The 5 Friends Every Mama Needs

Your split ends are so split that your hair finally has some volume.  

Your dinner is literally chilling out on the kitchen counter.  

Your toothache is no longer responding to the Orajel you remembered you have on hand to ease baby’s teething.  

Your toes have not seen the light of day since September.  (Oh wait, it’s second winter in Minnesnowta…skipping pedicures until June is almost expected.)

Your memory of what your best friend’s voice actually sounds like is slipping.

When we ignore our need to invest in our friendships, we rob ourselves of a valuable human experience.  Friendships bless us with connection, validation, support, accountability, and good old-fashioned belly laughs.  Life becomes more marvelous, wondrous, meaningful and even amusing when we can share our positive moments and experiences with others.  (“What?  Hunter is finally potty trained?  Yay!”)  Conversely, the dark times and bad situations we encounter become more surmountable, less discouraging and overcome more fully when circled by friends who get us.  (“No, that’s not the baby blues.  That sounds like postpartum depression…here’s the name of the therapist who helped me.”)

Surrounding ourselves with friends is akin to having your own personal arsenal to overcome life’s obstacles and creates a sense of community where we all look out for each other.  The ripple effect of that is incalculable.  

While some of us may have 500+ friends on social media I believe that we really only need these 5 friends in real life.  If you have these friends in your corner, you can conquer anything life throws at you!

5. A Seasoned Mama

Maybe she is one of your mom’s childhood friends.  Or maybe she’s someone you met at church.  Or maybe she’s mama to one of the kiddos in your child’s preschool class.  However you met her, she is a valuable friend to have in your circle.  

She is someone who has navigated motherhood anywhere from 1 to 50+ years.  She’s raised five children who are independent adults making their own mark on the world.  Or maybe she’s just got one year of mama seniority under her belt and has survived the crawling stage that you are about to enter.  She’s the friend in your circle who has experienced at least one more season than you have.  She knows how important it is to hold space for you and listen when you need to share your fears about little Joey’s milestones.  She’s also the friend who will tell you, truthfully and openly, that she’s been there before and that you will survive whatever tough motherhood thing you are facing.  She will indeed have some wise words of advice when you are ready to hear them. 

The 5 Friends Every Mama Needs | Twin Cities Moms Blog

So if you ask her for her recommendation on the best hands-free pumping bra out there, you better listen! 

 The key to friendship with her is to reach out to her when you need her help.  Just be sure that’s not the only time you connect with her.  She also needs to know that you see her too.  Even though she’s a vet to this lifestyle, we all know that there is no such thing as a routine call and even she will be rattled from time to time.  She will need a friendly listening ear too.  Be there for her!  

And that leads me to…

4. A New Mama

No matter where you are at on your journey as a mother, it’s so important that you make room in your circle for one new to this journey.  No one survives and thrives in this role alone and I truly believe that it’s important to “be the friend that you wish you’d had when you were younger.”

Think back to your early days as a new mom.  

Was someone there for you?  Yes?  Great.  Here’s your chance to pay it forward and welcome someone into the fold so she doesn’t feel so lost and alone as she gets used to sleepless nights, bonding with her baby and figuring out the whole feeding thing. Breast or bottle?  Her chosen method doesn’t matter.  What does is that she feels supported and has someone to turn to so she doesn’t feel alone. 

The 5 Friends Every Mama Needs | Twin Cities Moms Blog

No? Didn’t have a seasoned mama friend there for you at the beginning? Or maybe you had to experience motherhood without your own mother there to help guide you?  Okay. That must have been really hard for you.  Here’s your chance to be the friend you needed back then. 

I still remember vividly a conversation with my friend, Jen, right before my first son was born.  She told me,  “No matter what they tell you in the hospital, breastfeeding is going to hurt a bit.  It may even suck.  I hated it at first.  But I kept at it a little and it got better.” And in that moment, breastfeeding seemed a lot less mysterious.  Even better, she went on to say,  “If it doesn’t work for you or baby.  Don’t sweat it.  A fed baby is all that matters.  Only you can decide how much to push yourself if it’s not working.”  Her words were so freeing to me.  I really wanted to breastfeed our children, but up to that point, I had no role models that I could learn from.  To know that it was ok to make whatever choice worked best for us gave me a lot of peace.  So much of motherhood is trial and error.  What works for some mamas and kiddos might not work for someone else.  Sometimes the best gift you can give another mama is your truth and some encouragement to do what is best for her and her family.

3. A Friend Who’s Not a Mama

As women, we cannot and should not breathe motherhood 24/7.  Wait, what?  Earlier, I mentioned the necessary reprioritizing that must happen when you are a mother.  Yet. If you completely ignore the other roles you have that work in concert to make you YOU, then you are doing yourself and others a huge disservice.  

And it’s not just that.  It’s not healthy or sustainable to surround yourself with only like-minded or similarly situated women.  Why?  That makes our world smaller.   Your circle absolutely must include a woman who is not (or not yet) a mother.  Without that perspective, it’s easy to completely lose your sense of self and an ability to relate with others. 

This friend helps keep you real and grounds you.  This friend also makes sure that every once in a while you pull on jeans instead of yoga pants to go out of the house.  She reminds you of the free spirit that still resides in a corner of your heart.  This friend keeps you connected to the outside world when you are immersed in the throes of potty training, preschool shopping, and mealtime shenanigans.  This friend is up on all current pop culture and has her finger on the pulse of fashion, home design, and social justice.  All those interests you once spent a lot of time on and will circle back to once your kids are less dependent on you for everything. 

