Wouldn’t you love a simple “friend” to-do list that you could check off and then voila! You would have a new mom BFF. I understand that it is not that simple, but I was hoping a few suggestions might help us connect with other mothers and ultimately make a mom friend.
Let me start by saying that I LOVE FRIENDS. Meeting new people and making new friends is my jam. I try to be sensitive that not everyone likes to talk to everyone all of the time. I hope for any momma who is on the quiet side that this can help you to find a friend too.
There is so much talk about finding a tribe and raising our children in a village. However, it is so hard to find that tribe or locate that village. Yet we all know that doing motherhood in isolation isn’t fun or safe. I urge you to step a little outside of your comfort zone and try to connect with another mother nearby.
To have a friend, you must be a friend.
We have all heard this advice but it is the most important and helpful step. So often we look around at a busy playground or a crowded grocery store, and we assume that every other woman there has it all figured out. We imagine that her social calendar is full and she must already be wearing one half to a Best Friend necklace. This is not the case. Most of us are aimlessly walking around Aldi trying to look cool and would love for someone to connect with. If you see a mom at Target who is struggling to push a cart and wrestle a two-year-old, offer to push her cart. Someone in your neighborhood just have a baby? Take them a take and bake pizza. Does a long lost friend have children similar in age to yours? Reach out and plan a park date.
Take that first step, be a friend. Sure, sometimes it won’t result in a long-lasting friendship, but it might. If it doesn’t, you have still been kind to another momma and you have to feel good about that!
Get out of the house.
I love to cozy up on my couch, binge-watch The Crown and take long scrolls on Facebook – however, I have never met a friend that way. When my oldest was about 6 months old, I stuffed myself into some yoga pants and headed to the local library for a baby story time. I thought it sounded a little ridiculous, a bunch of 6-month-olds in a library was bound to be loud and they can’t read yet. However, in that storytime room I met some of the dearest women. We were all puffy-eyed from lack of sleep and drowning in dirty diapers but we showed up. My daughter refused to participate and never got off of my lap. Some kiddos screamed the whole time and others just crawled around and put everything in their mouths. Baby storytime at the library (and baby themed activities at most places) are usually 20% about the child and 80% about the mom. We have to meet other mothers, we have to see other humans. We have to get out of the house.
It is so hard to be a mom. Breastfeeding vs. formula, co-sleeping vs. crib, sleep training vs. not sleep training, etc. Once we get out of the house and try to meet other mothers, we get nervous to tell our new peers about how we are raising our little human. Usually, we are pretty scared to tell someone about our parenting choices for fear of what opinions we will hear. If I am in a room full of moms I am pretty sure someone is judging me. This is not a good feeling. I try so hard to not judge. You only feed your baby organic, gluten-free, whole foods – good job! If you want to feed your baby pre-packaged food – good job! You want to stay at home – good job! If you’re going to go back to work full time – good job! I really don’t want anyone to judge my decisions and I try super hard to not judge others. Making new mom friends is easier when the women around you feel they can be honest about their parenting methods and know that talking with you is safe.
Just like trying to find a spouse, finding a friend can take time and effort. Sometimes I leave a playdate with a new mom friend and I am giddy with anticipation of this amazing new mom friend. Other times we didn’t really click and I have to chalk it up as an experience. Don’t get defeated. Sometimes we connect with other people and sometimes we don’t. Also, some mom friends are great to call for quick last minute playdates, others are good to call for a recipe and some are good to send funny text messages to back and forth about this crazy parenting roller coaster. Not all friends have to be “THE” friend, we need all kinds of people in this village we are living in.
The gift of friendship is truly the best gift I have received and it is the most valued gift I give. Having a tribe of mom friends has saved my life again and again. Reach out, keep being kind, show up and keep trying.