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"Mama Friends"

I am very blessed to have wonderful middle school, high school and college friends with whom I keep in touch. Getting together with them is always a treat because I get to be Gina, Regina, or Rehi rather than just someone’s mom. They were friends I chose.   In many ways they know me best. But if anything serious were to happen to my children, the first people I would call are my “mama friends.”

When my oldest three first entered school, I could not handle the idea of putting them on a great big bus with all those great big kids. I drove them to and from school. (Meanwhile, Number 4 got on the great big bus with the great big kids the first day of kindergarten. Poor Number 4 with the worn out mom.) Anyway, at the end of the school day, a group of moms and grandmothers would gather under a tree in front of the school waiting for our kids to emerge. We would discuss homework, how to get stains out of uniforms, upcoming fundraisers, and so forth. When the children came out we would greet them all.  One of the women called us her “mama friends.” For me, the name has stuck.

You don’t really get to choose your “mama friends.” Sometimes you meet them under a tree waiting for your children. Sometimes your children choose them for you by becoming best friends with their children and dragging you along on play dates. Sometimes they are the other parents in your homeschool coop helping teach your kids and planning field trips. Sometimes they become your friends simply because you keep running into them at every school event and meeting.

“Mama friends” are very different than friends of your youth.  First, they often have little in common with your personally. Mama friends may be ten years younger or older than you. They may hold completely different political opinions than you do. They come from a variety of religions and no religion. Their educational backgrounds vary from only high school to Ph.D.s. Their hobbies and interests may not come close to yours. You may actually not even know any of these details about your ”mama friends” for years.

But here is what you DO know about your "mama friends." They are fiercely loyal. If you are sick, they will clean your house or make you dinner. No matter what the parenting issue, they will listen with empathy. They will know all the facts about your kids and you will know about theirs. They will correct your child when needed and spoil them on all other occasions with praise, kindness, and sometimes gifts. They will pick up your child from school or babysit with little to no notice. They will talk you down when you are homicidal and lift you up when you are suicidal. They will stick by you in the toughest and saddest times of your life. They will help you be a better mom.

 Parenting is such a crazy time in life. The stakes are so high. The second guessing and insecurities are never ending. So while you may have nothing in common but your children, your “mama friends” will always have a special place in your heart.  They are the ones who have your back while keeping a loving, protective eye on your kids. “Mama friends” – One of the finest perks of being a parent.