Mom friends. These are the wonderful women you met on park benches as you watched your toddler play or at the bake sale table for the third grade or even later on the sideline of a 9th grade soccer game. These are women you grew to love like sisters, the women who helped you raise your kids, the women you could not have managed motherhood without.
We confided our deepest fears about our children in our mom friends. We quietly told them that our child wasn’t fitting in, was struggling academically or that we were worried that he often seemed down. These are fears that might have been insane, born of a place of deep love and concern, but parenting brings out the crazy in all of us.
For 18 years our mom friends have talked us down off the ledge, gently telling us our fears were unwarranted (or were well-placed and it was time to act) and I, for one, would hate to think what deep end I would have dove off without the love and support of my mom friends.
But after you are done anguishing over college admissions, after you have cried and hugged through Pomp and Circumstance and, later, moved the kids into their freshman dorms, is it all over? Was it all just about the kids? Why do we need our mom friends once our kids are gone?
Six Reasons Why We Love Our Mom Friends
1. Because, as we like to say, parenting never ends. Unless you are dropping your freshman off and plan to forget about him entirely, then nothing will change with your mom friends. You will still share your concerns when your freshman calls and sounds lost or unhappy. You will still need each other to discuss problems with roommates, summer jobs and kids who want off the college carousel. In other words: same friend, same kids, different topics.
2. A mom friend is a compassionate but objective person who will bring you back to reality when you need it. She is the friend who gives you the metaphoric splash of cold water to remind you that you are okay, your kids will be okay, you got this. When in life will we stop needing this friend, the one who restores reality for us and gets us back on our way? Never, that is when, never.
3. For the first time in almost two decades we have a bit more time as our kids trudge off to college. For years we seemed to end almost every mom friend conversation with, “gotta go” as we rushed off to attend to work or child. Now for the first time, we can finish that conversation and even talk about something more than our kids. Rick may have said it best in Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
4. Mom friends have grown to love our kids, as we have theirs. These are also the moms with whom you can share your child’s triumph and, not for a moment, sound like you are bragging. Sharing sounds different to mom friends. They are like your child’s aunts, as proud of her as you are. That pride in your child will not go away just because she has graduated high school. This is the friend who will be thrilled about your daughter’s first promotion and her engagement. She will obsess with you over mother-of-the-bride dresses and, on the big day, have one too many glasses of champagne with you to sooth your nerves. This friendship may look like it’s about the kids, but it’s really about you (and always has been.)
5. Grandchildren. Someday, God willing, it will all begin again with grandchildren.
6. One day it simply becomes clear that mom friends are just real friends, by another name. The connections we forged over years of caring and sharing are the foundation for some of the most important relationships of our lives. Is it all about the kids? Not at all, not at all.