Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making Mommy Friends, Lydia-Style

I am a mommy who firmly believes in the power of other mommies. As a new mom, it wasn’t until I found some really great mommy-friends to share the experience with that I truly embraced my new identity.  I was used to being me and then all of a sudden I was me, except pregnant and puking all the time.  Oh, and also with cankles.

Then I had the baby and I was me but with a tiny red wiggler to care for and it was so all consuming and exhausting that, after less than a year, I had sort of forgotten what a total bad ass I used to be who I was. And I was constantly plagued by fear that I was doing everything wrong. I kept thinking, this can’t possibly be normal. Normal people do not sob uncontrollably because their nursing bra broke.  Normal people don't accuse their dog of snoring too loud on purpose.

Having great mommy friends didn’t fix my problems or make me less of a train wreck, it just made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the struggle of it all. For me, one of the defining things about motherhood is that every day is a challenge to be the sort of person my kiddos deserve. It’s like Sisyphus trying to keep the playroom clean. It will probably never happen. But you’re hardwired to keep trying.

And because I am pro-mommy and because I think we all do better when we have lots of friends, I thought I’d write about the process of making them. Making new friends (in my opinion) isn’t as easy you might think. For me, the step from stranger to buddy takes about ten seconds. The step from buddy to friend can take a year or even two.

Every time a sport or a team or a school year or an activity starts up, you get thrown in with a new group of families.  Sometimes it’s less a new group than it is a new configuration of old faces.  But still, it’s an opportunity.  We’re about a month into the swim season here and new friendships are starting to form.  I'm already making a (heh heh) splash with other swim team mommies.

When I’m in this situation, I try to figure out which mommies really have friend potential, which to avoid and which I will merely end up being hihowyadoin friends with.  I can’t stress how important it is to do serious thinking about who you invite into your (and your family’s) life up front. Friendships can end.  And sometimes they end ugly and it can be really painful.  For example, Madonna and Gwyneth apparently hate each other now. And if those two kids can’t make it work, well… *sad head shake*  It’s just something for us all to think about.

So in order to prevent a Madonna/Gwyneth style meltdown and to help you weed out the Mommies Who Just Don’t Get It , the uber-Competitive Mommy or the much-feared Perfect Mommy – I have developed a couple of helpful checklists.

