Momma Friends

Posted on | February 26, 2011 | 11 Comments

I think I’ve said it before but being a mom is like being a member of a secret society.  You can find kindred spirits almost anywhere. You know them by the worn circles under their eyes, the exasperated sighs on their lips.  You recognize the ketchup stains on their shirt and the dried snot on their pants.  Moms just… get other moms.

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting in my upstairs neighbor’s apartment and just… being a mom with her.  We told stories, we laughed about things that only moms would get, we just… got each other.  And to be honest, we probably realistically couldn’t be more dissimilar.  I’m a very structured, Ann Taylor kind of person and she is very free-spirited, funky thrift store finds.    So outside the mother realm, we might never be friends.  She’d probably think I was incredibly dull.  But inside the mother realm, she and I had so very much in common.  We bonded over two, count them TWO, bottles of wine and stories about our little blue pill friends and our music playing husbands.

Isn’t it funny who you find that gets you, now?  Isn’t it amusing that someone you’ve known your whole life might fade into the background because even though you’ve been through almost everything together, you just can’t connect now that one of you has kids? And yet, someone you might never have spent time with just two short years ago could sit next to you at a table and you could simultaneously spill your souls to one another because… you just get it.  You both just get it.  The secret is? Motherhood is hard.  Sure, you know that. Sure, people tell you that and you read it in magazines.  But until you look down into the eyes of someone you’ve only just met and realized that this person, this tiny human being, expects you to bend over sideways, backwards, and six degrees from Sunday for them and, hello? You just met them five seconds ago? You just can’t understand. You just can’t. It’s not possible.

Being a mother is hard.  But the best part is that for the most part, we’re all in it together.  The rah rah cheerleader chick you knew in high school who was so freaking cool and hard to get along with because everyone wanted to be her? She struggled with motherhood.  The artsy drama student with the too-black hair and the lip ring? She struggled with motherhood.  The prim and proper Suzy Homemaker who baked cookies for the whole class on Valentine’s Day? Yep. She struggled too.  None of us were born mothers.  No matter what people say or write or pretend, EVERYONE struggles with taking on a new identity. Nothing can prepare you for it. But the best news is? That means that you, Suzy Homemaker, Artsy Drama Student, and Rah Rah Cheerleader are all one and the same.  Motherhood is the great equalizer.

I learned a lot about my neighbor today.  She is a strong, amazing mother who struggles with so many of the same things I struggle with.  She tells ridiculously funny stories and she laughs like my old college roommate.  She has awesome dredlocks and she is an amazing artist.  I have absolutely NONE of those qualities even though I always wanted to be more artsy. But you know what we found out? We both struggled with seeing bugs.

Don’t laugh.

When you’re a sleep deprived mom, your mind plays tricks on you.  Both of us were the unhappy recipients of many a bug hallucination.  Roaches on walls that weren’t there, spiders hanging in mid-air that were also… not there.  Bugs. Big. Black. Bugs. Everywhere.  And you know what? I love that about her.  I love that I could sit in a room with another woman and share, in full honesty, that I used to see bugs that weren’t there and not have her judge me.  How many times, as a female, can you do that? How many times can you admit a flaw without having another female hone in on it and use it for ammunition later?

I love that as moms, we can just support each other.  We can just be sympathetic and honest and smart with each other.  We can just get each other.  It’s what is so important about having “Momma Friends.” We need that. We need other women who get us; women who say “Yep. Been there” even when we are talking about our darkest times.  If nothing else (and there is SO much other stuff I love) I love that becoming a mother has made me believe that I’m okay, just as I am.  I don’t need anyone else to tell me that I’m awesome… I feel okay saying that I struggle on a daily basis.  I feel okay saying that I’m not perfect.  I feel okay saying that I used to see bugs that weren’t there and that I was not-so-secretly afraid that my kid saw ghosts in his nursery.  And I love that being a mom makes it more than okay for me to share two bottles of wine with an amazing woman that I might not have known otherwise.


