It all started during my second trimester with my first pregnancy. I didn’t even complain about the morning sickness during the first few weeks, but when the pregnancy symptoms no one told me about started—the projectile nosebleeds for example—I found myself in need of a good old-fashioned vent session. I turned to my cousin Emily, also pregnant with her first, and we began comparing pregnancy pain notes. 

Just like that, I had my first mom vent friend! Nearly 16 years later, the “mom vent” part of our relationship is still going strong. Through sleepless nights, breastfeeding, pumping, potty training, preschool pains, and now, *gulp*, kids who are about to start driving, venting to each other about the hard times of motherhood has helped us both get through them.

And praaaaise the Lord for that. Without my vent buddy, I’d probably be institutionalized. Cause this motherhood thing? It is NOT for the weak. And it was NOT meant to be navigated alone.

We need our mom community to hear us, validate us, empathize with us, and if needed, put us back on track if we’re straying in the wrong parenting direction.

Not that we need scientific validation of the vent friend phenomenon, but OF COURSE, science totally agrees. 

A 2009 study done by researcher Bernard Rimé showed that study subjects who were able to verbally express their stressors to peers experienced lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So when you feel better after venting to a friend? That’s because you actually ARE better!

What’s more? Having a vent friend in your life isn’t just good for you, it’s good for your kiddos, too!

I kind of LOVE this . . . and it totally makes sense! Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that when mama has people she can turn to in times of stress, baby benefits! Smart Parenting magazine reports that Kaja LeWinn, a psychiatry researcher at the University of California in San Francisco, who served as one of the authors of the study says that, “This is because when mom has people she can turn to for advice and support, her parenting stress is reduced and her health is improved—factors which are both positively associated with child cognitive development.”

That settles it, mamas. If you don’t have a vent friend, it’s time to place a classified ad! What’s good for mom is good for the kids! We ALL need mom friends to be our “safe people”.

So grab a gal who can listen to you vent, empathize, offer advice, and give POSITIVE affirmation and encouragement (not one who will lead you from venting to a negativity spiral). I’m sooo blessed to have a few of these ladies in my life, and they are worth their weight in gold!

Do you have a vent buddy? What’s your favorite way to let off some steam with another mama?

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.