In my experience, mom friends come in a few different categories. If you're lucky, some mom friends just transform into friends to whom you can say anything — but those are rare and not the mom friends we often associate with. The moms you primarily befriend are in your life because you're both parents or your kids are friends. It's not that you're not "real friends," but there's almost a level of formality present. But there are things every mom wishes she could tell her mom friends that fly in the face of that formality, and sometimes those things are worth exploring.
While it might sound kind of cold, I think that palpable level of formality between "mom" friends is there for a good reason. For the most part, it's probably not wise to be overly familiar, particularly when you're dealing with issues as personal and touchy as parenting. On the other hand, sometimes it's not so much "formal rules" but "customs" that are stiff and weird and, I feel, exist in a way that's detrimental to the development of a "real" friendship.
Basically, we feel the pressure to be seen as "good moms" and that gets in the way of us being truly honest with each other about our own motherhood — the struggles and, frankly, the joys, too. So let's just be honest with each other, because if we're being real we can admit that we've all thought the following:
"For The First Few Months I Only Knew You As [Insert Child's Name Here] Mom"
It's telling, isn't it? How we identify other women by their relationship with others? Kylie's Mom. Landon's Mom. Julia's Mom. Even when we do know someone's name it like, "Oh there's Jennifer, Aidan's Mom." On the one hand it makes sense, because we're probably often seeing each other in the context of doing things for our kids — school, park, parties, and whatnot.
On the other hand, like, we see each other all the time and we know we're people outside of and separate from our children, right? Yet I have gone entire school years not knowing some people's names, people I talk to basically every day, and I know I'm not alone.
"Let's Just Admit This Play Date Is For Us"
Yeah, our kids enjoy one another's company, but also we need an outlet. Our lives revolve around these small creatures we've decided to raise and that's totally reasonable and sort of necessary (they require a lot and can do basically nothing on their own, bless their hearts), but that can take a toll. These scheduled get-togethers are a great way to socialize kids, but it's also great to have a space where we can talk with another adult in a basically unstructured environment (read: not work).
"I Super Appreciate You"
I may not have known your name for six months, but I know you now and I think you're awesome. We get each other on an important level, both as people and as moms facing so many of the same challenges at the same time.
"It's Not A Contest"
I'm not saying women or moms are inherently competitive, but I am saying that, often, we are trained, as women and mothers, to believe that we're not good enough and therefore we should be constantly comparing ourselves to others. This ain't it, chief. It's just a way to keep us down. So please let's not make everything a thing. Who's kid knows their shapes. Whose house is cleaner. Who breastfed for longer. Let's just live and be supportive of one another.
"Sometimes I Forget It's Not A Contest"
Remember how we're trained to be competitive and insecure? I'm only human, but I promise I'm trying my best.
"I Think Our Kids Are A Little Sick Of Each Other At The Moment"
When you get close enough to a mom friend you can just say this. When it comes to my best mom friend, for example, we can just straight up say, "Your kid is annoying my kid, so I think they need some time apart." We can also say, "My kid is being whiny and rude to your kid, so they need an afternoon to themselves."
But when you're, like, second tier mom friends, the concern about offending someone is very real and the consequences can be dire, so you have to be more diplomatic. But can't we just admit that sometimes kids clash, and it's not a reflection of their overall moral character? It's so much easier than coming up with excuses.
"I Know My Kid Is A Jerk Sometimes"
I still love them and all, and I don't think it's a permanent state of being, but sometimes they're a real pill and I wish I could just say that without someone thinking I'm a mean mom. But honestly, though: what else would you call some of their behavior?
Sometimes (hopefully not regularly, but from time to time) they're going to be a jerk around (or maybe even to) your kid. Hey, I'm not happy about it, I'm going to try to stop it, but it's going to happen. They're learning. I'm learning. Sorry.
"Sometimes Your Kid Is A Jerk"
Because everyone is a jerk sometimes and your kid is no exception. Can we call a thing a thing?! Just admit your kid is being the worst! It's so freeing.
"I Don't Want To Go Out Because The Idea Of Putting On Pants Feels Really Daunting Right Now"
It's nothing personal, I just can't even right now. I'm sorry. I'd really just love to have the kind of relationship where I can say this instead of making up a lie about how busy I am or how I'm volunteering at an orphanage or working on a big presentation for work or spending important bonding time with my family, but we don't... so here we are.
I'm in my underwear with a huge glass of Pinot Noir watching Forensic Files on Netflix and I think this is the absolute best use of my time right now. I know you feel me. We'll hang out another time and we will both need that, but right now I need this.
"A Single Negative Thing Without Qualifying"
This is one of my least favorite things about the whole Mom Game: it can, at times, be OK to complain, but unless you're talking with your very closest friends you absolutely have to qualify it with effusive, schmaltzy gushing about how you "wouldn't change a thing" and how you're "so blessed" or what the hell ever.
And yes, of course, let's all keep perspective and all that, but, like, can we as fellow moms assume that we do have that perspective and we don't need to say it after every negative thing? Let's just accept that that is a given and sometimes a mama needs to vent.
"I'm Seriously Not Going To Judge You"
And I do say that, but I wish I could say it in such a way that everyone around me would not only believe me but internalize that belief and we could all just be chill together.