If you're anything like me, being a mom isn't hardwired. Truth be told, I kind of thought it would be. The moms I know definitely take strength from our mutual belonging to the Tribe of Mothers, but there is also a lot to be said for the nurturing, self-less compassion and friendship of kid-free friends. So, honestly, there are more than a few reasons my kid-free friend is actually my mom role model.
I'm lucky to have more than my fair share of incredible friends, both parents and kid-free alike. However, one friend in particular is unique in that, though currently kid-free, she is everything I aspire to be as a mother. Spending time with her not only fills my feminine friendship soul cup, it absolutely makes me a better mother.
I met this particular friend when I was a newbie therapist and a newbie mama just over seven years ago. From the moment I met her I was in awe of her equanimity and, quite frankly, a little afraid of her. Anyone that centered and together would surely see through this neurotic hot mess new mama in a heartbeat, right? Lucky for me, she was either really forgiving or found my particular flavor of neurosis endearing. (Spoiler alert: it was probably a little bit of both.)
So, while I can't even begin to explain all the reasons my kid-free friend is actually my mom role model, I might as well try.
Because She's Not Afraid To Try New Things
My bestie and her wife rescued a kitty with cerebellar hypoplasia. She used to have a dog that had what can only be described as doggie-Autism. They put a weighted vest on him during fireworks season because, without it, he was too nervous. Squee!
She is a master gardener and makes fancy dishes direct from the garden to compliment her wife's designer cocktails.
She built a ladder. Do you know how complicated that is?
I could basically list every cool thing she has done, but that might get a little weird. What do I love about all of this? She takes risks and tries new things all the time. That life-filled spirit is enviable. Even when I was kid-free I was much more likely to be on the couch binge-watching La Femme Nikita (Peta Wilson as Nikita, obviously) than signing up for adult gymnastics. I'm kind of her number one fan and so totally want to be her when I grow up.
Because She's Fiscally Responsible
She has been making wise financial decisions for a long time. I can maybe count on one hand how many fiscally responsible decisions I've made in my lifetime. Fiscal responsibility is something I've always associated with parents, and perhaps I just assumed that I would get my "Fiscally Responsible Card" when the first bun was out of the oven. However, turns out they don't hand those out with perineal laceration repair stitches.
Because She's Infinitely Patience
She breathes before she talks. That might not seem like something one notices, but I do. I so notice, especially when she tells me to breathe. Nobody (besides her) ever checks in with my breath. In almost a decade of knowing her (during which time she has spent many hours with my children) I have never heard her raise her voice. Seriously! She's made of magic!
I find it painfully counterproductive that I'm masterfully patient when my kids aren't around. However, when they're arguing over who got the more pleasantly shaped dinosaur chicken finger, my years of meditation, progressive relaxation, and Reiki Master training mean absolutely nothing.
Because She Gets Down On The Floor And Plays With My Kids
She gets down on the floor and plays cars with my kids, you guys.
I am going to say something that is not popular with the #mommywars crowd: playing with kids is boring. Of course we love them, and of course we love spending time with them, but driving cars around on a cold floor for hours every day? Not fun, sorry.
My friend, though? Yeah, my friend has fun. Or at least is better at hiding her underwhelm with the constant litany of made up rally race statistics than I am.
Because She's So Positive
She has such an uplifting presence. Not in a fake-just-ignore-the-bad-stuff-and-spiritually-bypass-while-thinking-positively kind of way.
Even when the subject is dark (like, you know, the USA circa 2017) she has a way of turning it into a teachable moment that makes you feel like you can change the world. I would give just about anything for that super power. I tend to be able to sit in the sad with my kiddos, but I'm not too great at making it rosy again. Moms should be able to do that.
Because She Really Listens
I mean she really listens. In retrospect, this is likely one of the things that made me afraid of her at the beginning of our friendship. She listens with her whole attention, while most people barely listen with a quarter of their attention. That means a whole lot of me not being able to hide behind empty platitudes or, more likely for me, jokes.
I can see the tension drain from my daughter's shoulders when her Auntie really listens to her. Because of her constant example, I strive to listen with my whole self to my children. It can be forgotten by adults with so many "important" things to do, but it means the absolute world to the kids.
Because She Has Found Personal Balance
Personal balance is not always attainable as an individual human, let alone a parent who is trying to balance the physical and emotional wellbeing of other tiny humans.
When balance is not possible, it is essential to at least check in with what isn't balanced so that you know what you need to come back to when you have more time and/or emotional energy to re-align. My best friend accomplishes this with grace, humility, and compassion, while encouraging everyone around her to do the same.
Because She Hides Her Hot Mess So Well
Nope. All interesting people are, in some way, a hot mess. She definitely hides it well.
Because She's Diplomatic AF
I've been known to be a little hot under the collar, so I genuinely admire folx who can keep a cool head and still get things done. Even in the midst of political turmoil, that could potentially take her rights away, she stays cool-headed and kind to all sides. Kind of like a more accessible President Barack Obama.
Man, would I love to have that skill with my kids!
Because She's Generous
She dotes on my kids. She gives them gifts like she's their blood relative. We have chosen family in our life that have showed up in ways some of our "real" family has never been able (or in some cases, willing) to do. My darling friend has no "real" obligation to our family, in society's eyes, but she treats my children like their her niblings.
Because She's Not Afraid To Discipline My Kids
A lot of my kid-free friends kind of let my children get away with murder. It's not their fault, really: they aren't sure how to discipline or even if they should discipline someone else's kids. It's also a real bummer to have to turn from fun adult friend into authoritative adult. I get it.
However, my kid-free bestie walks the fine line of always being the favorite adult in the room, while simultaneously not letting them get away with anything. This helpful super skill lets us never question what behavior damage control we'll have to do after she hangs with them for us.
Because She Takes Time For Self Care
Seriously? Just being in the presence of this woman makes me want to do something amazing for myself.
Because She's The Best Auntie Ever
When I asked my 7 year old and 5 year old why their Auntie was my mama role model, they said "Because she's the best Auntie ever."