Why Is It So Hard to Make Mom Friends?

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I would love to have that one mom friend I can call anytime or meet up with without planning three months in advance. I saw one blog that called her a “ride-or-die.” That’s what I’m searching for. And based on what I’ve seen online, most moms are searching for the same thing. 

We all want mom friends. We all need mom friends. Which begs the question: Why is it so hard to make them?

I think there is one major culprit here. 

Being a mom is exhausting.

As mothers, we work all day (whether as a SAHM or an employee). We cook, clean, do chores, manage the family’s social calendar, entertain kids, chauffeur kids, make schedules, put kids to bed, clean some more, etc.  

Oh, and we’re also supposed to exercise, read, maintain our existing friendships, and otherwise take care of ourselves. Our schedules are full, and our energy tank is empty. 

I try to make friends. My calendar is full of various group events, but I only go to about 10% of them. I’m always so excited to add them to my list, but when the day comes, the thought of getting dressed, driving, parking, and talking to strangers is just too much. So I stay home with my family like I do every other night. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I don’t know how these other women do it. Then it occurred to me: maybe they don’t.

Are mom friends even real?

All the women in movies have that go-to mom friend. I see women at many events who seem to be besties, chatting, laughing, and talking about everyday things like they genuinely know each other beyond being moms. I always ask myself, why don’t I have a friend like that?

As I put together this article, I started to wonder: how realistic are my expectations? We are all buried in family, work, and life. I barely have time for myself and my spouse, let alone to build and maintain new relationships. When I do see my mom friends (which tends to be maybe 2-4 times a year), we have a great time. It’s not like we don’t want to hang out — we are just so busy.

I think mom friends are real — the relationships just look different for everyone and vary throughout our lives. 

How can we make mom friends?

We are all searching for friends and community. And the reality is: there’s no easy way to do it. But I think there’s something we can all do to help ourselves — and each other — make the connections we need. 

Put yourself out there.

It sounds scary, but what does putting yourself out there look like?

Actually going to the event.

There are so many moms and other social groups filled with awesome people, but motivating yourself to attend is a monumental effort. We all have limited time and energy. Focus it!

Pick one event you know you would enjoy — a girl’s night out, a brewery outing, a book club, a movie, whatever that looks like for you — and commit yourself to going. Don’t try to go to something that “should be fun.” Focus your energy on low-risk, high-reward efforts. For me, that’s a brewery meet-up. Worst case, I just have a yummy beer and go home. You’ll have a lot better time if you attend an event you actually want to be at. 

Starting a conversation.

Starting a conversation with a stranger is literally my nightmare. If I have to ask an employee for help, I leave stores empty-handed. But you don’t meet people if you never talk to anyone.

The good news is we have a go-to icebreaker — our experience as moms. So whether it’s at a school event, baseball game, a mom’s gathering, or even online, ask that other mom about their kids. At the very least, you’ll get a few minutes of camaraderie, and maybe you’ll begin to build something deeper. 

A note to the moms who love to talk and make friends: please seek out us quiet, shy people! We may look unfriendly, but we are probably just nervous or intimidated.

Follow up

If you feel a vibe — even if it’s a “we have kids the same age” vibe — ask for their number and promptly reach out to schedule something. Don’t wait. We all know if we don’t do it right away, we’re never going to. 

I’ve asked moms I just met or don’t know very well for playdates, and I didn’t die. And let me tell you a secret: No one has ever said, “No, thank you, I’d rather not make a mom friend.” 

The same goes for your existing mom friends. We’re not ignoring you. We’re probably just overwhelmed. Be the one to reach out and say hi or make plans.

Maybe these steps won’t lead to a best friend like the movies. But, when you put yourself out there every now and then, you will make connections and start to build a community. It would be so easy for us to keep to ourselves all the time, but we’d miss out on the fellowship we all need. We can all take turns making the first move.

I’ve started building mom connections. I don’t have a “ride-or-die,” but I have people I chat with on social media and at events. I have people to call for playdates. And maybe that’s enough, at least for now.

Friendship is critical to human existence, especially one as trying as a mother’s. We are all in this together. Let’s work together to build relationships. 

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Jen Walker
Jen is a native Hoosier who spent 8 years living on various beaches before returning home. She now lives in Carmel with her husband and son. For a decade, she worked in TV news. After becoming a mom, she transitioned to a more family-friendly career in PR. She currently works at a B2B SaaS PR agency where she ghost writes thought leadership articles. In her free time, Jen is an avid Pelotoner, runner, reader, and sports fan (Fever season ticket-holder and long-suffering University of Miami supporter). Her family loves trying all the fun experiences and restaurants central Indiana has to offer.


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