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The Mom Friend I Never Would Have Chosen

Photograph by Twenty20

As a mom, friendships are tricky.

In those early years of motherhood, I found myself in this weird purgatory of being detached from my college friends who had not settled down, while also having yet to find someone who could be my best mom-friend. I was in desperate need of a friend—a person who got me, accepted me and could navigate the trenches of motherhood alongside me without judgment.

And so, I went on a search. Where does one find such a person? Since my lifestyle at the time had me rarely leaving the house, due to a combination of my struggle to wrangle my kids in public and the fact that I had a strong desire to avoid putting on real pants, my options were limited. I could have used a dating site for best friends.

If I were to have made a mom-friend personal ad, it would have looked something like this:

Working wife and mother of two seeks best friend. Enjoys long bouts of late-night Netflix binges and oversharing with the grocery store checker. Prefers texting to all other means of communication and rarely answers the phone if you call. Must be able to have in-depth conversations about a variety of shows on Sprout and Nick Jr., as well as share a deep-rooted hatred for "Calliou." Enjoys feeding her children in the car, drinking coffee instead of water and having a minivan that looks like it was taken straight out of an episode of “Hoarders.”

It also would have said:

Highly likely that applicant will be stood up semi-regularly due to one of the following: A diaper blowout, sick children, oversleeping or simply forgetting I had plans.

Basically: “Hot mess seeks hot mess.” I was looking for someone who mommed just like me. I guess I thought the best type of person to support me through motherhood would be my clone. Someone with the same priorities, the same frustrations and the same downfalls. It turns out, that’s the opposite of what I got, and the opposite of what I needed.

She gets that I’m a hot mess and she agrees. She’s also a hot mess in a lot of opposite ways. Together, we make almost one whole, amazing, functional mother.

I ended up reconnecting via social media with a childhood friend and mother of four. She was nothing like me. She’s was a work-at-home mama while I tried to juggle being a teacher and daycare. She was an organic granola mom and I bought Lunchables. She took her kids to naturopaths, chiropractors and thought most ailments can be healed with essential oils, while I have always taken my kids to the regular, old pediatrician and begged for antibiotics.

She gets that I’m a hot mess and she agrees. She’s also a hot mess in a lot of opposite ways. Together, we make almost one whole, amazing, functional mother. While we are so very different, it’s as if we balance each other out perfectly. She has knowledge I seek out when I’m dumbfounded as to what to do, and my strengths can help her through new situations, too.

I never worried that she would make a snide remark when I brought a box of Fruit Loops as preschool snack (though I know she’d be wheeling and dealing organic fruit leather). I have confidence that she didn’t judge me when I admitted that I let my kids stay up until 10 p.m. on a school night to finish "Home Alone," though I’m pretty sure her own kiddos were fast asleep by 7:30.

It’s still surprising that someone so very different from me can be my mom-friend everything, but I guess opposites do attract, even with a bestie. She’s my judgement-free vent zone. My emergency nurse line. My free advice call. My “I’m hiding in the bathroom with a bottle of wine” text.

She’s my soulmate.

The mom friend that I never would have chosen is the one I couldn’t live without.