  • Says nasty or mean things about other people (especially other people’s kids) when she barely knows you.  Obviously, talking about Heidi Montag or Kate Gosselin doesn’t count. Just as obviously, if she’ll talk trash to you then she will talk trash about you.
  • Ignores her kids. This doesn’t mean she’s a bad person or a bad mom, it just means that you will spend a lot of time watching her kids. And her kids are probably sneaky little bastards not accustomed to being watched. Or are very used to doing whatever they can to get her attention.
  • Mean to her kids. We all lose our schmidt and we are often provoked by our offspring. There’s a difference between someone who’s trying to keep her kids from acting like a pack of rabid howler monkeys and someone who is just plain mean.
  • Thinks her kids can do no wrong. If her kids can do no wrong, then it’s always everyone else’s fault. I want my kids to absorb that mentality about as much I want them to grow up and move to Whore Island.
  • No sense of humor. If they can’t find the funny, we can always be friendly but we can never be friends. I mean, if we can't make booby jokes – do we really have anything to talk about?  Last week, the smell of poopy diaper wafted over to me and a group other moms at the pool.  Someone said: "What is that smell?" and I answered: "Chanel Number Two."  And two of the moms laughed but one was like, "Oh. Your joke was slightly more disgusting than amusing" except she said it with her eyes.  Which obviously makes her someone who shouldn't hang out with me too much.  Because if there's one thing I like more than booby jokes, it's jokes about crap.
  • Your kids and hers just don’t get along. If the kids can’t along, it probably isn’t going to work out.  Most kids will fight if they’re thrown together too much.  They'll start trying to kick each other in the face over disputes involving Super Mario Brothers like they were in the same family.  That's annoying but normal.  But if they just plain don’t like each other, it's not even worth it.  Maybe that's what happened to Madonna and Gwyneth…
  • Her husband is a douchebag.  If her husband is truly a dickhead, it's going to be a big problem. First of all, your husband will not want to hang with him. This will make things super awkward, ahem, supawk, when you have to keep finding excuses to say no to weekend plans with both families.  Also, do you want to leave your kids at his house so they can observe him saying the F word, sticking his hand down his pants and yelling: "Get Daddy a beer!"?  And then there's your friend, who will eventually want to vent to you about him and you will have to pretend that its OK that her husband is a useless sack of hair.  It's just a baaad situation and one you really want to avoid.
  • She doesn’t pass the gut check.  Sometimes people say things or disclose things or do things that hit your gut and make you feel all queasy.  And you just know that you're never going to feel better about it.  Things like: “My husband and I used to be swingers, like BIG TIME SWINGERS. Then we had kids and now we hate all fornicators.  And foreigners.” Or “My grandmother used to beat me with a switch and look how great I turned out. So now I beat my kids with a tree branches when they act up – which is like all the time.”
  • She doesn’t look like you. Let’s be honest here. Kate is fancy and I am a fashion disaster. Kate is super thin and nauseatingly fit. I am not so much. People who can’t be bothered to make an effort to look good... are judged. So too are those deemed to be trying too hard to look attractive.  It's one of those suck-ass lose/lose situations.  Try not to buy into that crap, or you could be missing out on your Kate or God Forbid, your very own Lydia. [Editor's Note: YEA ME! I got the original Lydia...Giddyup!  - Kate]
  • Politics.  Let’s say you’re really political and you meet another really nice mom and she is too. But your bumper stickers don’t match. Get past it. Some of my best friends are totally on the other end of the political fence and you know what? They are awesome and I'm a smarter, more well-informed, better person for opening myself up to their points of view.  Plus, I guarantee that you'll find things you both agree on (for example; John Edwards is King Douche, clean up the f*cking Gulf oil spill or fear my wrath).
  • She’s a little weird. Unless you think the weirdness is actually a big, boiling, seething pot of latent crazy – who cares? Look in the mirror, friend, you’re weird too. Kate loves Barry Manilow and goes to see him in concert every chance she gets. It’s her and gay men and blue haired ladies singing “Weekend in New England” while swaying with their eyes closed and she loves it.  Lydia and the Cap’n have named every single one of their vehicles for the past fifteen years (except the BWT) after original 90210 characters.  Our last Nissan wasn't silver... It was David Silver.
I’ve just spent some time outlining the negative stuff.  Let's move onto the good stuff.  Truthfully, there are only things I need to have in a friend:
  • A deep and abiding commitment to keepin’ it real. That does not mean that, like me, you must enjoy inappropriate and profane hiphop. Though that helps. What it means is that you’re not full of crap. I am interested in people who know who they are and are straightforward about it.  I am totally imperfect and a disaster and I accept that.  I once knew a golden retriever who failed the seeing eye dog exam like three times because he could never pass the grocery store test.  I'm like that.  And I can also be pretty annoying sometimes but some people actually like that because they get laugh at my expense pretty much all the time. Which is why I have any friends.
  • The Funny. I have learned the hard way that life is too short to take yourself seriously. Plus, I have a disorder. People who are overly earnest or self-important give me The Twitches. The uncontrollable urge to mock and snark and bring out the ridiculous in them.  Really? You’re a vegan? Drinking Starbucks? In a BMW with leather seats? Lecturing me about my carbon footprint? Want… To… Mock… But… Must… Remember… My… Manners… But the resolve never lasts and I end up saying something like: “I used to be vegan. But now I’m a weegan. I only eat vegetables and they have to be really, really small.”
  • Not Evil. There are some bad and crazy people out there. I try to avoid the people that are crazy in the bad way. Or crazy in way that makes me crazier. In ways that are bad instead or good or funny. Here's an example: Kate and I have decided that we are the Supreme Chancellor and Allied Commander of MommyLand. And those are our actual job titles. On our state and federal tax forms. So obviously, we’re perfect for each other because anyone else would think that was insane and we just think it’s hilarious. But its not evil.  Not yet...
Hopefully this has all been helpful. Remember, Kate and I are two mommies who might never have been friends.  But we are and she has made my life a much better and happier place.  I would never have had the courage to write a single word without her constant nagging encouragement.  Thank God for Kate… Without her I would be just another sad sack in dirty yoga pants ranting about my misery to myself, alone in my van down by the river.  With her, I am the Supreme Chancellor of our very own blog, who rants incoherently on the internet

How awesome is that? 


Share Follow MommylandRants on Twitter
 Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. Oh how fabulous. I need a girlfriend (the kind who lives near me) like one of you.
    But I, too, have a title. I like to be referred to as
    "Her Serene Highness, The Kate."

    That is all.

  2. Read a good book on friendship a year or so ago, the author used this quote: "Oh the comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts or measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are - chaff and grain together - certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."- Dinah Mulock

  3. I would like the story of how Kate and Lydia became Kate & Lydia!

    Do tell. Or if you already have, post a link so we can revisit :)

  4. ...why can't totally awesome mommies live in my town? it's full of snitches. my best mommy friends are on the florida, georgia, california, alaska, and beyond....and im all alone in alabama. *sigh* but thank you for writing down the things my brain kept getting an error message while trying to locate...there are some real idiots down here and i always seem to find them.

  5. I have a mommy "friend" who fails most of the red flags. i know she's kind of an a-hole but our kids seem to like each other ( i actually can't wait for my kid to realize that her kid is kind of like the mom)! I also have another friend whose husband is completely douchey. He told her the other day to stop drinking soda because he thinks that's why she's showing at 10 weeks of pregnancy. Real nice, right?

  6. I have to say, it's hard to make new friends in a new town when you're in your 30's, regardless of kids. It sounds like little ones can make it harder and as someone who is looking forward to a "later" mommyhood, I'm glad you two have posted this blog! It's be a great resource when I'm trying to remember what my name is... ;-) Thanks for the laugh (and some additional fear...)
    x's & o's ladies, Dag

  7. @Amber, they did a post with the story of how they met-or at least mentioned it in a post, don't know where it's hidden in Mommyland, but I'm sure they'll let on.
    @Aimee, I get it! I live in Alabama too, lived in Mobile my whole life-except college, so even when friendships would come and go I'd still have my back up friends from "back in the day", but I recently moved twenty minutes north of Mobile on 15 acres of dirt and my six kids. Getting my pals out here to visit is freakin ridiculous! I may as well have moved to Alaska! Twenty minutes? Really? But a couple of them recently drove over to Pensacola TWICE to shop for running shoes. Yea, and I'm the one with issues. They want to include me but think I should do all the driving with my six pack of sweathogs in tow. This is why I love much, it gives me my daily boost of mama essentials, like wit, sarcasm & the awesomeness of laughing at yourself!

  8. I love this! I have an almost 3 year old and my BFF is about to have her first (any day now), and I love that she and I can "keep it real". Thanks for all of the laughs!

  9. Once again you two are the BEST. This will be permanently one of my most FAVORITE posts ever in MommyBlogAPoo land. I'm sharing this with my closest Mommy friends.

  10. Weeegan. HAHAHAHAHA Why oh why don't I have a Kate and/or Lydia in my life!

  11. So LOVE this! My Lydia and I went to high school together, weren't really friends, never hung out, she thought I was snobby. Fast forward 10 years and 3 children a piece later we started hanging out because our oldest girls became friends. Now we are inseperable except for that snitch moved like 1,000 miles away. Oh well, now I have a great place to vacation several times a year.

    You would never look at us and think that we would be friends but she is my ROCK!

