On Monday the Daily Fave introduced a special guest blogger: Jenny Feldon, winner of the "Meaning of Motherhood" essay contest. Read Jenny's winning essay, and stay tuned all week to find out how Jenny faces the crazy and wonderful world of Motherhood.
Today, read Jenny's thoughts on four friends every mom should have...
Parenting, amazing as it is, can be frustrating and isolating too. Thank goodness I don't have to face it alone. Let me introduce you to some of my mama friends -- the four friends every mom should have.
Laid Back Mama is the friend who forces me to let Eva try the big slide, and gives her a hug when she makes it down. Instead of getting mad when her daughter plays in a mud puddle, LBM strips her down to a diaper and shows her how to splash. She hosts coffee playdates at 9am even if she hasn't showered or done the breakfast dishes. Her house is welcomingly, blessedly cluttered. It's where I go to take deep breaths, try new things, and not feel guilty if Eva spills Cheerios everywhere.
Raise the Bar Mama looks great. Her child looks great. Her house looks great. She's always five minutes early. She serves her husband breakfast on a placemat every morning, which is both ridiculous and awesome. Her 20-month-old daughter knows shapes and colors, and said "please" and "thank you" long before Eva could say "DaDa." RBM wears cute outfits, will blow bubbles in the yard for two hours straight, and throws the best parties in town. But she's also fabulously honest about how hard things can get. "Sometimes," she whispered once, "I just want to chuck her out the window." She inspires me to try harder, to laugh more, to order monogrammed guest towels. And she's the friend that won't judge me on the days I threaten to drop Eva off at the fire station and never return.
In The Know Mama is the pioneer. Our kids are mere days apart, but her daughter rolled first, sat first, starting eating with a fork first. IKM patiently answered my questions (and sometimes talked me off a ledge) when Eva started doing those things, too. She's researched every product , knows about every recall. She's my authority on air travel, sippy cups and coloring books. When I call her, I usually start with "What did you do about..." Insert word here: crib bumpers, pacifier, bedtime, swine flu. She's the friend who gently reminds me that perhaps Eva should no longer be bathed in the sink, but who won't call Child Protective Services when I do it anyway.
Love Yourself Too Mama believes lip gloss can sometimes be necessary for survival. She'll sit in the sandbox playing trucks, wipe a handful of snot across the seat of her designer jeans without missing a beat, but she shows up for girls' night wearing eye shadow that matches her sweater. She assures me getting a babysitter so I can get a manicure or go to yoga class doesn't make me a bad mom. LYTM reminds me that you can be wonderful parent, love your child to the moon and back -- and still make yourself a priority without needing to feel guilty.
There are days when parenting seems like the easiest job in the world. There are days when I'm pretty sure I'm going insane. Either way, a playdate is sometimes all it takes to give me the courage to face the hours until bedtime. My friends make me more adventurous and less neurotic. They cheer on my victories and comfort me when I fail. When I'm overwhelmed with parenting, with marriage, with life, they bring over a bottle of wine and let me vent. They match me horror story for horror story until I'm laughing too hard to remember why I was upset in the first place.
We don't have to do it alone. If you don't already know these moms, go out and find them. They're out there -- at the playground, in music class, at the park on the weekends. They'll change your life. Just like they've changed mine.
Jenny Feldon is a writer and a full time mom. She drinks too much coffee and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her not-quite-two-year-old daughter, and their small white dog.