Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mom Friends

I got to thinking today about my abundance of friends: it's a deep pool, with many colourful fish and I am exponentially grateful for that. There are my lifelong friends that I've known since grade school, that know me better than I know myself, that are always there for me, that will take a phone call anytime and who eagerly listened to gross-out pregnancy/childbirth stories with fascination. They are the lifers.
There are friends I've made in university that I keep in touch with, but the geographical distance, and the fact that I don't have that lifelong bond with them has meant we chat on Facebook now and again, but those friends are not lifers. They make me happy and add insight to my public thought, and I appreciate that.
There are friends I've made up North, and they are a unique blend. They are loyal but tentative, as everyone here seems to be on an expiring timetable, not permanent. They are goofy and willing to try anything because hey- we moved up here, didn't we? Some are fellow RCMP wives and they have advice, empathy and humour to get through the tough stuff. That is an amazing resource.
Then, there are my mom friends. None of my lifers are mothers (yet) and most of the time I'm happy with that. They continue to remind who I am, underneath my mom hat. And they do try really hard to understand my mom-gripes, and I appreciate their listening ears. That helps immensely sometimes, to have someone listen and nothing more!
But my mom friends are different. Many became friends because we shared pregnancy and motherhood at similar times. We discuss mom issues: our babies, sleep patterns, food gripes and post-pregnancy bodies. The good ones get at the nitty-gritty of it all with honesty- stark and naked. Those are my favourites: ones that can commiserate, celebrate, laugh and cry over what's real. We also can talk about non-mom things, and we do.
But it's like there's a secret password to get into the club, stripes to be silently earned and unspeakably racked up to gain the benefits of mom friends. The rewards are far worth it: the connection, the sisterhood, the reliable network of support, love and friendship. The password and stripes are having a baby, watching your body balloon back and forth from giant orb to deflated ball, and surviving infancy.
My mom friends are invaluable. They give me confidence to be the best mom I have it in me to be. They have the resources to help answer my questions, reassure me when I'm tentative and calm me when I'm frazzled. And vice versa. We connect on a deeper level as mothers, daughters and friends, all wrapped up into strong women.
I need my lifer and non-mom friends to be balanced. I can't possibly live in a mommy bubble of baby issues all the time. I need my husband and my friends and my family back home to feel like a complete and connected woman.
But if there is one definite perk of motherhood it is the entry into the network of other mothers, young and old, who can become deep and devoted friends in an instant by virtue of having been there themselves.

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