It’s no secret that being a mom is hard work. And while it’s a well known fact, I don’t think true understanding comes until you have been a mom yourself. Because while you might notice the struggles a mom has in a two hour coffee date or while babysitting for a few hours, the weight of being fully responsible for a child is not something you can feel until you have been there. All the mamas are nodding in agreement when I say it’s just plain hard sometimes. And I bet they will also nod in agreement when I say we wouldn’t trade it for anything. (Except some days maybe I do dream about laying on a beach somewhere without a care in the world). We just love our babies to the nth degree, and they pretty much consume most of our time. And while we wouldn’t change it, it’s true that we still have needs— we need time for ourselves, and we need time with friends. But the truth is, we don’t just need any friends. We need the right friends. Because time with the wrong type of friends can leave us more exhausted than we were before. While every mom is entirely unique, here’s what every mom needs in a friend.
Moms need a good listener. Many of us (especially the stay-at-home moms) spend our days listening to our babies and playing a massive game of trial and error trying to figure out what they need at any given moment. We often have a million things swirling around in our heads, and yet we don’t always have someone to process with. We can easily feel lonely and isolated when are left to our own thoughts. Just hanging out with other people is not enough—we need to socialize with intention. The time we have is so limited that it honestly just cannot be spent on social flares that are not worth it. We need (and even crave) depth that we do not often get while at home with a crying baby. We genuinely need someone to listen and give us the space to process our feelings, share our parenting fears, and celebrate our mom wins. What every mom needs in a friend is someone who will listen, and do it without being distracted. (Because being a mom literally consists of three thousand distractions every single day).
Moms need a giver. Why? Because we give, give, give, all day long. Any other moms out there make it to 3pm only to realize you haven’t finished your morning coffee and you never made lunch for yourself? Yea, that’s real life sometimes. We pour ourselves out and don’t realize how empty we are until we reach a breaking point. I know that I even find myself giving like crazy to my other mom friends and showing up for them as much as I can, without realizing just how drained I am myself. I recently had a friend of mine (she isn’t a mom yet) comment on my friendship with another mom. She said, “Laura, she is a taker. You show up for when she needs it, but she never shows up for you.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Not because I feel overly deserving or entitled, but simply because it was true. As moms, we need to look out for each other and give to one another. We, of all the people, should never take advantage of one another or have one-sided friendships, because we know all too well what it’s like to be exhausted. I don’t say that to say that we need to demand that others give, but to say this: what moms don’t need is a taker. If you are a mom, and you have people in your life who are constantly taking from you, I encourage you to take a step back and establish healthy boundaries. Find other mom friends who care for you as much as you care for them, or find friends who aren’t moms that do that! What every mom needs in a friend is a giver, not a taker!
Moms need an observer. Have you ever wished that someone would just notice that you are drowning? Me too. I think moms really need friends who are observant. We need friends that we don’t have to remind how exhausted we are or that we are desperate for a cup of coffee. I have one friend who will often just show up with a cup of coffee in hand and it blesses me beyond words. Because sometimes I feel like I am drowning—in both exhaustion and loneliness—and she notices both of those things. Every mom needs a friend like that. A few weeks ago when I had surgery, this friend was as observant as they get. She noticed how hard it was to be on crutches with a 10 month old baby. She noticed that I was lonely, so she hung out with me. She noticed that I was overwhelmed by the mess in my kitchen, so she cleaned it for me. She noticed that I needed to get out of the house, so she helped me get out. She noticed. What every mom needs in a friend is someone who notices.
Moms need a lover. What I mean is, what every mom needs in a friend is someone that loves her baby. It can be pretty overwhelming to hang out with people that are not into your little one. Hanging out with people who are crazy about our babies tends to take the load off of us—at least a little bit. Because when someone is crazy about your baby, they are way more likely to hold them, engage them in activities, play with them, and distract them from their fun-sized frustrations. Having friends that are crazy about our babies is also important because we, as mamas, feel very protective of our little ones. If we can sense that someone isn’t really into our precious baby, it can really stress us out. And a stressful hangout isn’t good for anyone. We don’t want to spend our hangouts apologizing for every little thing our babies do. Every mom needs a friend that is absolutely in love with her baby and shows it in their actions.
Moms need a caregiver. And what I mean by that is that every mom needs a friend who will offer to help out and give mama a little break. Every mom needs a friend who will watch her baby for her to take a shower, hold her baby so she can eat her lunch, and watch her baby during nap time so she can go out and have a moment of peace. What every mom needs is a moment to herself, and she needs friends that are observant enough to notice, giving enough to make it happen, and love her baby(s) enough that the mom isn’t stressed out leaving. A solo shower, quick trip to a coffee shop, or hair appointment (because we need help) is often all it takes to help us reset! We just need the extra hands and loving hearts to help us make it happen.
What every mom needs in a friend is simply for people to care. Listening, noticing, giving, and serving are all bi-products of people simply caring! We are not victims as mamas, but we are exhausted, and we do need a little extra love sometimes!