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The 10 Friends Every Mom Needs

One evening, I stopped by a friend’s house to return a book I’d borrowed. The following morning, I went on Facebook and noticed the little birthday reminders in the upper right corner.

It was her birthday, and I hadn’t mentioned it the night before because I hadn’t remembered.

I can be a clod like that. I often blame it on my inability to keep track of details. (I’m a big picture person, people! I’m good at ideas! You need ideas? Come to me! You need to cross all the Ts and dot the Is? Ask someone else!) In reality, however, I handle many details really well. I know when the kid’s underpants drawer is running low. If someone in my house needs to find a screwdriver or a receipt or even a stray sock, chances are I know where it is. I don’t even need to go to my shower to see if we’re running low on soap. We are.

The kid is due for a well visit and a dental check up. I need no calendar to remind me of this. My brain does it automatically.

So why is it so hard for me to keep track of my friends? According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, it might be because I have too many of them. On Facebook, I’m connected to more than one thousand people: high school friends, college friends, friends from my first job, friends from my second job, friends from my third job, friends who also work as freelance writers, meditation friends, kung fu friends, friends I inherited from my husband, in-laws, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even friends that I’ve met online. It seems like every day I see a status update and think, “Wait. What? Is she grieving?” Then I scroll through that friend’s status history and learn that yes, indeed, her mom died a month before, and I hadn’t even bothered to reach out.

From Facebook, I’ve learned that friends have become mothers, and I hadn’t even known they were pregnant.

And married friends have become single, and I didn’t even know they were having problems.

Can you relate?

For most of us, social media has dramatically expanded our circle of friends and, for the most part, this is a good thing. There are few things that health experts unanimously agree on, but the power of friendships is one of them. Supportive friendships increase our sense of belonging, boost our happiness, blast away stress, help us improve our lives and stick to resolutions, and make hard times feel less hard. They also keep us alive.

And they help us stay happily married.

So if 150 is the max that we can realistically keep track of, what is the minimum? According to a study that came out earlier this year, the answer: Ten.

That’s not 10 Facebook friends who have hidden your updates because they are sick of hearing about your ongoing home improvement project. No, that’s 10 supportive friends who have your back. When you think of such friends, you are filled with a warm, gooey feeling of gratitude.

Here are ten friends every wife and mother needs.

  • The 10 Friends We All Need 1 of 11
    10friends

    Researchers tell us that we all need 10 friends. Some of us have more than one thousand. Let's look at which ones are the most important.

    Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com

  • The Invisible Friend 2 of 11
    invisible

    This is the gal who lives inside our soul. Too often we treat this friend with more cruelty than any of the evil stepsisters treated Cinderella. We bicker with her and criticize her and tell her that she can't do anything right. But to be a good friend to others, we must learn to be a good friend to ourselves.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Bright-Sided Friend 3 of 11
    brightsideded

    Let's face it: some people are happier than others, and this friend seems to have inherited the ultimate happiness gene. Whenever you are with this friend, you can't help but catch some of her happiness and bring it home with you where you then spread it to your family members. After a night with her, you feel good all over.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Generous Friend 4 of 11
    encouraging

    She hits "like" nearly every time you post something to Facebook, raves about your ideas, and generally helps you stay on good terms with your invisible friend. This friend is especially important for women who do too much, who have a hard time with the word "no," and who feel uncomfortable asking for help. The truth is that there are times in our lives when we have no choice but to lean on others, and this is the friend who rises to those occasions. She doesn't ask "what can I do?" She shows up, and she does it.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Happily Married Friend 5 of 11
    happilymarried

    This is the friend that you turn to for inspiration whenever your own relationship is feeling stale.

    Photo credit: Olaf Starorypinski

  • The Health Nut Friend 6 of 11
    healthnut

    We tend to behave like the friends we surround ourselves with. Surround yourself with sedentary friends and you will do sedentary things. Surround yourself with vegans and you will automatically eat more kale.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Brutally Honest Friend 7 of 11
    honest

    This is the friend who has the courage to tell you that those glasses don't flatter your face, that your husband might actually have been right about your butternut squash soup being too salty, and that you are being way too mean to your invisible friend.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Illogical Friend 8 of 11
    illogical

    We all need a free spirit in our lives, that friend who does things because they "feel" right. You can always count on this friend to lift your spirits. She smiles easily, laughs heartily, and is always up for a spur of the moment road trip.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Logical Friend 9 of 11
    logical

    This is the friend who keeps us grounded, the one who asks questions like, "So are you sure you really want to leave your husband? Maybe a good night's sleep will help you find some clarity." We admire her ability to see things as they really are, to weigh future consequences, and to calm our emotions when they've overwhelmed our common sense.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Wise Friend 10 of 11
    wisefriend

    This friend doubles as a spiritual guide. She's always on the ready with great advice. Whenever you are at a cross roads, you know she'll help you choose the best direction for your life.

    Photo credit: Alisa Bowman

  • The Romantic Friend 11 of 11
    romanticfriend

    This friend is often overlooked, but absolutely essential. If you are not friends with your significant other, what's your relationship really about?

    Photo credit: Liz Reap Carlson

Read more of Alisa’s writing at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.

And don’t miss a post! Follow Alisa on Twitter and Facebook

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