Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen

Actually, I Don't Like Having "Mom Friends"

Ad failed to load

I don't go out of my way to make friends with other moms. I used to. I used to believe that I could somehow be close friends with most people who were parents, especially if our children were friends because, in my head, what other things would we need in common? Weren't our children enough? Unsurprisingly, I learned the hard way that just because you have children, and another woman has children, doesn't mean you'll be friends, or that you even have to be friends. To be honest, I don't like having "mom friends." And I'm absolutely OK with that. When I was a younger mom with two young children in tow, I was so desperate for friendship that I was really willing to be friends with anyone. Even with women who talked behind each other's backs all the time. I settled on these friendships, accepting that, perhaps, this was just all a part of parenthood, befriending women you had nothing in common with because your children get along.

Slowly, I've learned that's absolutely not the case.

Perhaps it's because I became a mom at 21, or perhaps it's because I hate what parenthood is shown as, but I've just never been able to catch on to moms' groups, or moms' night out. I've resisted labeling myself as just "mom," and letting everything follow from there. I've noticed that I also resist the people that just use that term. If I go out, I just treat it as just going out for a drink and dancing. If I hang out with my friends, it's me just hanging out with my friends. My identity is not wrapped up in my role as a mother. And that's why I do not go out of my way to make mom friends. I rely solely on interest and passions to connect with people. Not my children.

Ad failed to load
How was I supposed to connect with people if all we talked about was our babies?

When I was a younger parent, I joined so many moms' groups out of obligation. What surprised me was how exclusive they seemed to be, as opposed to being inclusive, especially for new mothers like me. I remember getting an email saying I basically needed to audition to be part of this group and although I didn't agree with that, or how it made me feel, I felt like it was important for me to be around my like-minded women and for my daughter to make friends her age. But every meet-up I'd go to, I found myself sitting there awkwardly, making small talk about what my daughter liked to eat, what she enjoyed doing, and what her bedtime should be. I found this terribly boring and frustrating.

Ad failed to load

How was I supposed to connect with people if all we talked about was our babies? And at that point, our babies could barely even communicate with us! So I left the group. But what followed was a string of different mom "friend" groups. I sat with women who would destroy other moms at the park, and when I tried to object, they laughed it off. So I distanced myself. I couldn't find my footing when there was so much pressure to find friends who identified as moms first and then women second. And putting that pressure on myself to identify like that wasn't helping things at all. Eventually, I met a few women who just happened to be mothers, but the difference was that they were my friends first and foremost. Our children weren't what made us who we were. They weren't who we based our friendship on. Our kids came second, and we came first.

I was a woman first before I ever became a mother. It's really important for me to remember that.

It's not that women who are more children-focused can't be wonderful friends. I've met so many women over the years who identify as that and they've been amazing friends to me. I just find myself struggling to connect with them on a level that I need for my friendships when I put so much pressure on being friends as moms. I find myself befriending more people without children and connecting with them much easier.

Ad failed to load

I hate that our culture measures our worth as parents by how many activities we've enrolled our children into, how many hours we've logged driving them to their different practices, and whether or not we've joined the PTA. I hate the idea of my children running my home and determining how I spend my time to the point that they influence who I'm friends with. I was a woman first before I ever became a mother. It's really important for me to remember that.

Even though I don't go out in search of mom friends, I do have mom friends. And they're rad. They're women I've connected with before they had children or I even had kids. I connected with them based on their art, their ideas, and the ways they live their lives. It's always a bonus finding out someone you're befriending is also a parent, but a parent who's similar to you, who hasn't stopped drinking at bars, or quit going out dancing simply because of their children, who hasn't built their life around their child's schedule, who doesn't fall by the wayside so that their kid can dominate every hour of the day.

Ad failed to load

Sometimes, with these friends, we hang out with our children, but mostly without. We eat brunch alone. We work on projects. We talk about ourselves, about what TV shows we're into, what books we're reading. And every once in awhile we mention what our 7 year old is doing, but mainly we commiserate over how much money we're losing because of all the teeth our children have lost. Once I limited myself to befriending only women who were also raising children, but I've learned that my role as a parent doesn't stop me from having friends who don't have children.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik