A lot has been said about mommy wars. They’re created by marketing companies keen on pushing formula sales, they’re created by jealous moms who think it’s their way or the highway, they’re created by the in-laws or elder parents who think they know best. But this post isn’t about wars. This post is about acknowledging that your very best friend, as a mom, can only really be another mom.
Whether that other mom is working from home, working outside, or staying at home, they know what it’s like to survive on zero sleep for years together. They know the feeling of rarely getting to pee or poop without an audience. Perhaps most importantly, they realize the need to just meet others who are going through the same things, who can understand the stresses and the joys without having to spell them out.
They say it’s not easy making friends after you’re married, and that it becomes still more difficult after you have children. I beg to differ. A little over a year ago, when I joined Facebook mom groups, I met a community of strong, supportive women who believed in the same things I did. Admittedly there are only a couple of groups out of the hundreds of mom groups out there which felt like they were on my wavelength… and within those, there were only a few people whom I clicked with… but still, it’s pretty amazing to be sent a surprise gift by someone whom you only know virtually, or to just get a sympathetic Hi on a bad day.
Not every virtual parent-friend meets in the real world. However, I’m lucky enough to coordinate city meetups for parents in Hyderabad. Meeting monthly, it’s great to see babies grow up and know what’s in store for you. It also feels really good to be able to empathize with new parents and let them know they aren’t on this whirlwind of a confusing journey alone.
Slowly over the last year, some people who I’ve met have become closer than others. They show up frequently, we know each other’s children’s preferences, a bit of family history. And despite being moms, with all the associated madness that implies, a set of us now meets on a social basis regularly, with absolutely nothing on the agenda.
There’s nothing too organized about our meets. Some mom will mention that she has a headache, or inlaws (same difference, eh? 🙂 ) or that she needs coffee. Next thing you know, 5-8 of us will have landed up at a coffee shop, babies ranging from 7 months old to 2 years in our arms. The babies are put down with food to squabble over, and we chatter away about everything and nothing.
Would we be friends if we didn’t have babies around the same age? Maybe, maybe not. We have things in common, and quite a lot that’s different. But at this point in our lives, we are each other’s support systems in ways that families or husbands can’t be. In fact, our group takes that responsibility off of a single spouse, and gives them some breathing space too. When we meet, it’s a way to blow off steam, to get dressed up and eat good food. It’s a chance to step outside the house and outside the small little cocoon that having a baby sometimes puts you in. It’s an opportunity to laugh and gossip and exchange ideas. It’s a space where, because we’re all mothers, we can be more than just mothers.
So personally, while I’m well aware that mommy wars exist, I’d much rather focus on something far more powerful – mommy liaisons. May there be many more.
Has your circle widened after you had children?
Eight years into her journey from digital marketing newb to ninja, Akshaya has worked with the giants (Google), as well as startups (Anahat), and start-ups on their way to becoming giants (Zomato). She’s now working with the most challenging startup of them all – her baby girl – while freelancing. Every now & then, she gives up on the three hours of sleep available to her, and blogs at New Girl in Toronto.