From play group to carpool to dance class, your fellow moms often become your best friends. After all, there's no one you see more these days, and no one who understands so well the journey of motherhood. Not every mom is Carol Brady, though, and sometimes your new besties can be downright exhausting. But usually, they're supportive, and sometimes they're even inspiring.
Check out each type of mom you definitely know, and how to be a great friend to each one–even if she insists on bringing kale juice to happy hour.
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The Rookie1 of 9
Recognize this mom by her strained smile and deer-in-the-headlights expression. She's not sure what the hell happened to her life, and every time she seeks a little guidance, she's bombarded by strong opinions from books, the internet, other parents, and friends with no kids of their own. She wants help, but doesn't know where to begin.
Strategy: Be a good friend to this mom by bringing her food and listening to her talk. Do her a favor, and don't offer your own birth stories or child raising tales unless she specifically asks for them.
The Veteran2 of 9
This mom wears the relaxed expression of a parent whose children are in charge of their own toileting needs. She gets a good night's sleep, rarely thinks about choking hazards and doesn't spend her days tethered to another human's nap schedule. She's probably even read a book for pleasure in the past year. Imagine!
Strategy: This friend is wise and ready to pass on her well-earned knowledge. She can offer advice on everything from what kind of lunchbox is best to when and how to have "the talk." She might also give out hand-me-downs–bonus!
The Girl Scout3 of 9
She is ready for anything. Armed with hand sanitizer, snacks, drinks, sweatshirts and an umbrella, she's also never without a fully stocked first aid kit. This mom is the one who confirms the reservations, checks the traffic report and always has cash on hand for the ice cream truck. She is prompt and thoughtful, and no detail falls by the wayside.
Strategy: Don't take advantage of this friend, though it may be tempting. You aren't her kid, so don't act like it.
The Fun Junkie4 of 9
This mom is always doing something fun, and she makes you want to do fun things, too. Sometimes she's able to drag you off the couch and into her fun world of indoor skydiving and Frisbee golf and family salsa lessons. Often this friend is married to another fun junkie, too, and together they're raising little fun junkie kids.
Strategy: Stay close to these folks. They'll get you out of your comfort zone and your entire family will be better for it.
The Quiet One5 of 9
This friend is a great listener, and you've never heard her yell at her kids. She shares her well thought-out opinions sparingly, and she is a calming presence in the group. Her tranquility makes the rest of us sound like a bunch of rowdy fishwives.
Strategy: Simply listen and learn. Sometimes, silence really is golden.
The Athlete6 of 9
This friend will suggest meeting up for a walk rather than happy hour, and is up at 5 a.m. to work out before her family is even stirring. She plays catch with the kids, and is always up for a pickup game of basketball. She has tons of energy, because that's what happens when one regularly exercises, and she can always be counted on bring a super-nutritious snack to get-togethers.
Strategy: It's always good to have friends who make healthy choices. Who knows, maybe you will too. Keep her around, and wish her luck on her upcoming marathon.
The Worrier7 of 9
This friend has always been a worrier, and now that she has kids, it's ratcheted up to seemingly unsustainable levels. She stresses about her kids in every conceivable way, from germs to UV rays and beyond. What's more, even when her children are meeting all their milestones, she wonders, "What if they slip?" Perceiving danger at every turn, "Better safe than sorry" is this mom's mantra.
Strategy: One look at her television, the internet or any magazine, and the Worrier's worries are validated, over and over again. Be a good friend and suggest a calming diversion, such as a trip to the park. That is, after applying generous amounts of SPF.
The Caretaker8 of 9
Armed with a calendar and a to-do list that she actually uses, this friend remembers every birthday–yours, your kids' and even the family dog. She remembers how you take your coffee, and what foods your kid is allergic to. She asks you how your parents are doing, and she listens to the answer. She even once called to tell you she saw a dress on sale she thinks you might like to wear on your wedding anniversary–which you'd forgotten until the reminder.
Strategy: Treasure this friend, and try your best to remember her special dates, too. Surprise her with a cupcake on her birthday, or send her a note in the mail. She's worth it.