The more the merrier—solid advice when you’re organizing house parties, making cheese plates and, IMHO, building a mama tribe. We’re hosting a birthday bash for Max next month, so I’m sipping coffee, trolling websites for healthy smash cakes, and feeling grateful for friends who offered support, wisdom and much-needed laughter during my first year as a mom.
Motherhood brings all the feels (love and frustration aplenty), and—to top it off—an ambitious learning curve: How do I make my babe sleep? Calm his cries? Cure his croup? Google provides technical answers, sure, but the best support (in my opinion) comes from mama friends who understand, offer a different point of view, and/or make a Sunday brunch reservations to get me outta the house and into a pile of pancakes.
Mothering looks different for each of us, and I’ve learned so much about motherhood from befriending mamas who do the whole mom-thing a little differently than I do. Presenting, five mama friends to have on your speed dial:
- 5-Star Review Mama – This mom spent her pregnancy studying child development, and she knows the latest research on everything from baby appropriate foods to ultra-safe car-seats. She follows the advice of the AAP and child development specialists to a T, and she shares her knowledge with her new mama club (she’s the president), the local PTA (she advocates for quality education), and with her friends via texts, emails and calls (gotta let everyone know about the Mamaroo!). If you have a question—about diapers or bottles or that new contraption called the gummy light—this girl’s got answers.
- The Second-Time Mama – A second-time mama once told me that I can’t make a baby sleep, but I can create an environment conducive to sleeping. Do you follow? I can darken the room, rock the babe and sing a lullaby, but the little love will decide whether to take the bait and visit the land of nod. This friend o’ mine has a couple babies of her own, and she knows, first-hand, that each baby comes with a unique personality and temperament. There’s not one trick that will work every time with every baby, and so she advocates patience, variety and giving yourself a whole lotta grace as you figure it out.
- The ‘You’re Doing the Best You Can’ Mama – Let’s say you’re in an itty-bitty café when your LO starts screaming and hollering for food. Thinking fast, you offer yogurt drops and Sophie the Giraffe. Your bean is almost calm when her eyes start to water and the air around her begins to smell like a port-o-potty. Into your arms she goes, and the two of you head into the tiniest bathroom in the world. So tiny, in fact, that you have to change her on the cold cement floor ‘cause there truly isn’t room for a changing table. The hard floor makes her scream louder and louder while your coffee gets cold. Needless to say, you’re feeling defeated. What do you do? Call the mama who’s going to assure you that a) everything will be OK, and b) the two of you (mom+babe) will be better for having gotten through this together. You might feel judged at the market and the café and the park, but this mama knows you’re doing your best and reminds you of that. Keep on doing you.
- The ‘Remember to Fill Your ‘Me’ Tank’ Mama – This mama calls you up to suggest getting a sitter, heading out for the day and chatting about anything (everything) other than le bébé for a bit. This mama has a big, loud love for her little, but she knows it’s important to invest time and energy into her ‘me tank’ by doing the non-kid related things that make her feel alive. Time with this mother is an instant recharge and refresh. Come Saturday, the two of you leave the babes with the hubs (or the in-laws or a sitter) and then spend the day doing non-kid-focused things for an hour or three.
- The ‘Focus on the Fundamentals’ Mama – Building a family is a full time job, and the commitment means saying yes to more laundry, more appointments, more cuddles, more feedings, more work and more worry. This mama reminds you that the hardship is part of the magic: We can’t get to the cuddles and the coos without changing the diapers and calming the cries. When things feel harder than normal, this mama reminds you how much your little one loves you and that building a family is worth all the challenges. When we focus on the fundamentals—being together and building loving families—the little things don’t feel quite so hard.