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Becoming a mom for the first time is an uncertain but rewarding journey. As all journeys are, it’s enhanced when you have trusted friends to keep you company along the way. Here are the types of friends that supported me as I set out into motherhood, making my life a little bit easier:
Her kids are at least five to ten years older than yours. She has already been there, done that, and lived to tell about it. She helps you appreciate the current state of your child's development by relaying stories of her own older children (from what I've heard, teenage girls are a scary tribe making me appreciate my daughter’s current inability to form sentences!) Having a new baby can give you tunnel vision and Experienced Mom will help you keep perspective that no stage lasts forever, not even these days where you feel like all you did was change dirty diapers and clean spit up on the hour, every hour. Because the kids are so much farther apart in age with this mom, play dates are useless. This is a good thing because she will be happy to meet you on her lunch break. She will also be completely understanding of your new baby that cries... a lot... during said lunch break. You've just provided Experienced Mom with a reason to be grateful for her own stage of motherhood!
Other New Mom
Her baby’s birthday is weeks within that of your baby. This mom is still in new-mom awe about everything from pregnancy and childbirth to questioning if the new baby is normal because all he wants to do is stare at the ceiling fan (seriously, babies find them more entertaining than mobiles). The both of you fancy your precious babes to be #babyBFFs as they lay on the play mat together doing absolutely nothing, completely unaware that the other exists. But it doesn't matter because you and New Mom are lost in new love together. Take advantage of the play date opportunities with this one. Your kids probably have the same nap schedule and similar developments, meaning everyone is watching babies do nothing, then everyone is watching babies acquire choking hazards, or army crawl to the stairs and so on. Everybody has a buddy here!
Slightly More Experienced Mom
This mom is in the middle of the aforementioned groups. Her kids are a couple years older than yours. She will provide helpful advice for the stages you will soon experience like sleep training, teething tips, daycare and toddlerhood. Because her kids are moving out of stages your baby is about to enter, she may even be happy to unload some of her baby stuff onto you, making the need to clear out that baby registry null. Bonus!
This gal reminds you of what your life used to be like. This is a good thing! A lot of new moms forget that there is life outside of kids. Just as Experienced Mom reigns in the tunnel vision you have with your baby, so will this friend, but from the other side of the spectrum. Not everyone makes the choice to become a parent and it doesn't mean their life will be any easier or less fulfilling than your own. At the end of each day, we all have our own trials and tribulations as well as joys and celebratory events. Respect her life choices just as she has done with you and your decision to have that tiny loud creature at your hip. What's best to do with this friend? Go OUT! Leave the baby with their father and get out of the house. Get pedicures, do an exercise class, have a childless meal you can eat with both hands while it's hot (you'll understand this later, New Mom, I promise!). But take a moment to have a conversation about what's going on in the rest of the world. It will make you hug that tiny creature all the more fiercely when you return home.