If you belong to even one mom group on social media, you’ve probably seen this question. Weekly. And if you’re a mom, you’ve probably felt it, too. Whether you’re the first of your friend group to have a kid or you’re new to the area or, like so many others, have found yourself just a little bit changed after having a baby, finding new mom friends feels hard.
Personally, I don’t even want to think about the number of times I’ve whined, yes, whined, those exact words above to my pre-kids but an also-now-a-mom best friend. I moved back to the Atlanta area when I was eight months pregnant with my first child, so finding friends who could relate, teach, and commiserate with me felt important. And yet, it took months. And months. And if I’m being honest, almost three years later, it’s still a work in progress.
In those three years, though, I’ve learned a thing or two about making new mom friends and the value of having other moms in my life. Whether it’s showing you a glimpse of the outside world when you’re feeling isolated after bringing home an all-consuming newborn or pouring a glass of wine and topping any toddler tantrum story you’ve got (I promise you’re not the only one whose two year old has melted down and thrown his shoes in Target), having friends who can relate is powerful.
If you’re anything like me, seeing advice like “Be bold,” has you already mousing right on over to that little X at the top of the screen. But hear me out! That mom you see every single week at the library probably isn’t that different from you. Sure, maybe she has nicer leggings and looks like she actually did her hair this morning, but that only means she has wisdom and shopping tips to share. Be bold. Say hi. Learn her name, not just her kids’.
It turns out meeting new moms isn’t unlike dating. If it’s been a while since you were single, relax. You have the best wingman (or wing-girl) out there – your kiddo!
Somewhere growing up you probably heard “If you want a friend, be a friend.” Maybe it was on one of those motivational posters in elementary school. Maybe you’ve even told your own child the same thing. It’s solid advice!
If boldly striking up a conversation with a complete stranger isn’t your jam (I’m with you!), look for ways you can lighten another mom’s load or brighten her day. Friendships are built little by little. I’m not sure I could work up the courage to just strike up a conversation with a random parent, but if I see a mom struggling to carry a car seat while holding her older child’s hand or trying to clean up breakfast that just spilled in the daycare parking lot, I’m on it.
And if you hear another mom lamenting the isolation that motherhood can sometimes bring, invite her over!
Give it Time
Think back to how you met some of your best pre-life-with-kids friends. For most of us, developing those relationships took time – it wasn’t bestie at first sight. Making mom friends is the same way. Slower even, because it takes longer to get to know someone between, “I’m watching, honey,” and “Baby, no, please don’t put that in your mouth.”
For me, setting more reasonable expectations and getting a little out of my comfort zone has paid dividends, in the form of compassionate, fun friends who I can relate to and laugh with on the best and toughest days alike.
So the next time you’re thinking about how hard it is to make mom friends, be bold! Invite that mom who is new in town out for coffee or suggest a Chick-fil-A playdate to the mom whose kiddos are running wild at storytime (it could be me!).