Mommy Friends Needed
When I was pregnant with our first son, I didn’t have any close friends with children, or mommy friends. I wasn’t worried, though. I had recently gotten married, and not much had changed. Once my baby came, I figured we’d just bring our baby out with us or get a sitter. Our life and friends would not change at all. As I alluded to in my post last week, boy was I wrong. Kids change everything, including friendships.
It didn’t really occur to me that all my friends would still be working their full-time jobs, going out most nights, and having time for long, leisurely restaurant dinners, while I would be home all day and exhausted each night. It’s not that I didn’t still want to go to bars and talk about the hottest new spot, but I actually didn’t. I wanted someone to commiserate with me over my non-sleeping through the night baby, or someone who wouldn’t care that I was in sweatpants with spit-up on my shirt. While I loved being able to be home with my son, the first couple months were long and lonely.
I had to make some changes. I needed some friends that understood the demands of motherhood, and wouldn’t get grossed out talking about dirty diapers. I needed some mommy friends. I tried a lot of different things, and while not all of my suggestions may work for you, I hope you’ll find at least one way you feel comfortable making new mommy friends.
Where to Look for Mommy Friends
Find Groups Online
Even though my first son was born almost 5 years ago, technology was still a huge help to me. I have never been a big “joiner” of groups, and truthfully, I’m a little shy when it comes to meeting new people, so the Internet really helped me meet mommy friends.
After Googling “Mommy groups,” the first site I found was Meetup. You can search for groups in your area, with any interest you are looking for. I looked for a stay-at-home moms’ group, but there are working mom groups too. There are groups for mothers of multiples, single parents, and special needs parents. Most groups charge a small fee (between $5 and $15) to join, and then they give you access to all of their upcoming events. They schedule play dates at local parks, the zoo, and even other members’ homes. You can pick and choose what you want to go to, and there’s an RSVP button so you can see what other members will also be there. Each member also has a profile with a picture, so you know who you are meeting. I would choose events that were close to where I lived, and ones that did not have too many people, so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I also looked for activities that fit my child’s age, so there would be mom’s going through the same milestones as me. I was nervous to go to my first event, but when I realized the other moms were just as nervous, I felt better and had a great time.
Another great site is Nextdoor. It’s a way for you to create a group in your neighborhood and get to know your neighbors. After having my second and third (twins,) children, we moved, and I didn’t know anyone around me. This site allows you to send free postcards inviting all your neighbors to join and create a centralized Website. Once they join, you can send messages or set up events. I described our family in our profile, and within a few weeks, I had two moms send me messages about meeting up to take a walk. This summer we’re having our first block party.
One other AWESOME thing about signing up for Nextdoor, is if you use my referral link and set up your neighborhood with at least 10 neighbors, we’ll both get a $25 Amazon Gift card! I know it works because I’ve gotten one before. Just click HERE to be taken to their site and sign up.
Of course, last, but certainly not least, there is Facebook. There are tons of mom groups, support groups, and special interest groups, but sometimes it can be a challenge to find local groups. I stumbled upon a great group of moms through a rummage sale site, so sometimes it’s just a shared interest on top of being a mom. I also have met tons of great ladies that live all around the US. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just have a conversation over the computer or phone without the pressure of meeting in person. You can really get to know someone without even “meeting” in person. I, luckily, have had a chance to meet a few non-local people through some fundraising events, and I’m hoping to have more reasons to travel in the future.
Of course, always use caution when meeting new people Online, and don’t put yourself or your children in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.
Get out and about
If computers are not your thing, or you are leery of meeting people Online, there are plenty of other ways to meet other parents. You need to go where kids want to hang out, but sometimes as a new mom, you’re not even sure where those places are. Here are some ideas.
Local libraries are a great place to meet other moms and dads. Most have a story time, and even a little indoor play area. Some have two story times for different age groups. Parents go in with the little ones, while the older children just go with the librarian. This gives you with toddlers a chance to bond over your children who won’t sit still and listen, or if you have an older child, actually talk to another parent for an uninterrupted half hour. Not all parents are there to meet others. Some just want a half hour of peace and quiet, which is OK too. Just look for the cues, (mom sitting and smiling wants to talk, mom with head in a book does not,) and you’ll be fine.
Parks, Zoos, and Playgrounds
Speaking of play grounds, local parks, zoos, and play grounds are another great place to meet other mommy friends. You can say a quick hello while you’re trying to climb up the ladder to follow your child, or try to start a conversation while pushing your little one in the swings. While you may not get a big chance to talk, if you start going to the same play ground over and over, you’ll start seeing and being a familiar face, which always helps. I would always try to keep a smile on my face, and look for kids in the same age range. “How old is your child?” or “I’m sorry my child just shoved yours on the slide,” are always great openers.
Indoor Play Areas
In Wisconsin, we’re definitely in need of indoor spots to meet potential mommy friends for when the weather does not cooperate. There are plenty of indoor play spots such as open gyms, bounce/trampoline parks, and children’s museums. If you have young children, however, you may spend all your time chasing them instead of meeting other moms, and they can get expensive. This is again where I recommend sticking with one place. You can try out a few to see which fits your personality best, and then purchase a membership or a group of tickets at a cheaper rate. That way you can save a little money, become familiar with your surroundings, and be “regulars.”
If your children are too little, or indoor play is not your thing, the shopping mall is a great alternative for mommy friend making. There’s no admission charge, there are toy stores, people watching, food, and window shopping for mom. What’s not to love? My oldest has always been a huge fan of the different holiday decorations and lights too. I would frequent the children’s clothing stores so much, that I got to know the sales clerks at my favorite stores. This led to discussing their children, and friendships started. I’ve also met people while in the checkout line, or even in the food court.
Now remember, even though you will have met a ton of new mommy friends, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your old friends. Being a mom is just one part of who you are, and while you may need someone to understand that part, it’s nice to have friends who know the other parts too.