When I was pregnant with my first child, I was teaching school in a classroom exclusively for kids with autism. One of my co-workers was an experienced mom of three kids, two of whom were twins. She wasn't only a wealth of knowledge but a source of inspiration. She helped induct me into the "mom club" and quickly became a valuable mentor. She (probably) has no idea the impact she had on me a decade ago.
Over the years, I've been fortunate to have been exposed to many moms from many walks of life. I haven't always agreed with their methods or ideas, but I've gained insight and wisdom from all of them. They've always left me thinking about how to be the best mom I can be.
Here are a few of the Mom Friends I've run across:
- The Pregnant Mom --She has stars in her eyes and a parenting manual in her hand. You're kind enough to not tell her that everything she's reading will go out the window after the baby arrives. You secretly laugh at her "birth plan," because you already know that each delivery is its own unique experience that you cannot "plan" for. This mom reminds you of the magic of expecting kids. You get nostalgic remembering your own late night cravings and hormone swings.
- The New(er) Mom --She has kids ranging from baby to toddler to pre-school. This mom is the one we constantly refer to as "being in the trenches" -- the moms who look and feel like zombies because of middle of the night feedings & potty training escapades. New(er) moms are constantly analyzing developmental milestones and helping their little ones become their own people. These moms are great to be around because they enjoy wearing yoga pants 24/7 and look forward to bedtime so they can enjoy watching some Netflix before falling into a dead sleep at 9pm. Hang out with a new mom and you can reminisce about how cool you "used to be" before children. These women will tell you how awesome it is to be a mom and truly mean it. They will also be the ones to discover PDO and it will be life-changing.
- The "Mentor" Mom --She has kids a few years older than yours and can easily remember the toddler years but is currently entrenched in the elementary/ middle / high school drama. She might be a bit jaded when it comes to parenting little ones but tries to encourage and respond to the New Mom worries. She's always ready with a great suggestion or listening ear. This mom wants to tell New Mom it'll get easier but she's wiser and knows that it doesn't really. Older kids just bring about different challenges -- like puberty, dating, and academic requirements. The Mentor Mom is the one with a taxi sign on top of her newly acquired mini van. She can be found multitasking on the side lines of some sort of sporting event, chugging a Spark and creating sign-up geniuses for her kids' class. The Mentor Mom is a good friend to have too because she most likely has kids old enough to babysit, which allows you to put on jeans and makeup and go out together. The Mentor Mom knows the importance of "me" time and embraces her circle of friends fiercely.
- The Empty Nester -- This mom has kids either in college or who are about to be. They've done it all and can see how their children are turning out. The Empty Nester questions every parenting decision, yet accepts that they did the best that they could. She enjoys being around the "younger" moms, witnessing the day-to-day stuff of parenting littles, maybe even wishing that was still her. But then she remembers that she really enjoys getting a full, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep each night. This mom may find herself dating her husband again. The Empty Nester inspires the New & Mentor moms, reminding them there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the importance of pursing our own interests and careers. Empty Nester moms can been seen crying into their tissues, either because they miss their children or they've received the college tuition bill in the mail. These moms are great to have on speed dial, because they're always available to grab a coffee without needing to arrange for Dad to be home or a babysitter.
- The Grandma --- Today it's easy to fluff-off the wisdom of the "older generation" because things were "so different" back then, but don't be so quick to discount what a seasoned mom has to say. Grandmas are the epitomy of the saying "the days are long, but the years are short." Grandmas have a unique roll --- they can still have quite a strong influence on the kids, but also are not officially the parents (in most cases). These moms don't bar hop, but they might take your kids treat-hopping, jumping from ice cream store to donut store to the local cupcake shop. The Grandma feels no guilt over-indulging her sweethearts. Every mom needs a Grandma for sound advice, realizing that the conveniences of today aren't necessarily convenient, and to stop stressing about the little stuff. The Grandma has a wealth of knowledge and the legendary family cookbook. She is surely a blessing to all other moms.
Wait! There's one more...
Every woman needs the "Not-A-Mom" --the one friend who is not a parent at all. We need that woman who we can live vicariously through when she's heading to the bar at 10pm and we're heading to bed. These are the friends who keep us up to date on the current clothing styles and remind us to get our eyebrows waxed STAT. Not-A-Mom knows who's who and where the trendy restaurants are. These ladies help us stay grounded as to who we were before we had kids. They help remind us that there's more to life than just our child(ren)--gasp!