Friends are one of the most important assets a woman can have. I know this because my life is blessed with some wonderful friendships, and lately, I’ve been feeling extra grateful for these people.

I’ve come to realize that as a mom, I absolutely could not survive without the “mom friendships” I’ve built over the years. Parenting is a tough job sometimes (okay…lots of times), but I’ve got friends with whom I can vent, pray, laugh, and cry – and sometimes do all four at the same time!

Some of these friendships are new, while some have been established for a long time. However new or old, though, each one has a special place in my heart, which is why I want to give them some thanks today.

First, to my mom – thank you for being my first mom friend when I joined the club four and half years ago. You freely give me advice, but you’re also super cool and understanding when I say, “Um – they don’t really recommend that anymore…” You encourage me and let me whine a bit to you, yet you’re tough with me when I need to be told to suck it up. I might not like it at the time, but it’s often what I need to hear.

Next, to the oldies – you are the friends I’ve had for years and years. We’ve grown up together and become moms together, and you understand me in ways some people maybe never will. We’ve been friends for so long now that I know we can always count on one another, and watching our kids grow up together as the next generation of us is pretty awesome.

Then, there are the newer ones – the ones I’ve made as an adult. Many of you I have met through MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I could probably go on quite a bit about how much I love this group and the women I’ve come to know through it. Having a time and place to gather and talk about being a mom, wife, and still your own person has led me to new friends and a closer relationship to God – win-win in my book!

Finally, I would be amiss to neglect mentioning another friend. You see, mom’s friends don’t always have to be moms themselves. They may not relate to all the parenting woes, but that’s okay – they are still another person in your corner. My best non-mom friend is my younger sister. We can be totally weird together and talk about anything and I really mean that. Plus, one of these days she will probably become a mom herself. And when she does, I can’t wait to become of her first official mom friends.

Like I said, I am blessed. Sometimes being a mom can be crazy overwhelming, and talking about it to the hubby just doesn’t cut it. I need my tribe, the women who truly understand where I’m coming from because they’ve had the exact same thoughts and feelings. I need my friends, the women who know me as not just a mom, but as Heather.

If you’re a mom feeling a little alone in this season of life, don’t be afraid to reach out. Look to your family, your old friends, or take the plunge and join a mom group of some sort. It might be intimidating, but I guarantee it will end up being one of the best decisions you make.

Photo credit: Sinéad McKeown via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Heather Shotkoski My name is Heather, and I am lucky to be surrounded by handsome men! I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over ten years, and together we have three lovably wild little boys. I grew up in a tiny town near the middle of Nebraska, and after living in the "big city" of Kearney for six years, my husband and I found our way back to the small town life. I am a stay-at-home mom, and each day is definitely a new adventure with three rapidly growing boys. I absolutely love it!