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Female friendships are some of the hardest relationships I’ve ever had to endure in my life, but they’ve also ultimately been some of the best. It’s always been important to me to have a strong group of female friends, but that doesn’t make these friendships easy to maintain. Emotions run high amongst ladies. Then feelings get hurt and drama ensues.  It’s just part of our DNA, apparently. I really thought as I got older and wiser, female friendships would mature especially once I had children. It’s not always the case.

It’s sort of like dating.

Constant questions will worry you like: does she like me? Is it weird to ask for her number? Does she want to take things to the home play date level? You may no longer be dating, but you’ll remember how hard it can be to put yourself out there from your single days. And like dating, it doesn’t always work out. So move on — there are many more moms to chat up.

You might feel judged…

There are fewer things more fraught with emotion than parenthood and that’s especially true when you’re brand-new at it. Enthusiasm for, say, attachment parenting or exclusive breastfeeding can come off as disapproval if you’re doing things differently. Try not to take it too personally—you can still make small talk at the park even if you’re not 100-percent on the same page.

…and you’ll judge too

Until you settle into your skin as a mom, you might not be able to hear about someone else’s drug-free birth or their strict nap schedule without getting a little uppity yourself. Keep in mind that you’ll be facing some version of these conflicting parenting philosophies for years. Today it’s breast vs. bottle, but before you know it will be parents who let their kids play video games vs. those who don’t.

Mean moms are out there

I wish they weren’t, but means girls exist, just like in high school. And just like back then, they’re almost always fueled by insecurity. But the good news is, you’re a grown-up now and you aren’t required to sit in math class with them. So if you come across a mean mom, just walk away and find someone else to talk to.

It takes time to find the right ones

The moms’ group friends you make right off the bat might not end up being your inner circle. After all, besties wouldn’t be so awesome if they were a dime a dozen. As your baby gets older, you’ll constantly be meeting new moms—at baby class or daycare or preschool—and eventually you’ll find friends you really click with.

Your kids might not get along

That mom friend you met in baby group might turn out to be your rock of support. But that doesn’t mean your kids will get along as they get older and form their own opinions. Don’t sweat it if your kids aren’t best buds—that’s what coffee after drop-off is for.

It gets easier

Trying to make friends when you’re still figuring out how to breastfeed or you’re chasing down a toddler who’s about to hurl himself off the slide can be hard. But as your kid gets older, regular activities, school and kid friendships throw moms together with zero effort. Before you know it, you’ll be relaxing on the playground while your kids play tag just like the other moms.

They’ll become more than mom friends

At first you’ll differentiate between the “mom friends” you know from baby group and your “real” friends that you’ve known forever. But as your kids get older and you spend more time together, you’ll realize that you have so much more in common than just your kids. That’s when your “mom friends” become your close friends, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them in your life.