When I was in high school and college I had a few really close friends. These friends were so dear to me – I could pour my heart out to them, tell them anything, and they wouldn’t judge me. We lived together and they helped me grow into a responsible adult. Some of them were even in my wedding party!
It was just so easy to be their friend and I naively thought that we would always be close.
When I became a mom everything changed. My days were filled with caring for my little guy and navigating that new role. The way I perceived the whole world had changed. Every routine had been altered and every thought I had was now in the context of being a mom.
I was in survival mode. My days revolved around how much sleep I got the night before and if it were possible to “get anything done” while simultaneously taking care of a baby. Adding anything “extra” like play dates, grocery shopping, or pursuing a hobby always seemed hard to justify or left me feeling more exhausted than before. Sometimes it was just easier to stay at home and not do anything extra.
But I was lonely. Sure, some of my pre-mom friends visited me or sent me emails or Facebook messages. It was so fun to stay in touch and keep them updated. But it was as if I had moved to a foreign country and the only way to have social interaction was to be “visited” or “written to”.
I decided I needed to make some mom friends. It wasn’t that hard to do – I was already plugged into a church, some friends of my husband’s from college were having babies around the same time and I had some doula clients who had little babies and were in a similar situation.
But there was a catch. Gone were the days of endless conversations that lasted for hours and hours. Have you ever seen two moms try to have a conversation while their children are around? It’s very fragmented, not a lot of depth. Very ADHD, if you know what I mean. Whenever I left a play date I always felt like I wanted something more. The mom friendships I had left something to be desired. They felt almost superficial.
How to Make Close Mom Friends
Now that my son is five (and since then I’ve added another little person to the mix), there are some things I’ve learned about making mom friends that I’d love to share with you.
After reading this post you will be more motivated to make close mom friends and also have a good idea how to do that… or at least give you a good idea of where to start.
Let’s dive in.
High School Rules Don’t Apply
Remember how you made (or didn’t make) friends in high school? Yeah, don’t do that. Moms get a new set of rules.
1. Mom Cliques Suck
I was recently at a kid’s birthday party where I knew nobody except my own children. Once I got there, the host family was very friendly to me but the other moms acted as if I wasn’t there! Seriously? They wouldn’t even engage me in conversation! I was SHOCKED! Was I still in high school?
I was actually pretty hurt that these grown women would completely ignore me and only talk amongst themselves. It made me feel pretty low.
Moral of the story? Don’t ever do this! If you are feeling pretty comfortable in any sort of “mom group” make sure you keep an eye out for outsiders. Not only are cliques only for juveniles, but they can really hurt others.
2. Pretend You’re Extroverted
Many women are not naturally extroverted, myself included. However, to make a friend you need to be a friend so it’s time we got our big girl panties on and go outside our comfort zones.
I’ve learned that extroversion is a skill we can cultivate. Just because talking to new people makes you feel uncomfortable does not mean that you shouldn’t learn how to do it and do it well.
Here are a few tips to get you started: Smile, make eye contact, and ask them questions about themselves. Everybody loves to talk about themselves so definitely try that first. If you need more fodder than that, ask her questions about her kids. That should at least get you a few more minutes of conversation.
3. Don’t Gossip
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Ladies, gossip is pure poison. Just as gossip will ruin a perfectly good birth community it will also poison perfectly good potential mom friends. Instead of talking about people let’s raise our standards and talk about events or ideas. Let’s take a cue from our old friend Eleanor Roosevelt and stop gossiping. The quality of our relationships will drastically increase if we stop gossiping.
4. Don’t Judge Outward Appearances
You know that mom that lives around the corner that doesn’t look like you? If you decide to not be her friend because of that reason alone, you may have lost out on one of the best friendships of your life. How boring to have friends that are only just like you! It’s time to graduate from high school, be brave and befriend someone new. I promise, you won’t regret this decision.
Places to Look for New Mom Friends
The following is a great place to start looking for other moms to befriend. If you’re anything like me, you might think that because you don’t see them they don’t exist. But they’re there! I promise! If you want to make some friends you have to look for them. Often times, they won’t come looking for you!
Go Outside, Stay Local
When I was a new mom I had it in my head that in order to meet other moms I had to drive somewhere for an event – maybe a playdate or to meet a friend at the mall. I soon realized that driving places wasn’t always convenient (when kids fall asleep in the car it KILLS naptime) or cost effective.
