I love being a mother! This title is so different than every other title I have ever held or hold today outside it’s domain. It is crazy, awesome, overwhelming, inspiring, guilt-inducing, happy, daunting, joyful, profound, intense, and super lucky. But finding other like-minded mothers around can be difficult – making new friends as an adult is a feat in itself – even without the motherhood part!
Sometimes I just want to skip over all the social norms when I see another mom at Starbucks or walking down the sidewalk- “you look normal, I might even say happy, fun and in my age bracket! You are much more put together than me but seem to have a similar aged child – I think we could get along and be friends. What do ya’ say?! Wine on Tuesdays?!”
Here are some tips and encouragement for making mom friends – it’s been awhile since recess right!?
1. Be Open to It
First things first, it’s awkward. It is hard to make new friends. It’s a weird phase to go through again in life for most of us who aren’t super extroverts or in some sort of sales position. If you want to make mom friends, you are first going to have to just accept that it is a kind of uncomfortable position and can feel energy draining, time consuming and daunting upfront. Be your own hype girl and open yourself to the end result instead of the tasks.
2. Make Yourself Available
Smile. Be friendly. Offer a ‘hello’. Put down your phone. Uncross your arms. Offer for your kid to build a sandcastle together with theirs. Whenever you are – express you are available for conversation or acquaintanceship. Remind yourself when you choose the seat in the back of the room during birthing class, or spend time are the furthest picnic table in the park texting that you are not making yourself available. It is both mental (‘being open to it’) and physical (being available). These things seem so OBVIOUS, they are OBVIOUS. But it is so easy and second nature to pull back for so many of us!
3. Make the First Move
“Hi, I’m Julia. We are due in October, what about you?” Find your in and take it. Introduce yourself, smile, offer a compliment, give information about yourself, be kind, be happy. You remember this all, right?! It’s like the first day of college all over all. “Love those shoes, where did you get them?” “I have been looking for a scooter like that all over, where is that from?” Making mom friends is like dating! Someone has to make the first move. Remember all this?!
4. Parenting Classes
Your first opportunity for mom friends is your prenatal/parenting classes! Whether you are taking birthing seminars, breastfeeding classes, CRP training or infant workshops – you’ll be surrounded by other parents-to-be who likely live around you and are probably due around the same time you are. Viola! Don’t be afraid to say hello and exchange numbers for pete sakes! “It would be fun to get these babies together once they are on the outside! Would you ever be up for an tummy time play date?” “Do you want to grab a cup of coffee sometime and talk about baby stuff? I’d love to know how you are preparing for this big transition!” If you are more shy than your spouse – put them up to the challenge of introducing you both to other couples.
5. Parks & Playgrounds
Go out of your way to be friendly and open to conversation at the playground. It is a feeding ground for mothers and mothers-to-be-again to get to know each other in a casual setting.
6. Mommy & Me Classes
I am going to be frank, I signed up Wes for some classes for ME – not him. I was dying to make some mom friends in the area and knew if we hit up a swim class, music class or art class once in a while, I was bound to make a friend or two. If nothing else, some social interaction with other parents at least while at these classes. It worked and I took away a few really fun like-minded friends with similar aged children! We don’t hangout all the time, they aren’t my best friends – but we love meeting up with the kids when we can and exchange texts about mom stuff/kid stuff regularly.
7. Nursery Schools
Once your kids start getting into school – the social scene ramps up for everyone! This starts as young a preschool and nursery school. If your community has a co-op school and you have flexibility, that is a perfect way to meet other parents!
8. Online Facebook Groups
When your little one first arrives, they are too small still for the parks/playgrounds and so many of the mommy & me classes. I remember lamenting about this when I was on maternity leave. I had all this time alone at home with this new baby and no social connection to speak of. It helped a TON to join my local mom facebook groups, and also our communities “parents club”. You might be completely unaware of these underworld before baby but they exist! Join, join, join! Engage! Suggest stroller walks and coffee dates with strangers and their babies – show up – connect, enjoy.
9. Parent’s Clubs
Not every town or city has Parent’s Clubs but many, many do. You might not know about them yet – but search it out! A lot of the community parent’s clubs hold educational and social events, many have online forums to help answer questions for new moms, local information about nannies, daycare and sitter, events and more. One of the first mom friends I made was through our town’s parent’s club. We had both been looking for a ‘nanny share’ and ended up connecting for coffee. We never did a care-share together but became great friends nonetheless!
10. Play Groups
As you start to pick-up friends through coffees, classes, playgrounds, breastfeeding support groups, etc. – don’t be afraid to start suggesting and organizing open playdates at the park, family hikes, etc. You could even take turns hosting at your house! The open part is super important – allow other moms to invite the mom friends they are making! We are in this together, after all!