Stage One: She’s Cool
You’ve stopped cleaning before she comes.
You no longer feel compelled to prove how involved you are, and take the much needed period of respite while she’s there to do dishes, fold some laundry, or take a shower.
She doesn’t have to ask you where anything is or if it’s okay for her to do XYZ.
Your husband has learned her name and recognizes her on sight. This may seem like an odd one, but when you have a revolving door of therapists, many of whom will leave after just weeks or months to pursue other career goals, it happens.
Stage Two: The Honeymoon
You can handle her coming over when your house is an epic disaster that you wouldn’t even let your other mom friends see, though you still apologize for the mess.
You are fine with her seeing you in your grungy sweats and that comfy tee with the stains on it (no bra) while your hair is greasy because you haven’t showered in 3 days.
You can yell at your kids in front of her without feeling like a bad mom.
Most of your neighbors know her by name.
You don’t mind it when she gives you unsolicited suggestions/parenting advice, even when you don’t agree.
Stage Three: She’s Family.
She has seen you in just a towel. (There is a reasonable explanation story for this).
Your kids include her in the picture when making drawings of the family.
She has met more of your neighbors than you have.
You let yourself have occasional mommy tantrums in front of her.
You sometimes feel annoyed by her in the same way your husband or kids sometimes annoy you.