It is valuable and necessary to maintain your friendships after you become a mama. And no one friend category is more valuable than another, all are necessary.
Friends who have children around the same age as yours are a great source for talking about the ages and stages your kiddos are going through. There is something so valuable and comforting about bemoaning the frustration of potty-training along with someone who is also bruised from banging their head against the wall.
Then there are friends who have children just a few years older than yours. These friends are a valuable source of wisdom and insight as you grope aimlessly ahead for how to handle your children. They also are wonderful for giving some perspective when your current child-rearing issues have you in a dark, motherhood fog.
Another valuable source of friendship is those friends who don't have children. With them, you can stop being "mommy" for a little while, and just be... you. Refreshing. They are also a reminder of life before kids, which is important to remember. You are still that person and you need to stay in touch with her.
Make sure you take time to make and maintain each of these friendships. Play dates are a great way to spend time with mom friends whose children are close to your child's age. Other times, you can leave the kids home with hubby or, if you must, head out while the kids are in bed to spend time with friends. Or meet and spend time with other moms by joining a moms' group of some sort. Look up what is available in your area online or ask around.
One possible benefit of having close friends who are moms is trading babysitting. A friend and I do this weekly, and it's been a wonderful experience.
Today I took my girls over to her house for the day. They arrived at about 9:30 a.m. and I picked them up at 3:00. I was able to spend the day catching up on a myriad of volunteer work I do, most of it on the computer. You forget how fast you can work when you get used to having little ones running around your feet during every daily task.
Next week, she will bring her daughter, who is one year older than Hope, to my house for a day for about the same amount of time. It's not much more work for me to have one extra kiddo in the house and my friend gets a day to spend running errands or with her husband or even catching up on chores around the house- without a preschooler underfoot.
Ah, friendship. It can't be recommended highly enough...