We've all heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," but I've come to realize that it takes a village to raise a new mama too.
Over the past two years, I've watched friendships shift and change as I transitioned into being a new mom. I've made friends and lost some, but the most important friendships have been the ones that have evolved alongside my new role as a mom.
I believe you need mama friends in all ages and stages of life to help guide you and “raise” you as a new mom. I am extremely lucky to have these friendships because they each serve a different purpose along my journey.
Here are THREE types of mama friends every new mom needs in her life.
THE FIRST-TIME MAMA FRIEND
This is the friend that has children similar in age. She's going through all of the same things around the same time. She's the one you send a "Warning! We're expecting rain," text to because she has a very active toddler at home too. She's the friend that you can ask questions and expect first-hand, living-it-as-we-speak advice from. You share tips for getting your toddler to eat veggies and rainy-day activities to pass the time before nap.
You need this first-time mama friend to vent to. You need her to remind you that you're not the only mommy losing her mind and that your kid is totally normal. You need her because she isn't going to say things like, "When I raised kids, there was no such thing as iPads," because she keeps hers handy for trips to the grocery store and long car rides. She’ll be the first to admit her kid had a little too much screen time yesterday when you confess you’ve watched Toy Story three times today. This in-the-now friend is the person you talk to daily and 99% of conversation revolves around your kids. Without this friend, you would feel alone and crazy at times. She's your reminder that #momminainteasy because she's living it with you.
THE EXPERIENCED MAMA FRIEND
You didn't know you needed this friend before becoming a mom. This Experienced Mama Friend is smack dab in the middle stage of motherhood. She has 3 or 4 school-aged children and has a wealth of knowledge to share. She's realistic about mom life and you need that. She's passed the cute stage of toddlerhood and becoming a new mommy. She's actually raising a family. She's the friend that has made it out the other side and lived to tell about it.
You need this friend because she is looking at your stage of motherhood with the perspective of an experienced mama. She isn't too far from your stage that she only remembers rainbows and butterflies but she's far enough away to remind you that you aren't messing your kid up. She reminds you to take a breath and relax. You're in this for the long-haul, so pace yourself. She keeps you grounded and is truly someone you admire.
THE VETERAN MAMA FRIEND
The Veteran Mama Friend has already raised her children and is watching her children raise their own kids now. She has experienced all of the trials and errors of motherhood and is left with unconditional love. She brings wisdom to even the simplest conversations. She looks at your stage of life with nostalgia because she remembers what it was like to be in your shoes.
This is the friend you call because you know she's going to listen without judgement. She won't offer advice unless requested and it is the most valuable when given. She remains logical but is sensitive to your feelings because she’s walked a mile in your shoes. She’s encouraging and loving and without her, you’d feel like you were failing at this whole mom thing.
What makes these different mama friends so unique and valuable is that each of their perspectives is shaped by stage of motherhood they are currently in.
I am fortunate to say that I have each of these mama friends in my village. These mamas have been there for me through all of the sleepless nights, diaper rashes, doctors’ visits, milestones, sleep regressions, and terrible twos. They’ve given me guidance, encouragement, and confidence because THEY GET IT.
They have “raised” me into the mama I am today, and I am a better mom for it. So to all the new mamas out there, get yourself a village. You're gonna need it!
J A M I E L Y N N E