What does the working mom, the stay-at-home mom, the granola mom, the helicopter mom, the mom who lets her kids eat processed foods (gasp), the breastfeeding mom, the step mom… OK EVERY mom have in common?
They all have a really hard job.
Not because they’re running late and traffic is at a standstill.
Not because their baby didn’t latch.
Not because it takes time to sterilize and puree the food, then bottle it and clean everything just to start over.
Not because she spilled her last golden bottle of formula and has none left in the cabinet and it’s 2am.
Not because she has three kids and one is on the slide while the other is making its way to the street and another is trying to climb a tree.
Not because some kid next to hers is at the doctor’s office, coughing up a lung and watching Nick Jr on their iPad and she DEFINITELY doesn’t allow screens or vaccinations so this is getting sketchy, quick.
But because if you are a good mom… one that gives a shit… it’s HARD.
At the end of the day, we all have to wrangle our children for bed and find the one bottle of wine that hasn’t soured no matter what went on in the other hours of the day.
The ONLY thing that matters is that you tried. That the only person you compare yourself to, is yesterday YOU.
Yesterday YOU was tired, overwhelmed, pulled up on the wrong side of the gas tank AGAIN and forgot to buy the specific yogurt, the ONLY yogurt your child will eat.
Comparing and competition are the demise of mom friendships as we know it. We are all so wildly insecure about our abilities, about how a complete stranger in Target will perceive us if our child decides to choose that particular day to throw a tantrum for a piece of candy, about whether or not we choose organic or if we glide seamlessly into stay-home life over working-life and feel guilty that we didn’t really knock either “job” out of the park (or God forbid prefer working over staying home).
We cannot do it all if we are going by some list of rules that we think are written somewhere, hidden in a secret garden of know-how that we were not privy to or worthy of. By being THE best instead of OUR best.
I did a questionnaire about a week ago to learn about other moms that I don’t get the chance to see regularly. I asked a series of mom-related questions and just womanhood inquiries in general and it was fascinating to see how many of us have the same worries, fears, battles and the ONE question/answer that stuck out was this one…
And you know what I saw the most of?
I watch woman after woman respond how they have found it depressingly difficult to cultivate and maintain friendships as adults. These were working women, women with kids, without… all of them had the same problem.
Do you want to know why it is that you can’t make friends? Why when you meet them and everyone smiles and jokes and you think you’re hitting it off and then they ghost you?
Because of you.
Plain and simple it’s our own faults. There are levels to this, however.
- If we are working so hard to be a good mother. To balance our lives and make sure that we don’t have mom-guilt 20 seconds after putting our kids to bed… we are exhausted by day’s end. We fear putting time and energy into another human being we did not pick to mate with or create from our loins, only to realize they are night owls that want to go for drinks every other minute when all we REALLY want to do is text about the bitch in the car-rider line from the comfort and safety of our pajama/couch/wine combo. Finding like-minded friends is NOT what it was in college when we didn’t have other lives dependent on us or a spouse that we need to communicate with.
- We are not that nice. We are judgmental and have our few friends that mesh well and understand us and inviting someone else into the circle, makes us territorial. Yes, even adult women are territorial about their friends, about where they stand and what they represent in that group of friends. It’s like its own ecosystem and if you have too much of a certain thing, and something similar but seemingly better comes along, it’s a threat. And ain’t nobody got time for that. Alternately – when we are on the friend search, and find one, we are not so inviting when we see another mama out at sea, looking for an ore (friend… looking for a friend). Instead of reaching out, we offer snobby advice and turn our heads.
- And this is the big one – nobody wants to get caught up in your hangups. Raising tiny humans can make you sniff out the bullshit REAL quick. In other words… we avoid friendships that are too much work! And honestly, we should. Friendships that become HARD work – eventually become toxic. Toxic relationships are poison in your life and can make an already difficult job of momming, that much more arduous.
We try so hard to impress one another – using social media as a platform to reel in likes instead of presenting our true selves. Why do we need to be more, just to make friends? To go off of #3… if it becomes work to get someone to like us, THEY are not worth the effort. Alternately, if the only way you feel satisfied in a friendship is how it progresses according to your guidelines… you’re shooting yourself in the foot. If you want someone to accept you, you need to be accepting and know that not everyone is going to operate the way you do.
Women are complicated creatures already but mothers are even more so. We are spinning many plates, racing back and forth to ensure none come crashing down and the expectations we place on ourselves are ridiculously unfair – the expectations we create for our potential friends are even more unfair. So, be thankful for the women in your life that accept you – regardless if they were your first-round draft pick and be the kind of friend you want in return.
And remember, today YOU has the opportunity to find what makes you whole and confident within yourself – a TRULY confident woman is an aphrodisiac for other women.