What could be better than your child finding a best friend? Here’s a thought: Realizing you like the mom just as much as the kids like each other. Jackpot!
It’s not before long that playdates become standing appointments, text messages become long threads of silly memes and sarcastic banter and BOOM! Your social calendar is suddenly full. The biggest bonus of all is when the husbands hit it off. Now every member of the family has a bestie, and the good times roll… that is, until the kids have a spat or a new friend comes along to completely ruin everything. The kids have decided they don’t want to play anymore, but you still do. What is a mom suppose to do?
After several discussions with the mothers of boys, girls, multiples and everything in between, it seems as if one of three scenarios can happen to mommy-and-me friendships when the kids are on the outs.
This is the best-case scenario and is parenting moment we’ve all been waiting for — a life lesson in forgiveness, misunderstanding and communication. These moms are committed not only to repairing the kids’ friendships, but vow to use it as a teachable moment. It’s the kiddie version of Intervention that usually starts with a one-on-one, and maybe even a joint mediation. Both moms are willing to admit that neither child is perfect, and they happily help fix things. While the spat certainly caused a hiccup, all friendships involved are able weather the storm and come out stronger for it.
The Actual Breakup
What if the makeup doesn’t work? What if the mom discovers something unsavory about the other child during mediation, and she isn’t entirely sure she even wants to mend the friendship? It only takes one mom to feel that way for things to change. It’s a simple fact — friends are mothers first. If they feel their child was wronged, of course they will stand with their young. The distrust, disagreement or disappointment created by the spat will seep into the mommy friendship until one mother eventually distances herself from the other. It was a good run while it lasted, but even if the kids make up, things won’t ever be the same. It can be awkward and sad, but it happens to the best of us. The saving grace is that moms and kids are constantly meeting new friends and eventually a new bestie will emerge.
Maybe the mediation works, the kids forgive each other, there is no ill will between the moms, but the kids just don’t want to hang out anymore. Childhood friendships are fickle things, and sometimes their preferences simply change. After all, most of us only have a couple of true friends from childhood, right? So what is a mom to do? Sneak around, that’s right. Gone are the mommy-and-me playdates, of course, but take heart — you’ve still got MNOs! Maybe you start exercising together or calling each other after drop off every morning on the low. Sure, it’s not the same, but it’s better than nothing. You’ll keep up with the other’s child in conversation, and it will be enough.
Take comfort in the fact we’re all riding in this rollercoaster of motherhood together. Mommy friendships are vital to our survival of this terrific, yet trying time. Some will come and go, and others will stand the test of time. Even though we are the parents this go ’round, we are still learning and living the very lessons we are trying to teach our children about friendships.
Have you ever had to end it with a mom friend because the kiddos had a falling out? How did you handle it?