The 5 Kinds of School Friends Every Mom Needs

“We had a good run,” I say, and wrap my arms around her. “We did,” she answers, squeezing back. We’re not teary or ecstatic. We’re the perfect blend of both for two moms on preschool graduation day.

Our boys are weaving between conspiring whispers and (failed) tree climbing attempts. They face each other with glimmering eyes that I’ve learned to appreciate for the fun they might bring. Their shoes are scuffed, their knees mirror the feeling. But, my goodness, they’re happy.

And, truly, so am I. It’s a golden day. The sun warms my shoulders and is a perfect reminder of exactly why I love this state. We might have six months of winter, but when the sun shines, everything glitters.

Brody finished preschool last week with one cold, one graduation ceremony that melted my heart over (twice), one  picnic on a golden day, and a handful of amazing friendships for both of us.

Slightly more cautious than the boys he befriended, he looked at me with hazel eyes that said, “Did you know?” every single time one of them climbed a tree, jumped from a retaining wall, or made it to the tippy-top of structures that, without them, I so wouldn’t have allowed him to try climbing.

And the truth is, no, I didn’t know. I learned as much from these moms as he did from their sons.

With my girls, I had three kids under the age of five, and I don’t know if my eyes were too bleary and my body was too tired to realize this truth, but by Brody — my youngest, my last, and my only boy — I definitely understand this: School mom friends are life lines.

Here are the 5 kinds I was blessed to have these last two years.

mom-friends

1. The Cool Mom — Nothing seems to phase this mom. She not only laughs and plays and runs with her kid, but everyone else’s as well. She’s the one whose answer is yes to jumping on the trampoline, to going for long bike rides, to playing a rousing game of Toilet Tag — and she doesn’t just send the kids off to play, she joins them. So when you drive into the school parking lot just one cup of coffee in, hair in a ponytail, outfit barely presentable, she’s the one playing tag, keeping up with the kids, backpacks piled next to her purse. Actually, no purse in sight, that would just get in her way. This kind of mom friend is a blessing because: She reminds you to play, to join in, to have fun, to say yes more often than no, to forget about the outfit and to remember about the kid. She’s a daily reminder that there’s a difference between young and youthful, only one has to be fleeting, and our children can be our pathway to the other.

2. The Responsible Mom — This mom knows when things are due, where the library books are, what days you need to be where, and what you’re supposed to bring with you. She’s always just a text or a phone call away. She’ll watch your kid, pick him up when you’re running late, and let you know (honestly, authentically) which moments need to be parented, and which ones really and truly don’t. And she’ll do all of these things with warm eyes and a wide smile and not a single ounce of criticism. She’s not responsible at you; she’s just organized, you’re not, and she could care less. This kind of mom friend is a blessing because: She reminds you that the village is there if you just let them in — you’re truly not alone. Also, that most help comes happily, willingly, and with judgement thrown out the door. She’s a daily reminder that this world is filled with goodness.

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First day of preschool, 2013

3. The Warm Mom — This mom looks at your kid with soft eyes. She sees the magic in him, even (especially?) when you don’t. Her support — of him, and of you — is unwavering. She’ll lead you where you need to be without advice or what-to-dos or even hints that her thoughts differ from yours. Because she doesn’t care about any of that. She loves wholly, unconditionally, and — most importantly — kindly. She looks for, and therefore sees, what’s right in this world. She’s inclusive and forgiving and doesn’t believe in keeping score. This kind of mom friend is a blessing because: She reminds you that most things can be fixed with a smile. That kindness always wins. That it’s rarely important to be right. And that there’s not much better than laughter in the sunshine. She’s a daily reminder that kindness is so where it’s at.

4. The New(ish) Mom — This is the mom with a preschooler in hand, a toddler hanging on her leg, and a baby on her hip. It’s her eyes that meet yours in a bleary look at your past self. Her conversations are cut short by the never-ending needs of the little people in and on her arms (legs, hips, and sometimes shoulders). This kind of mom friend is a blessing because: She reminds you that you can be — and often are — in the position to help others. You can be the one to hold the door, to carry the backpack, to run after the flyaway painting. To say, You’re such a good mom, because those physically demanding, hands on days of young motherhood stab you with doubts. She’s also a daily reminder that, my goodness, this time passes quickly. Weren’t you just that mom? Enjoy your littles, they’ll be graduating from preschool in no time.

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Last day of preschool, 2014

5. The Seasoned Mom — This mom has been there, done that. This isn’t her first rodeo. She has at least one kid older than yours and has juggled, dropped the ball, and picked everything back up again. She’s a reminder that there’s something to love and look forward to in every single stage of childhood — and motherhood — so loosen that grip and trade those tears for smiles. Because the next stage will most definitely hold its own brand of magic inside it. This kind of mom friend is a blessing because: At one point or another we’ll all get there. We’ll sit in the sunshine with new friends and old and wonder how we got so lucky to have such great kids, and such great friends.

We might carry these roles with us wherever we go, becoming a specific kind of friend to every woman we meet. Or, maybe we all play each of these parts within different times, stages, and friendships melding and molding what we gift as our kids (and we) grow and change.

It’s pretty amazing to realize that these lifelines are right there if we’re willing to see them, and to note their glitter. (It might be even more amazing to realize that we can be someone else’s lifeline.)

These boys — and us moms — will be at different schools next year, but I’m keeping what I learned from them all close: So much goodness can happen from a Hello and a smile.

What kind of school mom friend do you think you are right now?

first-day-fall-2014

And just for fun, first day of preschool 2013. The left is what happened when we said, “Boys! Come take a picture!” And the right is 4,357 takes later. Love these boys.

Thousands of women have “Liked” this article on The Huffington Post showing what we already knew: Ohmyheart, mom friends do, indeed, make the world go round.

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Comments

  1. Glitter and lifelines, love.

  2. I think I’m a new-ish mom because in just a few months, I will have 4 kids under 5, and I will be bleary and happy to let others cuddle my littles. :)

    Bless our friends! xo

  3. I’ve never made friends with a preschool mom. I know. I’m always afraid to talk to anyone – so I’m a drop and run kind of mom.

    • I bet you’re seen as the Seasoned Mom — great mama, has it together, with cute outfits for everyone! xo

  4. I seriously don’t know what I would do without my one friend who is definitely the responsible mom. Without her, my kids would never be signed up for after-school or camp or I would always forget to pick up my kids on early dismissal days! Oy! Thank goodness for all of these kinds of friends. Don’t know what we’d do without them.

    • I know *exactly* what you mean! My kids wouldn’t be signed up for activities (and their teachers wouldn’t have gifts!) without this one!

      Thanks for the note, sister! I always so love hearing from you!

  5. This is amazing. It also reminds me that I need to actually make some friends.

  6. Oh my goodness I love this. I love all of my school mom friends. And neighborhood mom friends. I like when each of us sort of melds into one type or another depending on what the situation calls for – sort of automatically filling in the spaces in the most lovely way.

  7. So many types of friends, and all of them have their special place. XO

  8. So good. We all need mom friends. Mine have truly saved my life and made it it wonderful.

  9. Needed this today. My child is not even in school and I loved to hear about all this support that will come my way! I hope to give some, too.

    It seems you are all the moms in one, Galit!

    XO

  10. What a great article. I’m blessed to have one of each of these friends, though I left some of them behind in NY. They really are lifelines. I hope I am that for someone too.

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