Not to toot my own trombone, but I have lots of mom friends. Both moms who’ve become friends, and friends who’ve become moms.
Some of them are even teammates from an adolescence spent playing sports: soccer, water polo, track, swimming, and more soccer.
Lately I started to notice similarities between the moms I love and my favorite high school coaches:
1. “Nice hustle, keep up the good work.”
My best friends encourage me relentlessly, praising effort as well as accomplishment. When my attempt at a gourmet dinner that’s both nutritious and delicious tastes like packing peanuts, they say things like “such a great idea” and “even Ree Drumond burns toast sometimes.”
2. “Grab a cup.”
My mom buddies ply me with beverages during breaks in the action. We’re talking wine and cocktails instead of Gatorade, but still. Tipsy is the new hydrated.
3. “Okay, okay.”
They’re never angry at me. As long as I give it my all, they don’t express disappointment, even if I’ve totally screwed up. A miffed penalty shot. Shouting at an infant who won’t sleep. They tell me to keep my chin up and focus on the future.
4. “Take a lap.”
When I used to get so frustrated that I wanted to remove my cleats and throw them at someone’s head, my coaches told me to stop and clear my head. These days it’s more “take a nap” than a lap, but my girlfriends are the ones who say pushing through and working harder aren’t always the answer.
5. “Need a hug?”
Sometimes the big game doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes your child wakes up from a nap after twenty minutes or yells, “I want a different mommy!” When all seems lost, my mom friends step up and offer the warm embrace of commiseration.
6. “Weeeeee are the cham-pions, my frieeeeeeend!”
When I score a really big win—like getting a three-year-old to wear socks or managing a family photo where only one of my kids looks possessed—these gals celebrate the hell out of it: “#bestmomever #killingit.”
7. “Want a sub?”
Sometimes a lap/nap just won’t cut it. I’m overtired and overworked, running my body into the ground and depleting my mental and emotional reserves. My mom friends know when to let me sit on the sidelines for a bit: “I ordered you delivery,” they text, or, “how about I pick up your kids from school today?” Because there are times when putting your feet up is the only way to optimize performance down the line.
Of course, there’s at least one way my romances bear no similarity to the coach-player relationship: they’re reciprocal.
Of course, there’s at least one way my momances bear no similarity to the coach-player relationship: they’re reciprocal.
I will do your laundry and empty your trash cans, even the bathroom one, so that you can snuggle your new baby and/or cry. I will tell you that your kid is great and you are a terrific mom, even if she kicks you in the shins for the third time this month, breaking the skin this time.
They get my impossibly high expectations and the devastation that comes when my kids and I inevitably fail to always meet them. And I get theirs. We take the edge off together with encouragement, booze, understanding, hugs, props, and tangible support.
Let’s go, Mama Bears, let’s go!