  12. Supreme Chancellor and Allied Commander of MommyLand! Yes! I thought I remembered that story from the Night of a Thousand T-Boxes but then convinced myself that it was a sangria-induced hallucination! Now I want to give myself an awesome title on my blog. Maybe Pope. Or whatever title high-ranking Klingons have.

    Also, is there a form I can fill our to apply to be your friend? If you invite me to a barbeque, I'll bring jello shots!

  13. My friends and I refer to it as the "butt sniffing stage" when you are first meeting the new person and trying to figure out if they are worth your time and energy. It's so true. I don't have kids but my husband is military so I'm thrown into situations with new people often, next year he will be leaving the army and the thought of making new friends scares me, a lot.

  14. I am also LMAO at "weegan". Too funny! :)

  15. I love this! And thank God you aren't ranting to yourself in your van by the river anymore. You're what keeps me sane some days!!

  16. Love is SO true!
    My husband calls me "She who must be obeyed"...I think it fits.

  17. Seriously, I love you two. Thanks! I have a crazy sensor. I steer clear of the crazy. Love you so much! Come to Seattle.

  18. Again, a great posting here. I want to agree with Rebekah...can I fill out a form to be friends with you? I don't really have a "Kate" or a "Lydia" just yet..well, an equivalent in my life, as far as I'm concerned you two are very unique. I have a few "possibilities" but nobody real just yet. Maybe after a few years in my MOM kiddos are 15 months next week...time goes so fast!

  19. Crap.

    Now I really, really want to be a self important weegan.

  20. I'm taking my 4 and 5 year olds to their first tumbling class today. It's my first time in a "class" situation. Think I'll print this out as a checklist and start interviewing :)

  21. You girls are just so absolutely fantastic and you DEFINITELY bring the funny. Hooray for snark and mocking!

  22. Awesome guide to finding mommy friends! But here's a question; what do you do when you love the mom but really don't care for the kids? Like, AT ALL?

  23. This list is great, though I'll have to disagree with the "douchebag" husband one. This woman might really need a friend!

  24. Great blog!! I want a photo of the interior of your minivan for my "minivan that smells like the zoo" gift in my "gifts parents won't appreciate" gift app in Facebook. ;-) My car is really messy too, but it's a Mini Cooper and a photo of a minivan would be better.

    Love all your blog posts!!

  25. Chanel Number Two, Bawhahahaha!

    I too want to hear the story of Kate and Lydia.

  26. I only have one truly close mommy friend, that person who gets me, but I would be lost without her. Marissa and I have been friends since she was 4 and I was 5. Our boys were due the same day (she had hers 5 days early because she's a competitive snitch). She is that person I can be completely real with, and vice-versa. We can tell each other "Honey, you're losin' it." without hurt feelings and we can go to one another anytime we need someone to simply say "You're a GREAT mom, that woman at the store was just being a snitch and someone should square up and kick her in the taco." She is totally the Kate to my Lydia, and I wish every mom that kind of friendship.

  27. God Bless my sister for directing me to your blog. I'm a new mom with a nine-week old. We moved when I was eight months pregnant so I've lived here a total of three months. Getting out to meet people with a newborn is not easy. I too am spending my time on the phone with my much needed friends. This blog may help keep me sane for the next several months. Looking forward to checking out the older posts....

  28. But I'm the one with the douchy husband. I'm not douchy..but I feel like I get avoided because of the douchy husband. Oh well..what do ya do?

  29. Military moms - or other who move ALL.THE.TIME - need to make friends quickly. Unfortunately, all you normal non-military types out there think it's WEIRD to say hi one day and then invite your entire family on vacation with us the next day. OK - it's maybe not THAT bad - but close! :) It's my reality - if I take 6 months to find out that you're really cool and our kids get along AND our husbands are twins separated at birth, then we only have 18 months to be friends before I leave. So if you're wondering why you feel like you're on a speed date with me at nursery school pick up - now you know!




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts