Navigating life as a new mom can be difficult. Whether you’re a first time mom or a fourth time mom, finding others who can relate to the particular stage you’re going through can be the difference between loneliness and fulfillment. While some are lucky enough to meet other moms while pregnant, others go through weeks, months or even years without another mom friend. Whether you’re preparing for impending motherhood, or you are hoping to finally make this the year you finally find your mommy soul mate, here are nine tips to make mom friends that last.
Get Out of the House
One of the most important pieces of advice you can give a new mother is to get out of the house. While new babies tend to sleep a lot, it doesn’t mean that mom needs to be stuck indoors all day. Get your baby into a stroller, and go for a walk. Exploring your neighborhood will open you up to meet other moms who are in the same boat. Walk to your local shops, and you are sure to find other moms with babies of a similar age. If walking the neighborhood is a no-go due to weather or proximity to people, bundle your child in the car and head out to the mall. You never know who you will run into while out and about. A baby is a natural conversation starter, and many moms find it easier to strike up conversations by first focusing on each other’s little ones. Don’t be afraid to smile, say hello or ask questions with other moms you see on your travels. Most moms welcome the conversation.
One of the most common shared experiences new moms have is being caught out without some necessary item that they suddenly need. At some point you will find yourself at a baby changing station with a full diaper blowout and without your baby wipes. It happens to even the most organized mommies. Lifetime friendships have been established when one mom comes to the rescue of another with an extra diaper, a handful of wipes or even a tried and true parenting hack. Keep your eye out for struggling moms, and don’t be afraid to jump in and help if it is warranted. Many mothers are desperate to be reassured that they are “doing it right” and that their perceived shortcomings are mostly in their own heads. If you can be the mom friend who helps them to see themselves as Super Mom, you’ve got a friend for life.
Exchange Contact Info
Sometimes mothers will really click with each other, sharing a few minutes or hours of conversation before going their separate ways. This often happens when we meet other moms by chance and in a public space. All too often, the new friends forget to actually get each other’s information, which means it can be difficult to find one another again. If and when you meet other moms that you want to keep in touch with, don’t forget to get their contact information. Names and phone numbers are ideal, but you could as easily add them on Facebook or other social media. Whatever you think is best, get their permission to stay in contact, and make sure you have the means to do so.
Join Local Mommy Groups
In every town across the world, there are groups of moms who regularly meet up. Some are just groups of friends who make a point of getting together often, while others are organized groups who are always ready to welcome a new member. The advent of social media has made it easier than ever to meet other moms through a simple search. Type “mom groups near me” into your favorite search engine, and you’re sure to find some established mommy groups to join. You can also ask at your OB’s or Midwife’s offices to see groups they know of in the area. Finding stay at home mom groups can introduce you to many different moms at one time, which gives you a greater chance of success in finding the perfect life-long mom friend.
Take a Class
Mommy and Me classes are a great way of meeting new mom friends. These classes are just what they seem to be – a chance for moms and their children to learn together. From music classes to art to yoga, these classes are the perfect way to bond with your child while also meeting other parents. By choosing a class you’re interested in, you’ve immediately got a sense of what the other mom likes. It shows you both have something in common besides your children. Sharing a common interest is one small sign that you will get along with each other. Strike up conversations during class time, and eventually you may find that you are both ready to hang out outside of the classroom.
Don’t Just Talk About the Kids
While the joint experience of motherhood may be what brings you and your new mom friend together, it is important to remember that there is more to who you (and they!) are than someone’s mommy. Get to know each other as people first. That is not to say that you can’t compare notes on milestones, parenting dilemmas or sleep deprivation. But try to find common ground outside of your children. As your babies grow into toddlers and then into school age kids, you and your friend will still have plenty to talk about. A huge mistake that many mothers make is that they forget who they are as people, and it can limit them as their children gain more and more independence.
Always Be Yourself
One of the biggest concerns moms have is of being judged by other moms. As such, when out and about in public, we’re often sporting our “best mom” personas. We try harder to appear like we have it all together and like motherhood is just another item on our to-do lists. This persona can often carry over into our interpersonal relationships, and it is one of the hardest habits to break. When we meet other moms for play dates, it can be a constant battle to appear a certain way so that we do not invite judgement. The truth is, though, that people are drawn to authenticity above anything. By sharing your shortcomings, you are more likely to be liked. In fact, trying to maintain a facade of perfection can often push other moms away, as they feel inadequate next to you. The best way to establish long friendships is to be genuine and allow your true self to come through in all you do.
When you set out to meet other moms, it can go one of two ways. You can meet someone, immediately click and move forward along the path of true friendship, OR you can meet someone and realize that they are just not going to be your mommy soul mate. And while it is just as important to make mom acquaintances as it is to make mom friends, when one new relationship doesn’t work out, we can feel like giving up all together. It is important to realize that like any kind of relationship, creating a life-long mom friendship can take work. Interact with as many mothers as you can over a long period of time. Go out for coffee together in groups or one on one, and continue to cultivate relationships with any of the moms you enjoy spending time with. Not all of them will be forever, but you never know when one will suddenly turn into your best mom friend.
Remember that being a mother immediately puts you out of your comfort zone. You’re going to go through tons of new experiences you never even heard about. And each of these new experiences will add to your repertoire as a mom. With this in mind, embrace the idea of trying new experiences. When you meet other moms and they invite you to try something, say yes! You may have spent your entire pregnancy making fun of the stroller exercise moms you saw at the park, but when your new mom friend invites you to one of the classes, do it. Whatever new experiences come your way, embrace them with a sense of excitement and adventure. Having a child changes your life, and it is the perfect time to open yourself up to new ideas, as well. By trying something out of your comfort zone with a new friend, it can cement your relationship beyond what a few play dates can accomplish.
There’s no doubt that there is no magic wand for new moms to make friends. It requires effort beyond what we often think ourselves capable of. But with a bit of persistence and determination, we can meet other moms and make mom friends that truly last.