When I had my first baby, I was introduced to the world of MOM FRIENDS. Friends who have a little one the same age as yours who can meet up for playdates and talk in-depth with you about sleep and poop matters. I'm an awkward introvert, but even I can make long, easy conversation with another mom if she has a child in the same general age range as mine.
I used to take my son out so much more when it was just him and me, but since I've added a second child and have had to deal with things like multiple naps, less sleep, and drastically diminished sanity, I've become much more selective in terms of the people I befriend. A new mom friend has to be worth the struggle of getting out of the house in the morning with two small children. I don't ask for much, which is why there are only six qualities I consider as requirements if we are going to jump into mom-friendship together. These are the questions I ask myself:
1. Can you lose your mom sh*t in front of her?
First and most importantly, this question needs to be asked, especially if you have toddlers or preschoolers and sh*t-losing can be an everyday occurrence. I'm not talking a little sweet reprimand to your child. I mean, can you make a loud, exasperated sigh and say, "Are you KIDDING me right now?!" while looking completely irritated that your child is once again whining on the ground at your feet?
A good mom friend will non-judgingly make herself busy for a minute and then resume conversation like nothing ever happened. An even better mom friend will walk over and hand your kid a lollipop. That happened recently, true story.
2. Does she lose her mom sh*t in front of you?
Also important that she loses her sh*t in front of you. If she doesn't, this is bad for two reasons. One, she is fake and ain't no one got time for that. Or two, she is too perfect of a mom and you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
3. Does she get mad when you cancel?
Are you comfortable canceling a meet-up with her? Or do you feel you'll piss her off and start drama? I had a mom friend once who went super-drama-queen on me because I had two crying kids and I called her to reschedule. That was the last time I ever had to cancel on her, because she got the boot!
As moms, we should all respect the fact that children are unpredictable -- and thus, give other moms a lifelong pass to cancel plans if they need to. Even if their kid is, like, 30 years old. You have no idea if her kid called her that morning to let her know he's sitting in jail somewhere. MOM FRIENDS LET OTHER MOM FRIENDS CANCEL.
4. Is she usually late?
This is actually a good trait in the mom world. Usually, no matter how hard I try, we will be at least a few minutes late anywhere we go. My preschooler has to poop while we're driving down the road, or my toddler woke me up seven times the night before and I have to sit in the long Starbucks line for a coffee if I'm to function as a human being in public.
If your mom friend is also usually late, it helps take the stress off of trying to get out the door with small kids. Mom friends who are always a little late are keepers, in my book!
5. Does she have a parenting theory?
We all have a few core beliefs about how we want to raise our kids. Parenting THEORIES, on the other hand -- where moms make out like there is a damn guidebook that fits all parents and all children -- are things you want to avoid like the plague.
The only moms who are excused from this behavior are first-time moms with kids under 3 years old. The preschooler demons have not shat on their parenting aspirations yet. These moms and their theories are cute and can remain friends on Facebook, where everyone is fake anyway. They're only eligible to move into the IRL friendship realm once they either have a second kid or their precious toddler turns into the exorcist/a preschooler, in which case they then need to cry on your shoulder and have a drink at your 10 a.m. playdate.
When my kid is having a meltdown in front of my mom friend, I need to be able to do #1 on this list, and access multiple parenting tactics until one of them works, without feeling any Sanctimommy eyes burning a hole into my weary, tired, desperate back.
6. Can you be completely real in front of her?
Most importantly, can you be 100 percent yourself? It's a glorious moment that happens in any friendship when you feel the walls come down. All fake politeness stops. You don't feel the need to have your house looking perfect before she comes over, and you can talk about personal, real things while your kids destroy said house together. She doesn't care that you cuss; you don't care that she doesn't cuss. The tired, old debates like breastfeeding vs. formula don't affect the two of you. You could breastfeed your 2-year-old in front of her while she gives her newborn a bottle, and neither of you would blink an eye. That's mom friend heaven right there. Don't let her go if you find her!
Jessica Dimas is the author of the book "Anything Can Be" and creator of the blog Pig & Dac, where this article was originally published. You can follow Jessica on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on new posts.