes we sit on the phone with one another while we clean our kitchens, or drive across state lines to sit with each other while we clear off the dining room table that has been the catch-all for months. Even if we aren’t able to babysit or lead the carpool, we’re able to say “I’ve been there and you’re going to get through this.” Sometimes that’s more than enough.

2. To help you learn the ropes of motherhood.

When you have mom friends, you get a buyer’s guide of sorts to motherhood. Every mother has her own style. I was one of those overprotective-don’t-feed-my-baby-real-food type of moms, all the while, my son was snatching food off of everyone’s plates. As they smiled with glee, I was fuming inside. That’s until my best friend told me that her mom told her to “let that baby feed herself”, so she gave her daughter some green beans. I followed suit, my son enjoyed both playing in and devouring his spaghetti. I enjoyed eating my food while he fed himself versus waiting until he went to bed!

Mom friends give you life hacks for motherhood. They teach you to ditch the wipe warmer, the bottle warmer, and keep it old school. They encourage you to bottle prep the night before. They remind you why replacing an episode of cartoons with someone reading a story on YouTube every now and again is important. There’s no end to the wisdom you can receive from experienced mothers that you won’t find in books.

3. To remind you that you don’t have to be perfect.

Motherhood entails a lot. Attempting to raise kids with minimal trauma is a lot, not to mention, we’re dealing with our own trauma too. While you’re keeping kids healthy, making sure everyone is fed, educated, has a social life, scheduling haircuts, remembering nap blankets, creating positive memories and teaching life lessons, you’re bound to forget something.

Some days you may not feel like playing. Some days you don’t have the sanity for patience . If you’re anything like me, when you start to feel this way you’ll go down a rabbit hole of “bad mom” thoughts. My mom friends remind me that off days happen A LOT. And that’s okay! They remind me that I’m not the only mother who forgot about the parent teacher conference or the only one who spazzed out on her kids that day. They stories of forgetting backpacks, rebrushing ponytails as they run out the door, and we laugh until our stomachs hurt at our shit show lives. Mom friends give you grace because they know all too well the mishaps of motherhood.

4. To let you know that your kids aren’t little weirdos.

Listen, kids are weird. Period. They eat dirt, sleep walk (if they sleep at all, and then sleep deprivation makes them act even more weird), spit out delicious food, poop on the floor, jump on you without a moment’s notice, blurt out your personal business when no one is asking. They touch themselves, pull at their genitals, yell the word “booty” and laugh (these kid tv shows aren’t any help)! They opt for defiance when you’re being as reasonable as you can. They act out when they’re upset or uncomfortable. And a bunch of other weird stuff!

All of this is completely normal, but when you’re the only one in the room with kids you don’t know that. There’s nothing like the sweet relief that comes from a mom friend saying “your kid does that too?!” On the off chance that your friend doesn’t respond in that way, you’ll know that you may need to seek help for your child. And when you do, your mom friend will be right there checking on you along the way.

5. To Inspire you.

It’s easy to get complacent in motherhood. Well, I won’t say it’s easy to get complacent, I’ll say mothering requires so much energy that if you aren’t already where you want to be in life, attempting to get “there” can feel impossible once you have children.

How can you save money, or raise your credit score when you’re barely making enough to get by? How can you register for classes when you can’t afford another sitter for week nights? How can you sign the kids up for extracurriculars when you can’t get a grasp on time management or find it in the budget? How can you leave that man when he helps out in a clutch? How can you plan activities for the kids and still have time for yourself? These are all questions that I’ve asked myself because I saw my mom friends making it happen. Because they did it, I knew it could be done.

Birds of a feather flock together. So, don’t ask yourself if it can be done, ask yourself what you want. Then ask yourself what your friends are doing. I’ll even take it a step further. What’s their energy like? Are they positive or negative thinkers? Are they dreamers? What do they do in their free time? What are your conversations like? Evaluating your friend group can be vital for your livelihood. Not only yours, but your children’s too.

Honorable Mention: Your kids get to befriend children whose parents have similar values.

A while ago I heard someone say “You can’t let your kids play with everyone because you don’t know what other kids have been exposed to.” This is a harsh truth of parenting.

We can’t control everything, especially another child’s experiences and how they’ll affect your children. Children in today’s society are exposed to way too much way too soon. If you’re raising your children in a friend group with like-minded parents, one can presume that they have like-minded values as well. At the very least, you know they have values you can tolerate. And if you can tolerate them, they aren’t detrimental to your child, just a variant from your own values.

Your child will learn to be more open minded. There’s nothing more peaceful than sending your child to a friend’s home with parents whom you already know and whom your children can learn from. Somewhere they are safe, known, and loved.

What to do if you don’t have mom friends:

Now is a great time to start thinking about how you can create your own village. This is something I had to do, so my advice is to start with prayer. I pray for discernment and for God to send genuine people into our lives who will love and support us with compassion. And let me tell you, I’ve seen God work, honey!

I’ve created amazing relationships. I’ve had moms donate uniforms when I waited until the last minute to order online. I‘ve had a daycare teacher watch my babies while I was in class. A former supervisor’s daughters always came though in a clutch on those unpredictable sick days. One of my dearest friends, and go-to babysitter, was a friend of a friend who was from my hometown and just so happened to live in Indy.

These kind women are all mothers. Without them, I honestly don’t know if I would be where I am today. Because of their help, not only was I able to explore opportunities for advancement, I was able to breathe!

After you pray, start sticking around your child’s school or daycare a little longer. See if you can find some straggling parents who have children in the same class as yours. Pay attention to who your child is friends with, a playdate could lead to a new mom friendship. Volunteer to go on a fieldtrip and while you’re there strike up a conversation with another parent. One of my friends even used Tinder for girls to find mom friends! And we can’t forget the thousands of facebook groups.

Basically, anywhere you are with parents and kids, get social, baby girl. And don’t forget the prayer! Motherhood brings you joy, but you haven’t lived until you’re cracking jokes with mom friends about the ridiculous things you’ve seen your children do. What’s even better? Discussing growth in you, your child, and your mom friends for years to come.

One last thing.

Motherhood is so much more than raising kids. If you let it, it can be about building stronger families. Stronger families lead to better communities. Better communities lead to better resources and networks for our children.

While you’re out there building your village, I encourage you to consider community. I encourage you to put your best forward and pay it forward. Be the type of mom friend you need. Sometimes it requires feeding another mouth, using more gas, clothing another child, teaching another life lesson, opening up the child’s eyes to something positive that they aren’t being exposed to at home. Are you ready for that? Do you need that? Can you be that?

If so, I bet there’s a mom out there right now waiting on you to say “hi.” Be that mom, be a friend.

About Author

Hi! I’m Geneeka! The M&M's and Three's mommy. I was born in Indianapolis, IN, raised in Hopkinsville, KY and made my way back to Indy after finishing undergrad at the University of Kentucky. It is my goal to empower single mothers to continue to find time for themselves and to continue to pursue their goals and aspirations.

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