Let’s face it, it’s easier to go through the challenges of motherhood when you have a community behind you.
I am the mom of two amazing little boys. You can read more and connect with me on LinkedIn. I got started with babies late in life. I became pregnant with baby #1 at the ripe age of 34 years old. When most of my friends were dealing with the trials of teenagers, I was nuzzling my newborns.
I absolutely I adore my friends, but when I had babies I discovered I needed that mom connection to moms that were going through what I was going through at the time I was going through it.
I needed to be able to connect with moms who had kiddos the same age as mine.
[bctt tweet=”Making new mom friends can feel as awkward as dating.” via=”no”]
When your time and energy has been zapped from caring for little ones, the last thing you may want to do is leave the house or entertain another mom and her baby. But trust me, it may be just what you need.
That mom connection can help us to not feel isolated, to feel connected and understood, help reduce stress and build some of the most lasting friendships you will ever develop. That’s one of the reasons the Momalot blog was born. Read more about the Momalot mission on the About page.
The tips that follow are what I like to call my secret to making mom friends. I can’t take credit for all of these tips though. These are things I have learned along the way, and learned from other moms, through eight years of making mom friends.
Once you bring your baby home from the hospital, you’re likely to be short on free time. Get a headstart on making mom friends by reaching out while you’re expecting.
Introduce yourself to other patients in your obstetrician’s waiting room and chat with other customers at baby boutiques. You never know where a simple “Hello” or compliment on someone’s shoes will go.
Focus on finding friends who live nearby so you can maintain regular contact. There are usually a number of moms groups in most cities.
The best place to start is your local library and church.Browse for local chapters of parenting groups like La Leche League or Stroller Strides.
Spread the word
Let your family, friends, and coworkers know that you want to meet other parents. They may know a couple with a child the same age as yours.
Try Phone Apps
Try out the growing number of apps designed for bringing mom friends together. Many of them are free.
My favorite app to meet moms is Meetup. This app is designed to – you guessed it – help people meet up. You can set up a group, or a regular meeting for people who share a particular interest. There are groups for moms wanting to meet moms, as well as all sorts of other things like travel, work at home, nature and more.
When I brought my first child home from the hospital the Meetup app was a saving grace in getting me out of the house and connecting with other moms in my area.
Another favorite app for making mom friends is called Peanut. The app connects moms with others like them, who are nearby and interested in hanging out. This app is different from Meetup in that it focuses more on one-on-one connections rather than group connections.
Check out this post where I share all of the great smartphone apps you can use to find mom friends in your area and online. The Best Apps You Need for Making Mom Friends is a great way to start finding mom friends in your own area.
Use Social Media
If you’ve never jumped into a Facebook group then now might be the time. Depending on where you live you may find a group or two with moms from your area.
The only challenging part about using Facebook or other social media to make mom friends is that you may find it challenging to actually meet up in person. If you’re the kind of mom that likes to get out and about, you may not have as much success with Facebook. Again though, it all depends on the groups you find and the women in them.
I personally loved Facebook for getting involved and making mom friends. Early on I was lucky and found a group of like-minded women who loved to get together while the kids played usually at someone’s house.
Visit the playground
Traditional approaches still work too. Pick a time of day when your child tends to be calm, and head out to play on the swings and slides.
Look for opportunities to start a conversation. When my youngest was a baby I took him to a playground in our hometown. I kept hearing this squeek squeek squeek sound. For a moment I was baffled as to where the sound was coming from and then realized it was from the shoes of a toddler. I commented to the mom about the shoes and we soon got to talking, discovered we had a lot in common and became friends.
New mothers often flock to gyms and exercise studios. Sign up for prenatal classes and return for Mommy and Me yoga sessions. It’s an easy way to meet moms with a common interest, and get some much-needed mom time to get your body back on track after baby.
It may seem like “friend-making 101” but it needs to be said. Make sure you are approachable. Put your phone away. Put a smile on your face and look around.
Have the courage to make the first move if you see another mother who seems compatible. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness if she’s trying to make new friends too.
Become a regular
Increase your odds of making a lasting connection by frequenting the same spots at the same time of day. Maybe you’ll want to visit a popular coffee shop right after the morning rush each weekday. Or attended a Toddler Time event that happens every Tuesday at your local library. Or take time out for yoga every Friday (trust me, you deserve it). ?
Schedule a playdate
When you hit it off with another mother, exchange contact information and suggest a playdate. That way, you’ll have an hour or two to get to know each other better.
Arrange solo time
If you’re craving adult conversation, set aside some quiet time to engage. Have a chat over a cup of coffee while your children nap. Go for a walk together while your children lie quietly in their strollers.
Your mom friends may be different from the friends you chose when you were single. While it’s fun to discover you have plenty of common ground, you may just appreciate having someone around to provide companionship during the work week or share leads for daycare centers and children’s movies.
Parents sometimes feel pressured to look flawless, and social media can add to the strain. Remember that the most fulfilling friendships are those where you can relax and be authentic. Enjoy being yourself instead of trying to keep up with an unrealistic standard.
While you may want to avoid moms with comparitis (it’s a rare affliction where a mom will want to brag or exaggerate her child’s achievements,) you may not want to cut her out of your life at the first sign of it. Remember, she may be nervous at making new friends. Maybe her way of making sure you like her (and her kid) is by going on and on about little Joey.
Making mom friends can be an awkward experience at first. So if you are new to the notion then go easy on yourself.
Follow the steps above, be patient and allow yourself to make mistakes. I don’t know how many times I put my foot in my mouth, or said what I thought was the wrong thing.
Learn to laugh at yourself and take the anxiety out of making new mom friends.
As you build your community, you’ll benefit from having greater validation and support, and you’ll be helping other mothers to enjoy the same advantages. Most importantly, you’ll prepare yourself to parent more effectively.