When my daughter was first born, I spent most of my days with Meredith Gray and Olivia Pope (if you know these people, we can be friends). It was the loneliest few months of my life. Finally, after some encouragement from my husband, I turned off Netflix and decided to get a life. I needed real human beings over the age of 18 to interact with daily. I needed mom friends.
Let’s just say that making mom friends is no easy task. Mom groups have a tendency to segregate, and you may not feel as though you fit in anywhere. There are the seasoned moms, the cool moms, the indie moms, the attachment parenting moms, the crafty moms, the southern moms (where everything short of the diaper is monogrammed), the working moms, the stay-at-home moms, and so on and so forth. While I think I’m a little bit of all these moms rolled up into one, finding a place to fit was challenging at first.
I visited my first mommy group based off a recommendation from the Meetup website. The group was amazing, but I was heading into the world of seasoned, cool moms, and I was a brand new mommy. If I recall correctly, I showed up with a stroller, car seat attachment, car seat cover, diaper bag, Udder cover, extra diapers in my purse, toys, a rolled up play mat, and three changes of clothing. Can we say neurotic?! These moms were cool, crafty, and indie. Their babies were snugly swaddled in Boba wraps while the moms drank green smoothies. When they whipped out the sewing machine for craft time, I knew I was a goner. I’m not really crafty or cool, so I knew this probably wasn’t the best fit for me. I did return for a few more visits, I even tried to craft. Much like dating, it wasn’t them it was me, and I broke it off.
The next mommy group I visited was a breastfeeding support group. I went in with high hopes. I knew I was going to make a new mom friend, because I was breastfeeding, not ashamed, and eager to learn some new feeding tips. Well, didn’t your parents ever tell you there are some things you shouldn’t talk about on a first date? Things like politics and religion. The same can be said for mommy first dates. It’s probably not a good idea to start off talking about breastfeeding, vaccines, or any other sensitive parenting topic! Things got a bit heated at one point with this group (not involving me, I’m a rookie, I didn’t even talk), and I decided the only drama I wanted in my life was Grey’s Anatomy (R.I.P McDreamy). I never went back.
I was starting to feel a little lonely for mom friends that I could talk to about life and poopy diapers. Then one hot and sunny afternoon, I decided to visit the mall play area, and my friendship luck changed. Let me set the scene…
We were both playing with our daughters in the play area and exchanged smiles and glances. I finally I got the nerve to talk to her. I think I said something like “what a cutie.” It was all very generic, but sincere. We struck up a conversation about our former careers, our hobbies, how hard it is to make mom friends, and our daughters. Then, she had to leave. I have to admit I was kind of sad. It was the first real and comfortable mom conversation I’d had in a while, so I pulled the ultimate dork move. I gave her my business card. I DID NOT think she would ever call me, but a few days (or maybe weeks, it’s all blurry now) we planned a play date. The rest is history, and I now consider her one of my dearest friends.
Connecting with my first mom motivated me to connect with other moms. Over time I’ve continued to build my mom friend circle by joining groups that fit my personality and by talking to moms in random places like Starbucks and Baby Gap. Building my mom tribe has been such a fun and encouraging experience. If you’re looking for connections with other moms in your same season of life, here’s what worked for me:
Disclaimer: I’m not a friendship expert, in fact I’m an introvert by nature.
Try new groups. Even if the first few tries are not successful, still continue to look for a group you can connect with. Seek out groups that interest you. If your interest is fitness, join a Mommy and Me fitness class. If you enjoy crafting, look for a mom group that crafts. To find mom groups, check out Facebook or Meetup. If you can’t find a mom group with a hobby you like, start your own. I guarantee there are moms in the area that share your interests.
Get and give contact information. If you meet a mom, and really hit it off, give them your number. Chances are they’ll stalk you on Facebook anyway, so why not cut to the chase and exchange information.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Yes, you may get rejected (I have!), but it is still worth it to put yourself out there. Chances are you’re a really cool person, and if someone rejects your extension of friendship it’s their issue, not yours. On the other hand, when you show vulnerability and “keep it real” you may develop lasting bonds and friendships. The closest mom friends I have are the ones that have seen my silly side, my messy side, my ugly side, my past, and my failures. They know I’m not perfect, and they love me anyway.
Look close to home. Are there other moms in your neighborhood? Put your baby in a stroller, and walk around the neighborhood. You never know who lives down the street. In fact, I just learned that one of my newest mom friends lives in my neighborhood, and has for four years. Had I been a little more neighborly, we may have met sooner.
Know when to move on. Just because a person is a women with a child does not mean she has to be your best friend. Not every connection will work out, and that’s okay.
Put yourself out there. Much like dating, you have to be willing to experience a little bit of awkward in order to find your mom tribe. Next time you see a mom out, know that she may be looking for a friend too. Who knows your seemingly dorky move may turn into a beautiful friendship. Just relax, say “hi”, sincerely compliment her kid, and don’t forget to give her your digits (or business card).
How have you met mom friends?