This post is by Megan Hyche, author of Match Made in Motherhood.
Maybe you and your best friends made a pregnancy pact and you all had kids together. Maybe you’re in a tight-knit community where the moms all stick together. If that’s you, then feel free to skip this article.
For the rest of us, making mom friends is HARD. No matter how good of a support system you think you have before having kids, it’s a whole different ballgame when you’re six weeks in and the new baby smell has worn off.
You realize that your well-meaning childless friends just don’t get what you’re going through. Your mom, though helpful, has outdated advice. You realize quickly that you need mom friends. But why is it so awkward?
It should be as simple as, “You’re here with a kid, so am I, let’s talk while they parallel play next to each other.” Unfortunately, that rarely happens.
I’ve written a book called Match Made in Motherhood about a lonely stay-at-home-mom who tries all different things from online mommy dating, to story times in order to make friends. Plus, as a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom who’s had to make friends in two different cities, I’m kind of an expert on the topic. I’ll share the best ways to make mom friends:
1. “Mommy and Me” groups
Articles like this usually list the same suggestions over and over. I’ll assume you’re already aware of these options, or at least most of them, so instead I’ll just list all the ‘mommy and me’ I can think of offhand along with a short description of them.
- Kindermusik: A music class for kids 0-7. You sign up for an entire semester or season and get the chance to interact with the same moms. Your kids will really love it and benefit from it, but it’s a little pricy.
- Story times at your local library: They’re free, there’s options for all ages, young kids, so there’s something for everyone. If you didn’t like one, don’t write them all off. Check out a different library or a different style. Barnes and Noble also does some on weekends.
- iStroller Fitness classes: Can’t make it to a traditional gym because you have kids? This is a way to incorporate your kids into your workout. You get a free class to start out. You’re able to make the work out as easy or as difficult as you want.
- Tinkergarden: Think story time, but less structured and OUTSIDE. Each season, the classes have a theme and include an activity and a snack. Great concept, but when it’s outside you also have weather to contend with.
It’s basically Tender for making mom friends near you. I met my husband in college before I had a chance to explore the world of online dating. So, if you’re like me and wanted to test out this experience without you know, adultery, this is the perfect chance.
You build a profile with pictures, your kids ages and genders, and pick three icons that describe you (ex: wine time, hot mess, thrifty, etc.), and write a bio. Then you’re presented with the profiles of moms near you. If you think you could get along with them, swipe up and if you want to pass, swipe down. If you both pick each other, you’re matched, and you can chat with each other.
Peanut also has a place where you can post messages to moms near your or all the moms in the app. Even if you don’t make any new friends, it’s a fun app to explore.
3. Local MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group
I haven’t attended a meeting yet, but I’m really excited to. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this organization and now one is starting up in my area. For a reasonable price, you get bi-monthly meetings where childcare is provided. They also provide refreshments and have speakers come to visit. It should be a really great place to talk to other moms going through the same tough phase that you are as well as a chance to better yourself. I also like that they have an annual MomCon, a conference where moms around the country can get together and gain leadership skills.
4. Macaroni Kids
Google “Macaroni Kids” and you’ll find a website that compiles a list local family events in your area. Some you may have heard of, but there may be some you haven’t. Anyway, it’s nice to have them all in one handy place so you can keep up with them. Don’t be afraid to reach out to moms you come across at these events.
5. Explore your passions
It’s the same concept as dating. If you want to meet someone similar to you, then explore activities that you’re interested in. If you love bargain shopping, then strike up a conversation with a fellow mom at a consignment sale. If you’re into being active, then reach out to a mom you come across while walking a trail. As an added bonus, putting yourself first every once in a while will improve your mood and outlook. And when you’re happy, you’ll be more outgoing and approachable to other moms.
6. Local Play Centers/Trampoline Parks
Hang out near some other moms in these areas. Or better yet, get your kid to make the introduction for you. I wish I made friends as easily as my two-year-old. These places usually offer frequent passes so you can save by purchasing several visits at once.
7. Visit your local Chick-Fil-A
Count yourself lucky, if you live in Chick-Fil-A country (if you don’t, this is a popular food chain in the USA so there might be equivalent resteraunts where you live). They have good food and they treat their customers fantastically. To make it even more appealing, mine also has a play place, which is like going to a play center for only the cost of lunch. Moms flock to Chick-Fil-A because of all of these reasons so you’re bound to come across a mom you’d want to hang with.
8. Make Virtual Friends on BabyCenter
I joined a Birth Board on Babycenter.com when I was newly pregnant and we were able to go through every phase of pregnancy and motherhood together. Even if you have other mom friends, there’s something special as having children of the same age. They understand sleep regressions and teething schedules like no one else can. There’s also power in numbers so you’re bound to find someone who can relate, even to your most unique circumstances. The older your kids get, the less active these groups become though.
9. Join a local Facebook Moms group
While these groups may be smaller than your Birth Board, it’s nice to meet moms in your area. They’ll tell you about hidden gems around or the best consignment shops. Also, the possibility of meeting them IRL is nice. Participating in their discussions provides a real sense of community, but don’t be scared to be the first one to suggest a playdate. They’ll probably jump at the chance to meet up. Check out meetup.com as well for mom groups near you too.
10. Reach out to moms that you know of
Chances are, there’s already moms out there that you know of, but you’re not friends with. Maybe it’s a Facebook friend or someone you didn’t really talk to in high school, but now that they have kids that are the same age as yours, you have more in common. Maybe it’s the moms in your kids’ class. It could be the mom you keep seeing around. Don’t wait around for them to make the first move. Just bite the bullet and reach out to them. The worst thing they can say is no thanks or ignore your message. The best-case scenario is you become best friends. Doesn’t that pro outweigh the small risk of reaching out? Some easy opening lines: ask how old their kids are, invite acquaintances to your kid’s birthday party, or ask if they’ve heard about an upcoming family event.
You ready to meet some new friends?
Hopefully, armed with the information in these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making you new mom best friends. Or at least meet a couple moms you can share war stories with. But that shouldn’t be where your story ends. Once you have the gift of friendship, it’s up to you to pass it along. Reach out to the lonely moms at the playground. Say hey to the mom who’s coming to story time for the first time. Be the kind of friend you’d wished you had from the beginning.
There are tons of books out there about finding your one true love, but so few about finding friends or finding yourself. If you want a story you can relate to, check out my book Match Made in Motherhood. It’s available on Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback.
This is a guest post written by Megan Hyche, a first time author. She hopes that her book Match Made in Motherhood both entertains and inspires her readers. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Advertising and has worked as a freelance social media consultant. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom to her two-year-old daughter.
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