When my son was born I was 33, married 8 years, and had been employed by the same company for 7 years. Most of the people I’m lucky enough to call friends have been in my life in some capacity for the last 10+ years, some going as far back as 27 years. I have a small but diverse group of friends. Some are married, some are single, some have quite a few children while others have none. The marital or reproductive status of my friends has absolutely no impact on my relationship with them.
I do not understand this seemingly recent push for women who have children to gather “mom-friends.” What is a mom-friend? Is it a friend who is also a mom? Is it a friend who acts like your mom? Is it your mom’s friend?
The fact that two adult women have reproduced and have children that are roughly the same age does not guarantee compatibility, let alone friendship. When my son started pre-school, I met a few very nice ladies whose children were in the same class. I enjoyed chatting with them at pick up or drop off. As luck would have it, our kids didn’t really click and never requested to get together outside of school. What I didn’t do is try to crow-bar our kids together because I needed to meet “mom-friends.” On the flip-side, the first year our son played t-ball he hit it off with one of his teammates and I (and my husband) really hit it off with his teammate’s mom and dad.
Now, that said, I’m lucky to have a few friends who have children around the same age as my son. This is what I refer to as a happy coincidence, I knew them before they or I had children. My relationship with them is not based nor hinged on the fact that either of us has a child. I realize my situation is somewhat unique, I’ve lived in the same region for most of my life and have only worked for a handful of companies since graduating college. I’ve had a pretty stationary life thus far.
I feel like this whole “mom-friend” thing is just giving women another silly thing to obsess about and worry over. Same with all these articles about tribes and holy grail neighborhoods. I mean really? C’mon. I cannot adequately state how important support and friendship is for everyone – not just “moms” – but I don’t require a tribe nor a magical street to live on to carry out my daily parenting tasks or feel fulfilled as a person. It’s like those viral videos you see about the varied mom stereotypes, e.g. hot-mess mom, working mom, pajama mom, etc. Oh no, which mom am I??? Who cares? Well, I guess I’m the “Who cares?” mom. My son just started kindergarten and it would be lovely that when he makes friends that I (and/or my husband) also really like the friends’ parents – but that may not be the case and that’s fine – because I do not want to be anyone’s “mom-friend” but I’d love to meet new, like-minded people and if their kid can play with my kid, even better!
I’m not saying that people with children don’t need friends. And I’m not trying to downplay how isolating it can be to have young children (I KNOW), especially when you’re new to an area. But as I’ve written before, This is something I mom-wrote…, I cannot stand this recent trend of quantifying things with a “mom” prefix.
Perhaps some folks only have the means to socialize and meet other adults through playgrounds or meet up groups. Maybe you met a wonderful friend by taking your kids to the library. The impetus of you meeting that friend may have been your kids
(otherwise you may not have been at the library) but beyond that, didn’t you click with that person? Didn’t something about that individual make you say “I like this person. I’d like to get to know them.” Maybe it was their sense of humor or love of coffee, maybe they were reading a book by an author you love. I’m sure you didn’t think “She is a mom. Now she is my friend.” It would be just as absurd to dismiss someone because they don’t have children.
Can we stop with the juvenile titles? If my husband gets along with another father you don’t refer to them as “dad-buds” or maybe you do, I don’t know. Make friends, make connections, enjoy the company of others based on something other than the fact that you both have children, please. You owe that (and so much more) to yourself.