by Mary Fischer
You can read dozens of baby and child care books telling you what to expect from A to Z as a new parent. But during the first few years of your child's life -- nothing will help you get through the challenges and milestones like having a few good friends you can rely on.
Motherhood is all sorts of beautiful and rewarding -- but it can also be very isolating. Sometimes you don't really remember who you were before you acquired the "Mommy" label.
And that's why it's essential to have good friends you can turn to who will come in and save the day when you're having one of those "what the hell happened to my life" kinda moments.
More from The Stir: 6 Easy Ways to Make Mom Friends
And even though not all of our friends will understand certain situations we're going through for various reasons, that's actually a good thing. Different friends serve different purposes for helping us navigate this new phase of our lives -- and each one of them is just as important as the next.
Here are six types of friends every mom needs, whether she realizes it or not.
- The childless friend -- This is the person you can turn to when you want to let loose and have a little fun while talking about something other than your child and whether or not he/she slept well the night before. Drink a little wine. Enjoy a delicious meal. Or go out on the town and dance the night away. When you want a night off from being mom, she's your girl. She makes you feel like ... you.
- The old friend -- She knows you better than you know yourself, and she's known you for most of your adult life (if not longer). She's been with you every step of the way from the time before you had kids through your pregnancy. Now that you're a parent, you don't have to sugarcoat anything for her. When you need to vent and want someone who will listen without judgment -- turn to your old standby.
- The experienced friend -- When trying to figure out the whole mom thing, there's no better person to ask for advice than someone who has already been through it. Whether it's a question about potty training, ditching the pacifier, or getting rid of your child's morning nap -- the mom who has already done those things will have some great suggestions to help you out.
- The mom who parents just like you -- We all tend to gravitate toward a certain style of mothering, whether it be attachment parenting, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants parenting, or something in between. Find a mom who does things your way, and the two of you can lean on each other for support. Sometimes talking to someone who is going through the same things and wants to handle challenges the same way you do is a huge source of comfort.
- The mom who parents nothing like you -- Sure, she may drive you crazy from time to time and you won't always agree with her methods. But there is much to be learned from this mom -- like how to step out of your comfort zone and think outside of the box once in a while.
- The newbie -- Ahh, yes. The mom who just had a baby who thinks of you as her experienced friend (see number three) will remind you that you're doing a pretty great job so maybe you won't be so hard on yourself all of the time. If nothing else, she'll remind you to take deep breaths, give yourself a little more credit, and to keep the "this too shall pass" mantra in the front of your mind at all times.
Who has been your most important friend so far as a mom?