Parenting Your Peers
I knew I’d officially become my friends’ new mom when these seven motherly traits began taking over my life.
By Kristian Porter, Northern Kentucky University
The Mom Friend—the designated driver, the emergency contact, the wise old sage the others flock to for advice. Every friend group has one, and if you’re not sure who it is, there’s a good chance that it’s you. I don’t know how it happened, but I became the chosen one in my small circle of friends.
For the most part, I embrace the role of designated mom. Being the person that your friends can rely on is a wonderful thing—but sometimes it can feel like a burden. Here’s a list of things you experience when you’re The Mom Friend.
1. Your Purse Inevitably Fills with Junk
I’ve always got snacks in my purse. (Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, kids. Keep that blood sugar up!) Not only that, but at any given time, there’s a good chance that I have tissues, Band-Aids, ibuprofen, feminine products and hand sanitizer. I am basically Mary Poppins with all of the shit in my bag, but none of the singing ability.
2. Holidays Become Very Important
I get really into the holidays, and I do mean really. I have a sweater for every occasion (I just dusted off my Halloween one yesterday!), I plan arts and crafts parties and movie-watching marathons and I get the biggest kick out of giving gifts. My go-to present is something handmade and then a book I think they’ll like. Every year I give this gift, and every year I feel more and more like their mother.
My friends and I celebrated Galentine’s Day in February in true Leslie Knope fashion. I took them out to eat, bought them personalized gifts and celebrated them for being the noble land-mermaids that they are.
I make sure that every holiday, birthday, job promotion or otherwise successful adulting activity is appropriately celebrated. When you’re The Mom Friend, the instinct to spoil your kids kicks in. I take pride in knowing that my friends always feel appreciated and loved.
3. You Spend a Lot of Time in Waiting Rooms
As The Mom Friend, you are usually the one that the others look to for comfort. This is especially true during doctor’s appointments. I always seem to end up sitting in a waiting room, or sometimes following them all the way back because I worry too much. I have caught myself on several occasions hovering over the doctor, asking him too many questions.
I have stayed in the Emergency Room on several occasions and I once spent a week and a half at my best friend’s house, waking up every few hours to make sure she took her pain medicine because she had surgery and her aunt had to wake up early to go to work. Even their parents understand the critical role that I play and will make sure that I’m alerted whenever anything goes wrong.
It’s gotten to the point that I am my best friend’s emergency contact at the hospital.
4. Everyone Ends Up at Your House
“Mi casa es su casa,” as they say. My friends come into my house like they are finally home. They raid the refrigerator because they know I will always make sure they are fed. They crawl into my bed and take a nap if they’ve had a rough day. There have even been times when they’ve gone to my house and slept when I wasn’t home.
When crisis strikes, one of my friends will inevitably come knocking at my door. I am the safe place—partly because they know they can talk to me, and partly because I literally never leave my house (being The Mom Friend is sometimes synonymous with being boring).
5. You Worry Way Too Much
I’m a notorious sender of the “Did you make it home okay?” text. I worry when my friends are out, and I’m not there to supervise. My mom voice kicks into overdrive when I drill them on where they’re going, who they’re going to be with, when they’re supposed to be home and whether or not they’re making safe, responsible decisions. Sometimes I will hear myself and have a genuine moment of disgust as I realize that, at only 20-years old, I have managed to become my mother already.
My friends introducing me to their new significant other is an important step in their relationship. They have actually introduced me as “Mom” before because I have a tendency to eye the person up and down, deciding whether or not I think they are good enough for my friends. I’m constantly worried that they’re with someone who doesn’t fully appreciate them.
I mostly find myself worrying that I’m not going to have the answers that they need. As The Mom Friend, they’re going to come to you for advice, but what happens when you don’t know what to say? They say that the mark of a good parent is worrying whether or not you’re a good parent—I sure hope that’s true.
6. You Get a Little Lonely
When you spend the majority of your time taking care of other people, there aren’t many people to take care of you. No one usually comes to your bedside with soup when you’re sick or listens to you cry for hours over your breakup. Mostly, that’s because it can feel awkward to talk to your friends about your problems, especially when your natural tendency is to listen to their problems.
I know that I always have the urge to put my friend’s feelings before my own and don’t want to burden them by talking about my own issues.
It can be an isolating feeling, bottling up your emotions in favor of others.
7. You Have a Hard Time Letting Loose
Let’s get real: If you’re the mom friend of the group, you’re going to spend a lot of time taking care of drunk people. This means cutting them off when they’ve had too much, stopping them from making stupid decisions and holding their hair back when they get sick. All of this requires that you have little to nothing to drink yourself. You’re going to be spending a lot of time at parties sober.
But when an opportunity presents itself for you to take a night off of parenting, it can be hard to actually let go of those responsible tendencies. I have a very hard time letting myself relax. It’s a part of being The Mom; you worry about your kids. So much so that it, in itself, can be sobering.
Being The Mom Friend comes with a lot of responsibility, but let’s be honest, it’s really nice to feel needed. Sometimes it’s stressful, but it’s a very rewarding experience knowing how much your friends appreciate your guidance.