For me, mom friends are so necessary. No one can understand me quite like another mother. We both go through similar milestones, heartaches, and understand mother's guilt like no other. We understand each other at our very cores, even if our experiences are vastly different. So if you ask me, when making mom friends it's important to know your deal breakers, also known as things that'll make or break a potential friendship with another mom. Because let's be honest, just because someone you meet is a mom doesn't automatically make you compatible friends.
Choosing mom friends does come down to comparability. Mom friends are really no different than other friends when it comes to relationships, so you must like each other as people in order to be able to hang out with each other often and as friends. But mom friends add another level to a friendship, in my opinion — a deeper bond of "I know what you're going through." And unfortunately completely different parenting techniques can and usually do sufficiently destroy a relationship. For example, a few years ago my daughter was pretty friendly with another girl in her class. I met the mom and we got along right away. We had numerous playdates until I started noticing that the mom lets her children do anything they please. After numerous playdates at our house, where her kids nearly destroyed my couch and my walls, I said no more. If her children do not respect my property, we cannot hang out (not at my house, at least). So while I enjoyed our friendship for a brief moment, it all came to an abrupt halt and I'm not even a little bit sad over it.
So yes, while mom friends are great and necessary, finding a match can be difficult. I am lucky in that I found a few mom friends who are perfect in almost every way. Sure, we sometimes disagree on some parenting ideas or other general ideas, but overall our friendships are solid. So with that in mind, here are a few things can make or break a friendship with a mom, in my humble opinion:
Her Discipline Style
Everyone's style is different, but if I'm hanging out with a mom who has an incredibly lax discipline style, I may get thoroughly annoyed. For example, some parents believe in "stages" so much that they aren't willing to talk to their kids about what is and isn't appropriate. Sure, many kids go through the biting and pinching stages, but it's up the to the parents to tell their children those things are unacceptable and are not appropriate. If I'm with a parent who just laughs off things like bullying or physical and/or emotional abuse, I will not be too keen on making playdates.
Her Political Affiliation
I already have friends who voted for Trump and let me tell you how difficult it is to maintain those friendships. But I've had these friends for 20 years and I choose to believe in their good hearts because I know them well. However, there is absolutely no way I am starting a new friendship with someone who is completely opposite of me in terms of political and social beliefs. It's hard to even have Facebook "friends" who support the GOP, let alone someone I interact with on a daily basis.
Her Attitude Toward Immunization
If a mother does not "believe" in vaccinations, then I don't believe in a friendship with her. Way too many parents are making the uneducated and devastating choice of not vaccinating their kids. And you know what, I am not playing any games with my kids' health and I'm not taking any risks. If your child is unvaccinated, we will not be friends. It may sound harsh, but it's the truth. If a mom needs further proof that vaccines work, why doesn't she tell me when the last polio outbreak was? Yep, thought so.
Her Overall Parenting Style
Is she a helicopter parent who runs after her kid at the playground? If so, our friendship (or "momship") may not work out. I have absolutely nothing against helicopter parents, or granola parents, or whatever other kind of parents one chooses to be, but if we are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum, it may be too tough and too much effort to be friends. Plus, I don't want to run around the playground chasing your kid, so thanks, but no thanks.
As with all people, the mom's personality matters. Does she spend the entire play date discussing other people? Is she constantly critiquing other moms? Is she competitive? Judgmental? Or is she super interesting and prefers to have a great and lively conversation about topics of substance? The personality matters for sure.
Sometimes one's partner may not be my cup of tea. And that's totally possible because I am not everyone's cup of tea either. So if the mom's partner is not someone I want to hang around with, our friendship may not work out. Listen, life is short and unlike with your family, you get to choose friends, so why would I choose friends I don't want to hang out with?
Her Sharing Policy
How do you feel about sharing? Because I am pretty particular. You see, I think kids should share but not without some limitation. Children should know the value of sharing with others, but they should not be forced to share. Children should share only if they want to and after they are completely done playing with whatever it is they are playing with. I refuse to rip a toy out of my kid's hand and hand it to the other child, so don't expect me to. Some people think my attitude is wrong, and that is their prerogative, but I like raising kids who are responsible for and are aware of their possessions.
If I love a mom and our kids don't get along, then what? I've been lucky enough that my friends' kids and my kids get along (for the most part). But what if they didn't? Since our lives revolve so much around our children and since our children are pretty much always with us, it'd be pretty difficult to be friends with a person whose kid's do not get along with my kids. I guess a friendship could work in terms of girls' nights out, but it would pretty much stop there. I refuse to put my child in a situation where she feels uncomfortable or excluded just to hang out with some adults.
Her Attitude Toward Coffee, Wine, & Cheese
My mom friends must love coffee, wine, and cheese. That is all.
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