I’ve heard Penny Kittle use the phrase “like-minded friends” more times than I can count, and I’ve heard her shorten it to the delightfully concise “LMFs.” In my teaching life, through a variety of channels, I’ve managed to find lots of LMFs on whom I rely for uplifting conversations and inspiration.
But in my mom life, I’ve had a harder time. While I know plenty of moms, I’ve had a hard time finding one who could be an LMF. Most of the moms I know have a few kids now, and can’t remember the anxiety-ridden first days of new motherhood. Other moms I know have a sturdy support system to fall back on when they struggle–their families are nearby, or they have a great church community, or their husbands are around to co-parent.
I have none of those things, and the one friend I had who was a lot like me just moved to Arkansas. Thankfully, her move is temporary, but the long two years until her return have been yawning before me, a lonely gap.
Until I met Carley.
Carley, like me, is irreverent in her many walks of life–as a wife, mom, friend, and professional. We have similar part-time work responsibilities, busy hubbies, and faraway families. We both like the f word. We read a variety of books, from trashy romances to Pulitzer winners. We unabashedly watch Netflix while our babies take the glorious nirvana of the afternoon nap, when we should be folding laundry or grading papers or cleaning bathrooms.
Our daughters are four months apart in age, sporting similar big blue eyes and still-bald pates. Today, as our coffee date ended, our waitress wondered of our babies, “are they twins? Probably not, but are you all sisters? Are they cousins?”
It was such a nice moment, to be mistaken for the relative of someone whose company I’ve come to enjoy so much. As I drove home, I thought about that moment, and about the buoyancy I feel when I’m in the company of a friend who helps build me up, even when I can’t see I need to be. I felt so relieved to have found a new friend like that!
I feel, finally, so optimistic about motherhood. I finally have another friend–one who lives in my state!–who I can have an afternoon play date with, followed by an evening out at a wine bar. A new friend who I don’t feel like is rolling her eyes at my maternal ineptitude, or just reassuring me that “all babies are different so don’t worry,” or telling me that the baby months will fly by and I’ll wish for them one day so I should treasure every sleepless night I get with my screaming child.
So tonight I’m rejoicing–hooray for like-minded friends!