There are few things more powerful than friendship, especially the friendship between mothers. In a world where everyone seems to be so acutely focused on tearing each other a part and judging every move their fellow man makes, finding a kindred mama friend is immeasurably precious.
One of the deepest friendships I've made is with the mama that lives next door to us. Having a best mom friend who's also your next door neighbor is basically the equivalent of hitting all green lights on your way to pick up your lottery winnings while all of your favorite songs play commercial free on the radio and you sip the coffee you got for free. It's rare. And it's glorious.
We had recently moved to the area and had yet to meet our neighbors. The dog we had at the time was notorious for getting over-excited at anything that moved (person, squirrel, blade of grass five houses down...) and it was no surprise that he began barking and jumping at the fence when the neighbor pulled into her driveway. What was a surprise, however, was when he cleared the fence, rushed the her, shoved his nose in her tushy, and proceeded to take off down the road. I ran outside barefoot, bra-less, and eight months pregnant to chase him down, yelling over my shoulder apologies and trying to make sure she was ok. By the time I got the dog back home, she was inside her house.
I. Was. Mortified. I ran through about a hundred different scenarios of how our first real conversation would be, all of which were mostly her yelling and cursing and me crying. And then I heard a knock on the door. This was it. The confrontation. The beginning of what was sure to be a brutal feud between our houses. I opened the door and she said three words that absolutely floored me.
"Are you ok?"
No yelling. No swearing. No anger. Just genuine concern for my well being. I immediately relaxed and invited her inside to chat. After we got the basic conversation topics such as our names, kids names and ages, and the fact that we were both stay-at-home mothers out of the way, she asked me a question that assured me we would be great friends
"Do you like snacks?"
Needless to say, we have formed a pretty powerful friendship. We have coffee and play dates almost daily. We go grocery shopping together. When either one of us has reached their limit with life, all it takes is a quick text and we leave the kids with our husbands and head to Target for new lipstick and a much-needed coffee. My older son stayed with her and her family while I was giving birth to our youngest. We planned a joint party for our two-year-olds. You get the idea.
We may not agree on everything. We may have different parenting ideas and religious beliefs. We may make different lifestyle choices. But we support each other, encourage each other, build each other up, and love each other. I know that if I have a rough day with the kids, she'll be there with a cup of coffee and an open ear. I don't have to pretend to be completely put together or act like my kids are angels when we're together. I don't have to act at all. And neither does she. We are able to be the broken messes that every person is without fear of judgement from the other.
And you know what? Every single mama out there needs that kind of friendship. You may be thinking that it's hard to make friends like that, and you're right. It is hard. But you know what is a great first step? Being that kind of friend. Offer grace. Offer kindness. Offer love. And offer snacks.