When I was pregnant with my first child, I had two close friends who already had children and only one of them had a baby close in age to mine. It was natural for us to get together once the babies became mobile. Had I known better, I would have reduced her invitations.
Play dates were a nightmare. The mom was always screaming at her kid, he was usually a little too rough with my sweetheart, and it was all around uncomfortable. She made derogatory comments about my mothering skills and tried to project her "wisdom" onto me. It was toxic and with one twist of a knife in my back, I had to break up with her.
It was hard to go through even though the friendship was tumultuous. I had relied on her to a degree, because she was the only one I knew who was going through a similar stage in life; our first babies and all that came with it.
Breaking up with my first mommy friend pushed me to dig around in my community to find activities my little darling would enjoy. It also put me face to face with other moms. I got a nasty mommy burn once and was not looking for a repeat (although I'd later experience another that would jolt me and remind me that even adults have childish ways). The thought of trying out or "dating" other mommies was nauseating. What if they were not nice? What if their kid was mean to mine? Sometimes I would find out, experiencing the good with the bad. I learned not all mommies were created equal and made friends with some who were authentic and some who were not.
Not all mommy friendships are fairytales where we ride off into the sunset holding each other's kids' hands and growing old together. I've discovered that with every friendship, I learn something. It may not be a lesson I want to learn or enjoy experiencing, but there is some valuable nugget of wisdom that shakes out of each one.
In the eight years I've been a mother, I've weathered a few seasons of mommy friendships. Some seasons were really beautiful where others were cloudy and overcast. I've been burned more than once, but once my heart healed so did my pride. I'll probably always be cautious, but open to possibilities as well. Life is too short to waste time with people who willfully use and abuse others. It's also way too short to dwell on the repeat offenders.
I do not worry about making new friends for myself and am even less concerned for my kids. They are remarkable and outgoing with no trouble finding their own people. They will always be a pseudo-friendship-dating service offering up a pool of mommy prospects as they continue to meet new kids. Some will last and some will not. I'm blessed enough to have a helpful of healthy friends that provide good examples to my children of how people should treat one another.
I wish I could go back and save my new mommy self some serious trouble and heartache. Becoming a mother has taught me so much about people and relationships. It has made me aware of the attributes to value in others and hits to avoid. I'm even more attuned to the behaviors and characteristics that are desirable for my kids to discover in others.
As cheesy and mushy as it sounds, my kids will always be my closest life long friends. They are armed and gifted with the best ways to treat people and how to be. They will be skilled in the art of lifting others up and celebrating their successes. They are already the coolest people I know and exhibit more compassion and unadulterated love than many adults. I take great pride in cultivating these friendships as they are the most dear and awe-inspiring to me.