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I was one of the first of my circle of close friends to become a mom. Motherhood can change the dynamic of even the best of friendships. I still needed my friends, but I started to rely more on the few mom friends I had. I'd call them if I had a question or concern. During those first few delicate months, it was a comfort to have them.
When my son was diagnosed with autism, I didn't know a single other mom raising a special needs child. It took a few years, but I have made some pretty amazing autism mom friends — in real life and online. Being a mom of an only child with autism, I've come to really rely on my mom friends for advice and for playdates.
But it's not just about having mom friends sharing my similar journey; I value all of my mom friends. I have a good balance of support. The ones that didn't support me or my child — I cut them off and never looked back. The rest are cherished moms and amigas — or mamigas — if you will.
Here's my definitive list of the mamigas we need in our life:
The older mom. She doesn't necessarily have to be older than you, but her kids should be a few years older than yours. This mom offers real life experience and knowledge. She'll tell you not to sweat the small stuff and to take the time you need for yourself because she's been there, done that. Having a special needs child, I really depend on other autism moms whose kids are a few years older than my own. They're usually the first ones I go to when I have a question or concern.
Moms with only children. Moms with only children share a unique bond, especially if we grew up with siblings. We understand the importance of that bond and want that for our own children. I have a mom friend who has an autistic son the same age as mine. We've gone to the zoo, the amusement parks and out to eat with our boys. We even had a mother and son vacation. Seeing our kids play together was a great experience for us both.
Moms with daughters/Moms with sons. Being a "boy" mom, I love having little girls around. My son spends a lot of time with boys — he's in a class of 6 students and 5 are boys. A few of my mom friends have daughters and it's nice when our kids can play together.
Blogging moms. If you don't have a mom blogger friend, you should find one. I love all the opportunities blogging has provided for me and my family. If I'm invited to a movie screening or some other kid-friendly event, I love sharing those opportunities with my other mom friends whenever possible.
The one-upper mom. You know the type, she just can't let your child shine. Her kid is smarter, cuter, more talented, speaks three languages and is well on the way to conquering the universe. When your child makes the honor roll, she's there to tell everyone how her kid makes the honor roll every year. A real friend will celebrate you and your kid.
The mom who says you're doing it all wrong. This is the judgy mom. She's the one who firmly believes that her way of parenting is the best way. She most likely believes that "breast is best" and gives you the side eye if you start feeding your baby solids too soon. She has this whole parenting thing on lockdown and can do no wrong. You, on the other hand, need all the help and unsolicited advice she has to offer. She just can't keep her opinions to herself. Not all moms are nice. And any mom friend who is quick to criticize you is a just a mean girl.
The mom who always downplays your struggle. There's always that one mom that always has to minimize your feelings or experiences. They'll say things like, "oh but that's all kids," or "at least it's not X, Y or Z." These moms simply don't get it — or you. Dump them. After my son was diagnosed with autism, I had a really difficult time. I had a "friend" at the time who basically told me to "get over it" because at least he wasn't dying of cancer. Yeah... not the kind of person I wanted in my life.