Do you have these? (BigStock)

It’s a lonely journey through play dates, potty training, and preschool without a mom friend to listen to your complaints. Er, I mean, your stories. These 10 types of friends comprise an ideal support network for every mom of small kids.

1. The Mom With a Kid A Year Older Than Your Oldest Kid.

This demi-goddess knows everything there is to know. She can be counted on to tell you how to deal with lice, when you’re supposed to start research summer camps, and which lunchbox works best for kindergarten. And she even gives your kid hand-me-downs! She would have to be convicted of first degree murder for you to stop being her friend. I mean, unless they let her call you from prison to tell you which gymnastics place is best for birthday parties. Then it would be like, whatever, she was framed.

2. The Friend With a Kid a Year Younger Than Your Kid.

Wow, you’re smart and competent. At least you feel that way after talking to this friend. Can you believe she doesn’t even know which gymnastics place does the best birthday parties? Thankfully, you’re around to give her advice, which makes her so grateful that it really bolsters your self-esteem. (Note: talk to this friend immediately after you talk to Friend #1.)

3. The Friend Without Kids.

Hey, you know what you don’t feel like talking about today? People who call you mom. Ideal time to call your friend without kids! She may politely inquire about your children for the first few minutes, but you can turn the conversation to something more interesting by asking what she thinks about some issue in the newspaper. (Note: to prep for this call, put your kids in front of the TV for a half hour so you can read a newspaper).

4. The Mom Whose Kid Your Kid Likes

It’s easy-peasy to get together with her, because your kids actually get along. So what if she’s an extreme couponer while you avoid the sale rack because that stuff is all picked over? So what if you drive a Prius and are vegan and she drives an SUV to McDonald’s? If your kids ask to hang out with each other, and get so involved in playing that they don’t keep asking you for snacks, band-aids, or to play on the iPad, this woman is your new best friend.

On Parenting columnist Samantha Rodman shares three simple ways to make new friends once you become a parent. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)

5. The Friend That Your Kids Like Better Than They Like You

Whether she has kids or not, this veritable Mary Poppins has a gift for making kids smile and laugh. More power to her. While she plays elaborate pretend games and actually remembers the words in all the Frozen scenes, you can hang out on Facebook on your phone. I mean, watch and participate.

6. The friend whose in-laws are worse than yours

Your husband asks what you have in common with this friend, and you say, “Oh, stuff.” Stuff like that she’s the only one whose crazy mother-in-law stories trump yours. I mean, dropping by unannounced with a new puppy for the kids even though your friend is allergic to dogs? What a riot! Unreal! When you catch your breath from laughing, you feel better about your life. And your MIL seems tolerable in comparison.

7. The friend who knew you from before you were a mom

Remember that hot guy you hooked up with in college who turned out to be an actual model? And then he kept calling long after you weren’t interested anymore? Well, this friend remembers. And she knows just when to bring that story up. She also knows what you like to drink, and orders it for you before you even arrive on those rare nights that you can escape the house after bedtime.

8. The friend who is just really nice

Did you lose weight? This friend thinks so. She also thinks your kids are really well behaved. And what a cute outfit! Do you need her to watch the baby while you go to the bathroom? It is likely you were originally intimidated by this woman when you first met her, because she was so well put together and confident. And then she turned out to be nice, too. Isn’t that always the way it goes.

9. The friend who is not that nice

This friend always has hilarious stories about the mom at playgroup who was sanctimonious and rude. She doesn’t sugarcoat her own opinions either, and she openly complains about her kids. She makes you feel like Mother Teresa, and she’s also a lot of fun to spend time with. (Note: She’s a good friend to spend time with after you hang out with Friend #8. Then you won’t feel like you’re secretly the most negative and self-centered person in the world.)

10. The friend who just gets it

This friend, whether she’s been in your exact situation herself, makes you feel understood. She gets your jokes and is always there when you need her (even if it’s just via text, since, let’s face it, she’s as busy as you are). If you met her earlier in life, you would call her your best friend, but if it’s later, you just call her your close friend. Either way, she is always in your corner.

If you’re not lucky enough to have all of these types of friends already, send this article to someone you want to woo as a potential mom friend. (But don’t use the word “woo” anywhere in your email or else you’re #11, the Weird Friend.) And remember, a stranger mom is just a mom friend that you haven’t had a play date with yet.

Dr. Samantha Rodman is a clinical psychologist in private practice, a dating coach, and a married mom of three. Visit her at Dr. Psych Mom, check her out on Facebook and Twitter @drpsychmom.

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