Until she started school, Lily’s friends were children of my friends. Now she’s making friends on her own; and, as a result, I find myself in that awkward stage of trying to meet new moms. Mom friending is a lot like dating. There should be some kind of Tinder-esque app that allows me to swipe left or right based on whether or not we both like Dr. Who or all natural beauty products or double shot venti java chip frappucinos (you can swipe right for me if you like all these things, by the way). This would make for easy-peasy new friend making. Unfortunately, we’re just left to our own awkward devices—which, in turn, has caused us to do some wicked stereotyping.
I personally think that all kinds of moms have great things to bring to the table if you look for them. Let’s take note of a few of those stereotypes:
1. The Crunchy Mom: This mama is a baby food making, #normalizebreastfeeding, organic, free-range style attachment parent. You’ll usually see her walking one child into school while wearing another. She’s a happy hippie homemaker, with happy hippie kids.
Why this mom friend is important: She’s passionate about her beliefs and is really knowledgeable. You can learn a lot from her if you are willing to hear a different perspective. Want your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables? Chances are she’s got a recipe for cupcakes that sneakily uses sweet potatoes and applesauce. She may come off as pushy, but she means well and feels strongly about her ideals.
2. The Type A Mom: This Mom has plans. Spreadsheets. Charts. She carries around a day planner the size of a trapper keeper. (Let’s all take a moment for trapper keeper nostalgia…) She’s never late, and when she says her kids go to bed at 8pm every night, she means it. She has Taco Tuesdays, and family game night. She’s super-involved and super-busy, but she never seems phased by it.
Why this mom friend is important: This Mom has the work/life/school/play balance down pat. Hanging around with her means you’ll never be late to anything, and you’ll always know what’s going on (and when it’s happening). She may seem overbearing, but keeping things organized is what keeps this mama sane—and what helps her ensure that she’s not missing out on precious family time.
3. The Type B/Frazzled Mom: This mommy is the complete opposite of Type A Mom. She’s forgetful, disorganized, and doesn’t mind a mess. When she says she’ll meet you for coffee at 12, she means more like 12:25, and she’s probably going to be in sweatpants. She’s a lot like the Crunchy Mom, but a little less homemaker and little more “I just want to make it through the day.”
Why this mom friend is important: She will tell you to come on over and bring the kids—even if the house looks like a disaster area—because she knows you need a break. She’s a great listener and a beautiful reminder that you can have happy kids without perfection.
4. The Too-Cool Mom: This Mom is super-hip and one who refuses to believe that having a child has to means changing her life completely. She is on-the-go with child in tow. She’s the type of mom who will buy her child hearing protection so she can take him with her to concerts. She knows what all the cool things are (whether it’s on the Pre-k circuit or in Cosmo).
Why this mom friend is important: She is the mom who makes being a mom look cool. She didn’t trade her style in for mom jeans with a positive pregnancy test. If you feel like you’re losing touch with who you were pre-baby, she can help you figure out how to balance you as YOU with you as mom.
5. The Pinterest Mom: This mommy has board after board on Pinterest and actually does them. First day of school gifts for the class? Check. Decorations for every holiday? Check. Ideas for the next 27 birthdays? Check, check. She’s got it covered. This Mom is the craftiest, most DIY woman around, and with her, everything has a theme. She’s the modern-day June Cleaver and makes no apologies for it.
Why this mom is important: She’s always full of ideas. If your child decides she wants to be a cheeseburger for Halloween, this is the mama you can count on for help. She’s got craft supplies and mason jars for DAYS. She’s fun and just wants to make special memories for her children. She doesn’t do anything to one up any other parent; she’s just doing what makes her happy.
6. The Sidelines/School Mom: You will find this mama at every school event or sports game. She may not be a room, PTO, or team Mom, but she’s always there. She won’t miss an event for anything. She’ll be in her camp chair or on the bleachers armed with a camera. She’ll be there rain or shine—even if she has to take off work or skip her lunch break. Why this mom is important: She’s the example of being involved without stressing herself out. She’s perfect for striking up a conversation about the team uniforms or whether or not there will be cake and punch after the kindergarten graduation, but there’s no pressure to hang out outside of school/sports. You can cheer for your kid (and hers) as loud as you want, and she won’t judge.
7. The Mentor Mom: This is the mom that has been there/done that. She usually is juggling at least three or more children in different grades—possibly in different schools—who are all involved in extra-curricular activities to boot. She may even have older kids and a baby at the same time. She’s basically the wise owl of parenting and will usually also be quite a bit like Type A Mom.
Why this mom is important: I’ve never had a five year old before, but this mom has—several times over. She’s dealt with seven thousand fevers, a million pages of homework, and knows the magic to splitting herself into twelve people to get fourteen things done at once (ok…that MAY be a lie). She’s got plenty of sage advice and can often provide several different perspectives.
8. The New Mom/First Time Mom: She’s the one with the 50lb diaper bag, six changes of clothes, and sanitizing wipes (whether she has a newborn or a 9 year old). She asks questions of other moms about a lot of things. (Is this fever high enough for a doctor visit? How do you do common core math?) This is her first time parenting—no matter how long she’s parented her child.
Why this mom is important: She’s a reminder of how scary the first of anything is. You may be finished having children—and have raised several—but for her, every day is something she’s never faced before. She’s a great person to live vicariously through. Just remember: she’s not trying to annoy you with questions. She values your opinions.
9. The Social Media Mom: This mama likes all your photos on Instagram and your status updates on Facebook. She’s got tons of fun pics of her own family, plus she is always sharing those super cute crafts and meals Pinterest Mom creates. She has no intention of actually cooking or making any of it, but she knows other people might. You may NEVER see her in person, but she will always comment, tweet, or re-pin.
Why this mom is important: This mom will always be there for you online but won’t force a “real life” friendship. You can IM her, and she’s nice, funny, friendly, and warm, but like Sideline/School Mom, there’s zero pressure to hang out, schedule play dates, or even talk in person.
10. The Helicopter Mom: This mama is THE worrier. She watches her kids like a hawk on the playground, making sure they don’t get injured (or bullied). In the rare event that she allows a playdate where she cannot attend, she may provide specific instructions (“Cut the grapes into four pieces so she doesn’t choke.”) This is the mama who secretly cheers when her child says, “You’re going to come live with me at college, right mommy?”
Why this mom is important: She may seem overbearing, but it’s because her child is her #1 priority. You know if you leave your child with her that you have nothing to worry about. She’s usually very involved with her children because she wants to be sure they’re safe, successful, and happy. She may enjoy hanging out with Type A Moms and First Time Moms who also likely worry and plan (and who may actually give her a chance to relax a little)!
I feel like I fit into more than one of these, and I’m willing to bet that most of us do. That brings me to my favorite kind of mom friend—the type I hope I collect a million of—the Real Mom. This mom is a healthy combination of some—or all—of the above. She’s real, she’s down to earth, and she knows she’s not perfect (and neither is her kid). She knows parenting is a dice roll every day—sometimes it’s great and sometimes it just plain stinks (literally AND figuratively). This mom is sympathetic, sweet, fun, and hilarious. She’s a little bit of all these moms rolled into one fantastic, new friend package. To all of you moms out there—whether you like venti double shot java chip frappes or not—let’s be friends! Ok? (Swipe right!)