My work friend, Jan, falls into this category.  At first glance, it seems like we don’t have much in common.  She’s a millennial.  I’m a borderline Gen Xer.  She’s a legit model.  I’m not.  (Unless you count that one time I posed for photos for an online apparel company.)  She’s black.  I’m white.  She’s childless at the moment.  I have three boys who are 8, 6 and 4.  She’s got her degree.  I’m 2 classes and a senior thesis away from mine.  (Hello, kids!)  But here’s the thing, once we connected over our close workspace and a common hobby, I could not help but want to be friends with her.  She’s unflappable.  Smart.  Driven.  Hella beautiful.  And passion?  The girl has got it! 

The 5 Friends Every Mama Needs | Twin Cities Moms Blog

She’s a blogger and runs a podcast called If Anyone Cares where she shares her voice as a black millennial.  I’ve listened to a few episodes and read her posts.  A lot of what she shares, I can relate to.  Particularly the stuff about dating…because I did plenty of that before meeting my husband.  I love that she also isn’t afraid to tackle the tough stuff head on.  Racism?  Yep, she goes there.  Rape culture?  Yep, tackles that too.  While I may not relate to or agree with everything she writes or says, her perspective is certainly thought-provoking and has given me a few ideas to ensure that we instill in our boys the values of equality, fairness, and love for your neighbor.  

One day I looked over at her cubicle and saw this beautiful photo splashed across her computer background.  I was compelled to take a closer look and ask her about it.  We’ve had a few more great conversations about it since then.  I see a fabulous, fierce group of women who literally stand together.  I see the faces of our next generation and can sense there is a strong bond that unites them.  As it happens, none of them are mothers yet.  Seeing them, I have a feeling that they will be there for one another when the season changes from what it is now to motherhood.  This is a village in the making.   I am so inspired by them and have learned that even when it appears you may not have much in common with someone if you dig a little, you will find more common ground than you imagined.  

The value in this friendship goes both ways.  Just as she is valuable to you, she receives a lot from you in return.  This friend gains some perspective on the realities of motherhood so that she is empowered with information to decide if motherhood is right for her.  She has an audience for her experiences and her truths.  She feels seen and heard while she goes through the difficulties of her current season of life.  When she agrees to babysit her niece for the first time while her sister and brother in law have a much-needed date night, she has someone to call when she needs ideas to soothe nephew who isn’t really happy about an evening without mom and dad.  Or when she is just starting out in a new hobby that’s an old passion of yours, she can benefit from you as a mentor or resource.  

 This friend is worth her weight in gold, so be good to her. 

2.  A Friend of Many Talents

This friend may also be friend number 5, 4 or 3 listed above.  She is the MacGyver of your inner circle.  She is your go-to when you are trying to figure out how to wash grass stains out of your baseball player’s uniform.  You can also count on her to know the best hacks for packing healthy lunches and how to install a shiplap accent wall.  

The 5 Friends Every Mama Needs | Twin Cities Moms Blog

This friend is your first phone call when you are trying to remember the name of that new restaurant everyone is raving about or which consignment stores have the largest selections of formal gowns on a budget.  This friend is a social butterfly.  She has friends in practically every state that would be happy to put you up for a night or two when you’re visiting their town or get stranded in a blizzard.  

This friend also has some great ideas about how you can bring in some income as a WAHM, help you plot how to leave your day job to become a SAHM or give you ideas for outsourcing chores if you’re a full time working mama who wants to make the most of her time with her family.  Maybe she tags you in Facebook posts where you could be helpful to someone else or she knows you were looking for something and she thought of you when she saw the post.  Maybe she encourages you to share your voice with others because she knows that others can benefit from your story. 

This friend is many things.  All of them valuable.  Cherish her.  Be her, too.  

And rounding out this list of 5 friends that every mama needs is perhaps the most important one of all:

1. YOURSELF

Look in the mirror.  That gal smiling (or scowling) back at you is your biggest ally in this life.  At the end of the day, you are truly the only person you can count on 100%.  Others may fail you.  Others may be unavailable.  Others may not get it.  But you?  You will always be there for yourself.  It’s up to you to decide how supportive and kind to yourself that you are going to be.  

The 5 Friends Every Mama Needs | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo Credit: Melissa Soto Photography}

You will stand on the shoulders of others to move forward when a goal is in sight.  You will lean on others when you are too weak to stand by yourself.  Other women will be there to straighten your crown when it slips a little.  They will be there cheering and hooting and hollering right alongside you when your husband/partner gets a promotion, you find out you’re pregnant, your child scores a hat trick or you have finally booked your first real family vacation.

Others will come and go throughout the days and the years of your life.  

No matter what, that woman in the mirror will be there with you. Love yourself enough to treat her well and to give yourself grace.  If you can do that, you will ALWAYS have at least one really good friend you can count on.  

Jamie Cramble
Jamie met her husband, John, at a courthouse weapons screening station. Completely smitten by the way he made her laugh and treated the others waiting in that long line with equal doses of humor and kindness, she agreed to go out with him a few months after their serendipitous encounter. They had their last first date ever together twelve years ago and just celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary. They live in the Twin Cities north metro with their 3 boys (ages 8, 5 and 4). As a police wife, special needs mama, photographer and writer, she is devoting the afternoon of her life to encouraging mamas to give themselves grace, share their stories and promote inclusivity. She also has a passion for helping other police wives survive and thrive in this unique lifestyle. When it’s time to celebrate one of life’s little victories, she lights a bonfire, savors snuggles from any of her four boys or sneaks a spoonful of raw cookie dough. You can connect with her on Facebook and www.jamiecramble.com.

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