It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to sustain a mother. So you better believe there are friends every mom needs if she's going to get through this whole parenting thing. Some are other moms, yes, but some aren't. Some knew her before she had kids, while others met her at the playground a couple of months ago. Some are blood family, others chosen. There's a lot of overlap, because one person can play multiple roles in another person's life, but it's also important to have the full set of these village helpers. After all, it's extremely rare to find one person who will be your everything.
Moms need a village not because we're fragile or delicate or incapable, like the babes we're told we should be raising in concert with friends, family, loved ones, and other community members. No, it's because the work we're doing as parents is hard, and we need the emotional support to buoy us and remind us, especially in the hardest of times, that we have friends that can help us through.
I've gathered a list of some of the most vital villagers one will need in a mom commune — a "mommume," if you will. Your specific needs may vary, but incorporating most of these types of folks in your life ensures a healthy mix of friends who can help you meet your emotional needs. (And, hopefully, you can return the favor in-kind.)
The Mom Friend
I firmly believe that having children doesn't mean all your friends must have kids for you to remain friends. But I also believe that all moms need at least one mom friend. Years ago, I met a woman who worked for an animal shelter who told me you should always adopt two cats at once because "you always need to be near someone who speaks your language." To date, this remains maybe the wisest thing anyone has ever said to me.
You need someone fluent in Motherese! Someone who understands what it's like to sleep with a teething baby in the house! Who knows that no social outing is possible with at least several days notice! Someone who fully appreciates the weight of being constantly responsible for another human being because they, too, are living it! Your mom friend(s) may not be your BFFs, but they get you as no one but another mom could and they are worth their weight in gold.
The Not-A-Mom Friend
Though motherhood is a huge part of who we are, it's not all we are... and, unfortunately, it's all some people see sometimes. That's why, just as we need someone who understands us as mothers, we need someone who takes motherhood entirely out of the equation because they can't relate to us as a mom. Maybe someone who, occasionally, forgets we're even moms at all. It's not that we don't want to be or wish we weren't, but every now and then it's healthy to just be ourselves.
The Angry Friend
Women are socialized from an early age not to express anger, so many of us feel uncomfortable letting it out, even when doing so is perfectly reasonable. (And, as women and mothers, we have plenty to keep the rage-o-meter at a steady "surly" at all times.) We'll minimize our problems ("It was annoying but I guess it wasn't a big deal.") or dismiss them ("Whatever. It's fine.") or act as though we don't have a right to our anger ("First world problems, right?! So many people have it so much worse.")
This is why everyone needs that one friend who is very comfortable in her rage. I'm not talking anger issues or anything like that, but someone who will validate our feelings, even if they're not "pretty" or "ladylike." They'll be the first to shamelessly say, "What?! That's bullsh*t! I'd be pissed!" This friend lets you live in the storm cloud for a little while before rushing to find the silver lining.
The Style Friend
If you don't know how to decorate your apartment or the best way to put together a look for family portraits, this is the friend to turn to. She has a good eye and great taste. She is irreplaceable for those of us who don't know sh*t about shiplap. She can guide those of us who didn't own a pair of pants that weren't jeans until their mid-20s through a mini Queer Eye-like transformation. Her Instagram game is on point and she can always give you pointers on that, too.
The Friend Who Knows Everything
This lady is a fountain of wisdom. From the best way to get poop stains off a carpet ("dish soap and vinegar") to the best places to get toddler pants to literally everything that's happening at your children's school ("Friday Sept. 20, 2024 is Superhero Day") she knows everything about everything and is an invaluable resource.
She is a close cousin of the Impossibly Capable Friend, who is extremely rare. This person is super handy and knows her way around a kitchen, garage, subway system, and secret mafia gambling ring. (OK, like, hopefully not, actually, but in a pinch she could manage.) She just really good at being an adult.
I mean, hopefully this is all your friends, but everybody needs at least one person who is always in their corner and constantly letting them know that someone believes in them. The person who is so optimistic and sincere that when they tell you "you've got this" you believe them.
(And try to be her cheerleader right back, because sometimes people don't realize how badly a cheer captain needs to be cheered on herself.)
The Intellectually Stimulating Friend
This is the friend who will help lift you out of the monotonous, mind-numbing, intensive labor that is often mom-life. The friend who realizes that, after a weekend of passively watching cartoon characters say the alphabet over and over, interrupted by yet another round of "Baby Shark" you need to discuss... politics. Or get a text sharing a really neat science story from NPR. A friend who invites you to join their book club.
Motherhood is magical, yes, but kids are way less smart than we are in a lot of ways and that can be challenging.
The Guilty Pleasure Friend
On the other hand, sometimes the rigors of parenting — What time did the baby eat? How much? How do I handle a headstrong toddler. What exactly is my child's Little League schedule? — leave absolutely no room whatsoever for intellectual anything. You have happily set aside the next decade or so for numbing your brain every single chance you get, because that's the only way you'll make it through. You need a friend who will FaceTime you to watch Housewives. The friend who follows a Twitter account dedicated to the stupid things the Kardashians say. The friend who knows you're incapable of expanding your mind so soon after your vagina expanded to let out a small human.
The Friend Who Takes Initiative
Because you love your friends so much and want to see them way more often than you do, but you know you're a dizzy dame who will never make anything happen.
The Friend Who Looks To You For Advice
Honestly, it's the only thing that makes you feel like you have your sh*t together in the slightest... and we need that sometimes. It's a win win, too: you're helping your friend and she's making you feel as though you have something helpful to say and do, which can be extremely cathartic for a mom who can often feel like she's getting absolutely nowhere with her kids (which isn't the kids' fault or the mom's, it's just that parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, and right now there's no finish line in sight.)
But your friends' girlfriend problems? Job application? What to wear to a wedding? You can do that! You can be someone else's helpful villager, too!