I have very fond memories of my Freshman year of college because it was that year that I gained some of the best friends in my life. I loved that everyone in the dorms was in the same boat, we all knew no one, and we all wanted friends. There were no intimidating cliques to navigate, no “popular kids”, just a bunch of teens living on their own for the first time, and wanting to enjoy the experience. Making friends with other moms is not as easy as it was when I was starting college, but it should be since we’re facing a similar life-changing experience. Why is it more challenging to make mom friends? And what steps can you take to be more successful at it? Here are things I have learned through my own journey and from other moms.
I was lucky enough to join a mother’s group through my hospital that had me meeting 20 other moms, all with babies the same age for eight weeks in a row. This was fantastic. The classes started when my daughter was just 4 weeks old. I was clueless about how to be a parent and didn’t have anyone to ask what I’m supposed to do. Each week, a nurse from the hospital would lead a discussion on a certain topic and facilitate and get us talking to each other. We were also encouraged to meet up once a week on our own time somewhere else. This got us together twice a week and visiting baby-friendly locations that we might not have gone to on our own.
Just like with any group of people, we quickly started to see who we had things in common with and started to build relationships from there. It was so much fun to attend all of the babies first birthday parties a year later. And to see how our friendships had grown. Your hospital might not offer these groups, but chances are there is a local midwife or doula who hosts something similar. Or even better, join a prenatal yoga class before you give birth and start bonding with the other moms due around the same time as you.
The first step is to make yourself available. Many other moms are just as interested in connecting as you are. They might just be shy or intimidated by the process, so be the first one to make the move. A lot of moms that I have spoken to relate making mom friends to dating. Someone has to ask the first question and get the ball rolling, so just have it be you! When you are at story-time or on the playground, invite the moms you meet to another activity you love to do with your child. Just pick something that you will already be doing anyway. This takes off some of the pressure of planning an activity. It also gives you a safe space to hang out without having to invite them over to your house before you really know them. When my daughter was a baby we frequented two different story-times at two different libraries. She loved them both. I enjoyed telling the moms at one about the other and then seeing them start to show up at both!
The great part about meeting mom friends through your child’s school or daycare is that you’re probably already on the same schedule. That makes meeting up easier and more successful. Sign-up for volunteering opportunities at their school to help you meet more parents. Pick-up and drop-off can also be great times to talk to other parents. A lot of the time we are so focused on our schedules, and what we have to do next, that we don’t take the time to look around and see there are people just like you who would probably value a connection as much as you would.
There are a number of Facebook groups or other online forums for you to use to connect to other moms. Find one in a niche that interests you and start commenting on other people’s posts. Some of the groups I love are The Mamahood-SF East Bay, East Bay Moms Club, and Hike It Baby. You should also check out Nextdoor. It’s an online community for your neighborhood and often there’s already a Mom’s group right where you live.
It is great to talk to other moms online, and sometimes that can help fill the void you are feeling. But I also highly suggest making the move from online only to meeting up in person. We all need that physical connection as well as the verbal one. I love the groups I’m in because there is always something being posted that you can respond to. Also, these moms love to get out and meet up with each other. Join in on an open play date that one of the mom’s posts, and see what happens!
I’ll admit that this one is hard for me, especially when my daughter was a baby. But this blog post is called “It’s Not Just About Play Dates” so make sure you spend time together with your new mom friends sans kids. I had a great time with some of my mom friends at a wine bar a few months back. We couldn’t believe how much fun it was to just sit back and chat with each other without getting interrupted a million times by our toddlers. I made sure to ask questions about them (not about their kids) so that we could build on our connection. We found out how each of us met our significant others and learned a lot about each other in the process. Come to think of it, I think we are overdue for another wine date, ladies are you in?
We are not meant to be friends with everyone and that is OK! The more you get to know someone the more you will realize if you are a good fit together. Just like dating, sometimes it takes a few months before you realize that this relationship isn’t going anywhere. I think with mom friends its ok to choose quality over quantity. Maybe the other person is so busy that you never have a chance to spend time with each other. Or maybe your meet-ups are full of awkward silences, with nothing in common to talk about. You can let those relationships go. Don’t feel pressure to keep up communication when you don’t really enjoy spending time with them in the first place. Focus on spending time with the moms you do click with and you will see those relationships start to bloom.
We all have days that are harder than others. Our child didn’t sleep the night before or has a nasty stomach bug. So it makes sense that there will be times we have to cancel our plans. But for the most part, do everything you possibly can to follow through with plans you have made with another mom. And especially don’t make plans with moms that you have no intention of keeping. It hurts to be stood-up or canceled on at the last minute. And the more often it happens, the less likely a potential friend is going to keep trying and reaching out to you. Write down the qualities that you are looking for in a friend, and make sure that you are reciprocating those things back. Just like The Beatles say “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”.
Thank you to all the moms who have supported me, been there for me, given me the information for this post! You are great friends. I love you all and value our friendships more than you know.
Tell me about how you have made mom friends in the past by commenting below. I would love to hear from you!
Need somewhere fun to go with your group of mom friends? Check out local brewery Calicraft, my review of it is here.
Hey I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award for new and upcoming blogs after being nominated myself! Follow the link and continue the chain! http://califfcreations.com/2018/01/liebster-award/