She just gets it. When everything is going wrong, and you are about to pull your hair out (or scream at your kid in the cereal aisle, like all those moms you swore you would never be), you can call her. She’ll pick up, she’ll listen, and she’ll trade a story of her own that will make everything you’re going through feel manageable and — more importantly — normal. She doesn’t have judgment for you, she knows that you’re trying your best, and all those people staring at you while your kid screams like a banshee in Starbucks and you try to get your coffee and leave as quickly as possible — they don’t get it. They haven’t been there, and you can’t expect them to sympathize with what you’re going through. But she’s been there, and she knows just what to say.
It’s not that you can’t have friends who have no kids (we all do, and they’re great!) but you have to have that one girl who is a mom, too. She gets the huge changes in your life, as well as the love and priorities you have in your life now that you didn’t before. She won’t say that she knows what you’re going through because she has a dog, or ask why you can’t just come out on a Thursday night at a moment’s notice. She knows that a child is not the same as any pet, and that no longer being able to leave without carefully organizing with the babysitter is just part of the baby equation. She’ll leave the kids with her husband for a bit, come over with a bottle of white, and sit on your couch to talk while your kids play (or, God willing, sleep quietly) in the other room.
Because she knows that sometimes, that’s all you really need. Just a glass of wine, a comfy couch, an hour or two of peace, and someone to talk to. Someone you can laugh about diapers and day cares and snobby moms and balancing everything with work and what is left of your social life, and she’s the one who can make it all funny again and make you realize just how much you have to be thankful for. Because sometimes, when you’re hanging out with your childless friends, it’s easy to feel like you’re the old, boring grown-up in a group of fun people. But when you’re with her, you understand that this is just a different part of life, and it comes with its own messes — yes, sometimes literal — but it comes with a lot of joys. It’s a trade-off, and sometimes only she can put it in perspective.
She gets that kids are expensive. She gets that sometimes they have to come first, regardless of what else is going on, and that’s not negotiable. Sometimes plans have to be cancelled because your child has an ear infection, and sometimes cocktails are not an option, because that money could be put towards formula. She sees where your priorities have changed, and she doesn’t make you feel like you’re a bad person for changing.
So this is a thank you, to that friend who knows exactly what it means to be a mom, and loves you in all your frazzled, spit-up-on-your-best-shirt messiness. This is a small token of appreciation for the friend who understands how much a little pep talk can help, and who knows that the most wonderful thing she can do sometimes is pick up your kid and take him outside to calm down while you finish paying at the register. Because being a mom is a scary, crazy, wonderful, beautiful thing, and the only way we’re going to survive it is with those amazing mom friends who make it all make sense. Thank you, girls, you’re more important than you’ll ever know.