Growing up, I had a lot of siblings and not so many friends. Definitely not a best friend. But now that I'm older, married, have three kids, and live thousands of miles away from my family, I'm finding myself in a position where I need people to help me survive. And to have a shoulder to cry on when my kid poops in my purse. (True story for another time.)
These are crucial years, when "going out" consists of a quick run to the grocery store or pushing a stroller around the block to get your kid to sleep. As parents, we need people by our side to commiserate with and be reminded that even when life is at its lowest and we just found our kid playing in the clogged toilet, we are not alone.
You probably already have friends, but still aren't sure which ones will survive these years with you. So, in order to help you narrow down your list of candidates, I have created the following cheat sheet. Feel free to get it re-sized and laminated to fit in your purse. It's that good.
1. Be okay with the mess.
Now that we're friends, I won't always warn you that my house is trashed before you come over. I may say something like, "Be prepared," and then make a path so you don't receive permanent damage done by my kid's princess Lego castle -- but that's all.
Unless I specifically say that I need your help cleaning (which will probably never happen unless I'm bedridden and at death's door), you are not allowed to ask to clean my house. Among other things, you are not allowed to say the following sentences:
"I just stepped on a tater tot. It's obvious you need help."
"There's no room to turn on the faucet. Want me to do the dishes?"
or "My feet are turning black. Hand me that broom."
2. Have stuff in common.
I believe that as best friends we can challenge each other to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. But if you don't have kids, like double-stuffed Oreos, drink coffee, or watch tons of TV this relationship has nowhere to go. And we'll officially have nothing to talk about.
3. Be real.
I don't want to hear how your three children slid out of your already-tight-again vagina during your pain-free-drug-free labor. I want to talk about sleep deprivation, eating cold pop tarts in the bathroom, and how you haven't changed your jeans in three days because you're too exhausted to move.
4. Don't be (too) adventurous.
I'm not the friend you take on an 8 mile uphill trek just so we can see the breathtaking view at the top. And I'm not the friend that does last-minute trips to the amusement park with three kids. No, I'm the friend that sits around the house with you, sipping coffee, and talking about how one day I may take my kids someplace nice -- you know, once they can wipe their own butts.
5. Don't judge.
When my kid drops her binky, I pick it up and give it right back to her. I don't dip it in bleach or soak it in a pot of boiling water before letting her put it back in her adorable mouth. I've seen her eat dog poop before so I'm not worried about her catching a few germs.
6. Don't apologize for the fun times.
There's nothing that can ruin a friendship faster than apologizing for all the things we bonded over. Feel bad for gossiping? Overeating? Dropping an f-bomb during the play date? Well, those are the things that brought us closer together -- so, basically, you hate love.
7. Don't play "doctor"
As my best friend, you will end up getting texts at 5am of me complaining after an all-nighter with a feverish kid. This doesn't give you the freedom to google all the symptoms on Doctor Internet and tell me you think my kid could have a cold or a tumor. No.
8. Must be willing to discuss gross topics
As our friendship grows through the years, so will our children. Hopefully that means our conversations don't always have to consist of words like cervical mucus and period flow, but for now, friend, that's all I got.
Good luck to you on this journey of finding true friendship. And don't worry! They're out there -- just waiting to sit around on the couch in their sweat pants for hours while eating day-old donuts with you.
::sigh:: My friends are lucky to have me.