11 Responses to “Momma Friends”

  1. Alex's Mommy
    February 26th, 2011 @ 4:10 am

    OMG, I thought I was the only one that saw phantom bugs on the walls! Yay to feeling not so crazy!

  2. Bee
    February 26th, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    Thank you!! I got it! I am also a lawyer and a mum and I also saw bugs! Everything you said is so true. I love being a mum. Thanks. 🙂

  3. SBJ
    February 26th, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    Thank you for writing this! As a non-mom, I’ve often felt like a jerk when my now-mom friends and I drifted. Somehow, it’s comforting to know it’s common and not personal…

  4. Lizzie
    February 26th, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    This post makes me want to reach out across the Internet and give you a big hug. I’m glad you made a new friend that you might otherwise have overlooked. But to me, it underscores how much you stuggle with motherhood and identity and adjusting to the changes that J brought into your life. And if I were sitting next to you, even though I don’t know you, I would just want to give you a hug tell you that it doesn’t have to be so hard. It really, really doesn’t. And it makes me sad that you struggle so much, and that you seem to veiw life through the goggles of the hardships of motherhood, instead of through the goggles of the wonder of motherhood.

  5. Law Momma
    February 26th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    Lizzie: I definitely think motherhood is a wonderful thing. I LOVE being a mom and want to have another child someday. But I also think that a lot of times on the internet and in real life, it’s easy to gloss over all the tough things. I never want anyone to feel like they are the first or only person to go through something tough in motherhood… so I tend to focus on those things. But you are absolutely right, motherhood is a gift and it’s one I truly treasure. Honestly. 🙂

  6. Leighann
    February 27th, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    So true.
    The friends who don’t have kids are slowing fading out of our life. They don’t get it.

    I think my daughter waves to ghosts all the time.
    It freaks me out.

  7. Heather
    February 27th, 2011 @ 2:23 am

    I’ve been having horrible anxiety lately… I used to think I wanted to have 2 kids, now I’m kinda scared because I don’t think I’m handling one very well.

    On Thursday, I drove out to visit my friend in Queens (I live in NJ) who had a baby around Christmas and just had her 2 month vaccines and was cleared to be around a germy 14 month-old. It was hard for me in a way, especially because I had PPD and she is SOOO together at 2 months, it makes me feel even *more* guilty that I sucked so much…. but on the other hand, it was nice to get out, and be around someone else who is in the “club”. The anxiety lifted a bit when I was out and about and being with another mom.

    I love my friends who don’t have kids, they are very understanding and I’m lucky in that I don’t think we *are* drifting apart. But still, they see my daughter and don’t quite know what to do and how to react. It’s still me, on duty, the whole time — trying to balance mom-mode and friend-mode.

    I hope I can find someone who is really close by (I live my friend in Queens, but getting stuck in Rush Hour traffic with a hungry toddler on the Cross-Bronx to cross the Hudson River is a bit of a drag…) who I can connect with. Because I think it’s the solidarity that’s a big part of my anxiety lately.

    In RantsFromMommyland-speak… I am a Lydia (complete with yoga pants), and I need to find a Kate… stat 🙂

  8. Tami
    February 27th, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

    Thanks for making me sound so cool!

    I’m so thrilled to hear other people have seen the “bugs”, I didn’t tell anyone for years because I had visions of being sent to a turn of the last century insane asylum.

    New friends and aging wine!!! Ahhhhhh

    Love this community of honest moms!

  9. Bunkie Burke Rivkin
    February 27th, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    Enjoyed, I recognize one of the Moms, she is my amazing daughter-in-love, a wonderful Mom, artist, business woman, truly one of my heroes. She married my music playing son and gave me the most precious gift anyone could, my beautiful, youngest granddaughter. Wish we had blogs when I was a Mother of two sons.

  10. Mom Went Crazy
    February 28th, 2011 @ 3:52 am

    I completely understand this!! My former best friend, just didn’t understand after I had kids. We completely drifted apart. It was strange and sad, but I’ve opened up a whole new group of friends

  11. Anne R.
    February 28th, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

    Your words ring true, as always–great post!!

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