I started being intentional about meeting other moms that lived near my home. I began taking walks and introducing myself to other women at the playground around the corner from my house. You know what I found out? I used to think that there were NO other moms of young children in my neighborhood but I happily found out that simply wasn’t true!
Because I stepped outside my comfort zone, since then I have met many other moms in my neighborhood. I had no idea these women even existed let alone only lived a few doors down from me. I’m so grateful to have met them. It has been such a blessing to have mom friends only a short walk from my home. A mom friendship that is geographically convenient is more likely to flourish.
For the days you don’t go outside online groups can be very helpful at making new mom friends. We live in the information age and moms aren’t excluded from this either. I have found some amazing friends through “Attachment Parenting” Facebook groups. Many of these moms often meet up with each other “in real life” and have play dates! Check out your local facebook groups to see what’s in your area.
Story Time @ Library
Another way I have met other moms in my area is by attending story time at the local library. Where I live the meetings are small and it’s impossible NOT to talk to the other moms in the room. I wouldn’t say I’ve meet a “bosom buddy” at story time, but it has definitely helped me to be more connected to the other moms in my area.
Learn a Craft/Hobby
Right before I had kids I started to learn how to crochet. I am not that great, but I do find it to be very relaxing. Well, guess what? Learning to crochet did more than make baby blankets because it has helped me to make new friends!
Turns out I’m not the only mom that crochets, or that has a craft or hobby. I have been to a handful of “craft nights” or “mom’s night outs” where we worked on whatever craft we were trying to finish. Not a lot of crafting actually got done, but only because we were having so much fun chitchatting. If you are looking to learn to crochet all you need is to get a set of crochet hooks, some yarn and watch some YouTube tutorials. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
One of my favorite ways I have made mom friends is through my local MOPS group. MOPS stands for mothers of preschoolers. We typically meet twice per month for two hours where we talk, eat and become better women and mothers together.
One of the best parts about my MOPS group is that childcare is provided which means that I have the opportunity to have uninterrupted women-to-women conversations and create quality, lasting friendships. This organization is truly amazing. I hope you have a local MOPS group you can plug into.
From their website, “MOPS is a grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers. We also believe that incubating hearts and giving just-because-hugs can change the course of history. That’s why we connect moms all over the world to a community of women, in their own neighborhoods, who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood. MOPS groups are rallying women to be more honest, to feel more equipped and to find our identity by journeying along side one another. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, and by preschoolers we mean kiddos from birth through kindergarten. We know it’s a little confusing so let’s just stick with “MOPS.” We are moms, and we believe that better moms make a better world.”
Don’t Give Up
Pursuing quality female friendships is ridiculously important as a mom, woman and human being. These relationships will encourage you as a mother, nurture your soul and will really give you that feeling of connectivity that we all desire. We all want to matter to someone and to be in relationship. We were DESIGNED that way, you know?
The last piece of advice I will give to you is to not give up. If you try something listed in this blog post and it totally backfires, blows up in your face or leaves you feeling discouraged DON’T GIVE UP!
“The secret is not to give up hope. It’s very hard not to because if you’re really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side.” ~ George Lucas
Would you be a dear and share this post? You never know who might need to read this. ~Lindsey
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[…] the pandemic has negatively impacted pregnancy is that it’s made it very, very difficult to make mom-friends, or parent-friends, for that […]
Thursday 6th of November 2014
I'm just now getting around to catching up on some of your posts, but I completely identify with what you've said. I can't seem to find time to establish a close relationship with anyone now that I'm a mom, and often feel that I"m the one doing all the outreach (it's like dating again...does she like me? is she secretly hoping I'll just go away?). I guess I'll just keep seeing the few close friends I still have the three or four times a year we manage to get together and hope we'll be able to increase it as the kids get older.
Tuesday 14th of October 2014
Love this except for one little thing. Extroversion is not the same as outgoing just like introverted doesn't mean shy. Sure, introverted people can be outgoing for a bit, but it's going to be just as draining to their psyches. Introverts just need time to recharge, it doesn't mean they're not outspoken or outgoing. It's super hard to explain to people that you can't "just grow out" of being an introvert. :-)
Tuesday 14th of October 2014
Oh yes, I totally know what you mean. After I spend time being social somewhere, I have to come home and have quiet time. I'm so drained! I think what I really mean is that just because you are "Introverted" doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out, or learn to reach out, to other women and make friends.