Nothing made me see the need for friendships more clearly than having children.
Nothing made me see the need for friendships more clearly than having children. You can get a lot of free therapy with the right mix of friends.

We live in isolated families. One or two parents and their children - that's it. We believe that we can do it alone, do it ourselves, and do it without help. The cowboy spirit dies hard in us. We don't need nothin' or nobody. We can handle our own on our own.

And we can, usually.

But that doesn't mean we should. It doesn't mean it's best for us or our children or our communities. Independence is important and healthy - to a point. We tend to overemphasize independence in ourselves and our children and all end up exhausted, angsty, and disconnected.

Here is a list of my closest friends and the roles they play in my life.

Do you have these friends? Think about who your own friends are and tell them what they mean to you.

Related: 6 Tips When Transitioning to Stay-at-Home Mom

Morgan- The Rock

Morgan and I have been buds for our whole adult lives and then some. She's honest and loyal and always remembers my birthday, when I have an important interview, and to check in after something I was worried about. We use each other as a steady presence to fall back on when things are rocky. If every other one of these friends fell away, I know Morgan would still be there.

Marnie- The Best Buddy

Marnie is my late-night walks friend. We can debrief the day, moan sympathetically at the report of what happened, and offer the obligatory barely-thought-out advice. We laugh and don't take ourselves too seriously. I call Marnie when I just need to puke out my feelings and be told I'm right. She does the same.

Abi, The Therapeutic Comic Relief

This girl can make me laugh even when there's poop on the floor. Especially when there's poop on the floor. We've been friends forever and she calls me out on my crap, shares funny stories and videos and memes. She's the one I call when I need to be jolted out of self-pity or a cycle of bummers.

Aunt Becky, the Aware Aunt

I need Aunt Becky when my children are driving me nuts, or when I just don't think I can handle another day of parenthood. She's been there and back again with five now-grown kids and remembers it honestly but with humor and love. I need that perspective when I'm beside myself with mothering.

Aunt Becky doesn't get anything from me, I imagine, besides the satisfaction (and that's legit!) of having helped someone. I shower her with thanks and listen intently at her feet.

Helene, The Guidance Counselor

Helene is the friend that I call when I'm pissed about someone or something, but I know I also need to check myself before I wreck myself. I didn't handle this correctly, I'm at wit's end, and I want to have my feelings affirmed but also need someone to gently point out how I can grow and move on.

Helene is an old soul, wise, compassionate, and spiritual. Her friendship is steady and the benefits are (I think!) mutual. We can dump our problems at each other's feet and be counted upon to hold space and say, "It's hard, it's hard."

Siobhan, the Kindred Spirit

I love to be around Siobhan because we have a lot of the same malfunctions. It's nice to know someone else struggles with the same types of things. Also, it's comforting to be with her because she understands why I do some of the weird things I do (and vice versa). We can talk for hours as we compare notes from only slightly different perspectives.

Siobhan will listen forever if I want to talk. But I never do because I'm the same and I want to listen too. You can be a special kind of vulnerable when you meet someone who has felt your hurts and worried your worries and sighed your sighs.

Related: Why I Feel Lonely in a Roomful of Moms

Camina­­, the Next-Door Neighbor

With Camina, I can totally let my hair down. We spend so much time together and our kids have meshed to the degree that we really should just tear down some walls and build our houses onto each other. We don't actually live in the same neighborhood, but she's the friend that I can share the mundane with.

Camina wants my advice and that makes me feel awesome. She's always happy to help and listens to me talk about the weird occurrence from last Tuesday or whatever boring philosophy I've cooked up.

Melissa, the Girl from Work

Melissa is a coworker who understands the business and the nuances of what we both do. We talk about the work we do, help each other grow, and relate stories that not many others would understand. She also happens to be a sweet person and an excellent listener. She's a calming influence and helps me remember why I love what I do.

Samantha, the Classic Girlfriend

Sam is my get-out-of-jail-free card. She's my link to an unfettered and less complicated life. Unmarried and childless, my friend from college can talk to me about the widest range of topics and remind me about what it is to be a person in my own right.

We talk about our families, but we also talk about old times, politics, the world, history, taking care of ourselves, knitting, and the future. We go on get-aways. I like that.

The Wise Moms

There are several women in my life who have older or adult children. I don't have a special, intimate relationship with any one of them, but collectively they are an important part of my well-being. They talk me down, pat my back, hug me and say, "There, there." They tell me I can do it. They point out the hilarity of being a parent and the joys of young children. They tell me it goes so fast. They remind me to live now and love now and just be, now. Without that influence, I am likely to go so fast and furious that I leap off the rails.