When I had my first baby, we were new to the neighborhood. Luckily, it had a local list-serve — mostly people trying to unload Ikea bookcases or seeking recommendations for podiatrists — but through it I found a Google group for families with kids born around the same time as our baby. Since none of my friends with kids lived in other states, this mom squad was a lifeline, mostly because I was able to say things moms can only say to other moms. I mean, you wouldn't think it, but motherhood get lonely and, well, I needed a group of women who understood the way only other mothers can.
While I visited every possible website to read up on what to expect from my then newborn, I couldn’t help but feel like a stranger in a new life I had just started. In this local baby group I could relate to all the moms, share my experiences and seek advice from parents whose babies were growing up in the same world as mine. We gathered for playdates — more for the moms than for the infants — and met in the playground, hungry for adult interaction while we pushed our toddlers in sync on the swings. It didn't take me long to realize that, as my daughter grew and was later joined by a brother, I had so much more to say to my mom friends than anyone else. I still cherished my childless friends and I missed them a lot, to be sure, but my parenting routines organically brought me in more contact with other moms, and less with the friends who weren’t building their days around kids’ nap schedules.
As much as I loved talking about things other than my kids (I was, after all, a fully formed person with interests and ambitions that fell outside the parenting spectrum), I loved the ease with which I could just fall into conversation with another mom. After all, there are some things you can only say to another mom, including the following:
Or, “You’re leaking. Here’s a tissue.” Other moms get it (especially if they've breastfed for a significant amount of time) and are probably relieved that they’re not the only ones ruining their shirts on a regular basis.
"I Can’t Sneeze Without Peeing"
If you’ve had a baby, and aren’t doing 500 Kegel’s a day, this is your life. Honestly, it would be a little awkward to tell someone who doesn't understand, that you've peed your pants. For us moms, though, it's just another day in the postpartum life of a parent.
"It’s So Nice To Have Another Mom Here"
When I was pregnant with my first, a co-worker (who had two young children) expressed how excited she was to have another mom in our department. Until my daughter was born, she was the only one on the team who was a working parent. Needless to say, we bonded, as it was so terrific for both of us to have someone nearby who really understood the juggle.
"They're A Great Parenting Partner, But..."
When you've experienced pregnancy, labor and delivery, there is only so much empathy they can have for someone who hasn't, but is simultaneously responsible for the same life you are. Sometimes, we need to vent. Mother seem to understand best that when we're complaining about our parenting partners, it's not because we loathe them or even that they're failing in some spectacular way; we just need to let out our frustrations without causing a major rift at home.
Other moms get that this is a curse, not a blessing. The grass isn't always greener. Big boobs aren't all they're cracked up to be. Trust us.
"Can You Hold Her A Second?"
I would never give my baby to a stranger I had met in the park, mere minutes ago, even just for a second so I could strap on my Ergo. Unless, of course, she was there with her kids.
"There Are No Nuts, Eggs, Soy, Milk, Or Wheat In These Cupcakes"
We want to know every single thing our kids may put in their mouths, so we’re always ready to recite the ingredients list to the other moms at a birthday party without them having to inquire. We got you, moms. We got you.
"What Does This Look/Smell/Feel Like To You?"
I’ve been spared a few trips to the pediatrician by simply asking for another mom’s opinion on weird things I would occasionally find on my kids.
“Oh, that’s roseola. She’s fine. Just give her acetaminophen for the fever.”
“Oh, that’s definitely eczema. My son gets it too. I’ll give you the name of the cream we use.”
“Yikes, is that ringworm? Definitely call the doctor.”
I never feel judged because every mom knows that what goes around, especially germs, comes around.
"Do You Think You’ll Have Another?"
It is nobody’s business, but other moms get a pass when they ask this very personal question (usually), because it’s a question we all need to answer for ourselves.
"I Want Another Baby, But I Don’t Want To Raise Another Child"
When I’m with another mom and we spot a newborn baby, we simultaneously melt. There is just something about that earliest time in a baby’s life — when you haven’t screwed anything up yet, as a parent — that makes us feel ridiculously hopeful. I will always happily volunteer to babysit an infant, but when it comes to adding a third child to our family, that’s a solid “nope.” Only another mom, who’s also “done,” feels me on that.