Every Mom Needs a 'Val Pal'—Here's Why

Rudzhan Nagiev/Getty Images

When I was pregnant with my first kid, I read all the books about pregnancy and getting through the infant phase. Later, I spent hours scrolling through Instagram to learn about gentle parenting and potty training and (with my second kid) picky eating. But there was no literature—or good TV shows, TBH—about making mom friends. (Friends, Seinfeld, New Girl… lots of friendships, very few children.)

And it’s no surprise—making friends as an adult is hard. You’re busy (and tired)! I recently hung out with a friend after six months of planning… and they only live 5 miles away. Just the idea of hosting a dinner party and all the cleaning and shopping and prepping involved makes me feel like I need a nap. Add kids into the mix and it’s even harder—and so much messier (what? You don’t want to dine on Broccoli Littles on a table of Legos?)

That’s not to say that it’s impossible make friends as a parent… but if you want it to be a successful relationship then you’re going to want to look out for a ‘VAL Pal’. What exactly is that, you ask? It’s something I completely made up, but if you’re a mom, I’m fairly certain that you will 100 percent agree that it’s like hitting the parenting friend jackpot.

Basically, a VAL Pal is when the stars align and that very cool woman you met at the playground meets the following criteria:

  • Vibe: You totally vibe with this person. Even if she didn’t have kids, you would want to text her, call her, hang out with her, go on a mini break together and maybe even get matching tattoos. Simply put, she’s awesome and gets you. 
  • Age: Are your kids of similar age? If not, this person can still be a good friend but it’s going to be so much harder to hang out. Why? Because when her toddler is up, your baby is napping. When you bring your tween over, she rolls her eyes at all the preschooler toys lying around. Their kid wants to watch Bluey and yours is all about Roblox. Realistically, if your kids are of different ages then you won’t be hanging out that much and maintaining solid friendships requires spending time together.
  • Location: Do you live close enough to each other that you can schedule regular playdates, dinners and meets up in the park? Your sister checks the Vibe and Age boxes but sadly she lives three states over. That doesn’t mean you can’t be besties but every time you hang out, you’ll bemoan the fact that she’s not closer. You need someone who lives in your city—or better yet, your neighborhood. Someone you can call when you’re running late for pick-up and they won’t mind grabbing your kid. Someone who’ll get to the park early in order to reserve the good table for your kid’s birthday party. Someone you can complain to about the playground’s summer closure or the insane swim class waitlist and she’ll totally get it.

And there you have it—the mom friend trifecta. Find someone who can deliver on all of the above and your parenting life will be made infinitely easier—and so much more fun.


img 0936

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...