Years ago, I made the decision to leave my corporate job and stay at home with my daughter. I remember discussing with a friend (who was already staying at home with her kids) about this transition and immediately she warned me about staying away from stay-at-home-mama-drama. She told me to be a “cool mom” by not falling into the “mean mom” trap. I didn’t understand what that meant or how that was possible. In the corporate world, the women that I befriended were (and are) the kind of women that built each other up. Surely, the situation would be the same in the stay-at-home-mom arena. I was looking forward to meeting other moms and establishing some amazing friendships, and yet here she was making it sound worse than some really bad college dates or high school mean girls.
Four years later, I can say that making awesome mom friends to add to your tribe is not incredibly hard. It is also not as easy as both of you swiping ‘right’ on a dating app. My mom friends are some of the most loving and supportive women that I know, but this doesn’t mean that the advice I received from my well-meaning friend was wrong. As with any situation, there can be drama; you simply need to know what to navigate away from. It has been my experience that attracting cool moms is easy, as long as one isn’t un-cool.
The Social Media Passive-Aggressor
I don’t have a PhD in Psychology nor do I have a crystal ball, but when someone randomly posts a cryptic quote about what a true friend looks like, there is a 99% chance it isn’t posted at random.
Not everyone is comfortable with confrontation and I get that. However, if something is bothering you, go to the person and talk it out. It feels so incredibly freeing to be honest and clear about your feelings. Be cool; don’t muddy the lines of your relationships by using social media as your outlet.
The Compulsive Gossiper
If Betty Sue talks about all of the preschool moms, even her supposed ‘BFF’ you can bet your yoga pants that she is talking about you to others as well. It’s one thing to get advice on a particular angle of your friendship with someone else, but never ever is it okay to divulge someone’s deep dark family secrets or pain. Even if you are not the person who started the rumors or gossip, talking about the questionable information makes you just as culpable.
Trying to think about what you can talk about other than moms in your carpool? Start with current events, popular books, television shows. Coffee and wine are also good choices. Be cool.
I don’t need to explain this one. Run. Run for the hills! Even if it doesn’t affect you (or your race), you are lumped by association. Not cool. Ever.
The Debbie Downer
Everything that you complain about Debbie can top. If you share good news, Debbie will say you are lucky and then bring up how unlucky she is and talk about her misfortunes for an hour.
I am not talking about venting. My mom tribe and I vent ALL.THE.TIME.
I am only referring to those who seem to never have anything positive to say.
Aristotle said, “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” Keep your energy positive! Help turn Debbie around if you can. I am a firm believer that positive energy can win over negative. Either Debbie will be more positive or she will move on. Positivity is cool!
She makes snide remarks about how she would never let her kid throw a tantrum while your kid is throwing the most epic tantrum ever. If she sees you at Target and your kid is playing with an app on your phone so you can walk down an aisle in peace, she will tell you how bad screen time is and why her kids aren’t allowed to be on her phone. Judgey Judy (aka JJ) sees motherhood as a competitive sport. She wants to be the best and the only way she can feel like the best is by putting you down.
Don’t be a JJ and don’t let anyone like JJ make you second-guess yourself. Walk down a street and look around. I bet that not a single person has been raised exactly as you were and yet everyone seems to have turned out fine. There is no ‘right’ way to mother. You are doing well, mama. You are cool! JJ is acting uncool.
When you stay clear of the attributes mentioned above it isn’t hard to be an awesome mom-friend or make awesome mom-friends. Authentically genuine friendships in mom tribes lift everyone up. Motherhood although incredibly rewarding, can at times be very isolating. That’s why friendships can be incredibly important. They can be a lifeline on a tantrum-filled, snot-nosed, potty-accident-prone day. Those WTF text messages or phone calls where the friend on the other end can laugh with you (or cry) are what can make the witching hour feel less…well…witching. Cheers to all of you cool mom-friends, hopefully the uncool ones will come around.