To be a happy mom, you need mom friends who can understand what you are going through. Here are invaluable tips for how to find mom friends who last.
Motherhood is beautiful. Motherhood is a blessing. Motherhood is also lonely, horrible, and scary. Your husband may want to understand what you are going through, but without being a mom himself, he cannot truly put himself in your shoes.
You cannot do it alone, and you do not need to. Go out there and find mom friends and build your mom tribe. The support will make you a happier, more knowledgeable, and more confident mom.
But where do you start? Especially as a new mom or a mom who just moved to a new part of the country, finding new mom friends can be daunting. As an introvert and someone who was voted “most timid” in high school, I am here to tell you that if I can do it, you can too.
Where Can You Find Mom Friends?
1. Support Groups
There are tons of support groups you can join, especially as a mom of a newborn. Look for new mom support groups in the hospital in which you gave birth as well as support groups in birth centers, pediatrician’s offices, and even baby product stores close by.
If you are nursing your baby, chances are the same places offer breastfeeding support groups as well. In these support groups, you will find mom friends with whom you will form an incomparable bond because these moms will experience the hardest phases of a baby’s life with you.
You will cry together over the colicky babies, laugh together over the babies hitting their milestones, and lose your minds together over the lack of sleep. You will watch your babies grow up together from only a few weeks old and marvel every birthday at how big and fast they grow.
I have moved across the country since I gave birth to my son, and I still can count on my mom friends from those support groups anytime I need advice.
2. Mommy & Me Classes
Most of us probably have not stepped a foot into the library since college, but there are so many reasons to go once you have kids. I have been bringing my son to library story times ever since he was 6 months old. Even though as a baby he couldn’t understand the stories or the songs, he was quite amused watching other kids clap their hands and running around playing and singing. I have met a few moms who I see repeatedly at story times and struck up a conversation with them afterward.
3. Mommy & Me Classes
There are various mommy & me classes out there: music, art, gymnastics, swimming, etc. I have loved taking my kids to Gymboree and MyGym ever since they were infants and have met many mom friends in those classes. I have taken my son to mommy & me classes at different Montessori schools so that he could be exposed to Montessori materials at an early age.
I just love mommy & me classes because you get to watch your kids have fun and play with each other while you chat away with other moms. Research for mommy & me classes near you and sign up!
4. Postpartum Fitness Classes
Once you are cleared to exercise, you may want to start getting back in shape. However, if you are like me, you may feel guilty of leaving your baby in someone else’s care while you work out at the gym.
Luckily, there are fitness classes that let you burn calories while keeping your baby with you. One example is a stroller fitness class, where a group of moms walks and workouts while pushing around their babies in the strollers. Fit4Mom and Baby Boot Camp are two great programs that hold classes nationwide.
Not feeling up to exercising outdoors? There are many mommy & me yoga classes where you can practice yoga with your baby laying on the ground in front of you so that you can interact with your baby while breaking a sweat. Meeting moms at these classes has the added benefit of motivating each other to achieve a common goal – losing the baby weight!
Meetup.com has many different groups that form around a common interest. For example, there is a group for single parents, a group for moms with special needs children, and a group for parents who love beaches. You get to review the past and future meetups to see if the groups host activities you may be interested in. Some groups are free, while others ask for a small fee to help pay for the Meetup.com dues and materials that may be necessary for the gatherings.
6. National Organizations
MOMS Club is geared towards stay-at-home moms who chose to take on motherhood full-time. The club is open to moms with kids of all ages and meets throughout the month with play dates and other activities. I have been involved with my local chapter ever since my son was an infant. When daughter was born, the group was super supportive and brought me meals for the first couple of weeks to help me survive.
MOPS is an organization designed for mothers of children preschool age and younger. They typically meet twice a month in the mornings and provide childcare for your kids while the moms enjoy craft time, listen to speakers, and get to know each other.
7. Facebook Groups
Who says you can’t make mom friends who are living on a different continent? There are tons of Facebook groups that have members from all over the world with a shared purpose in mind. For example, I am in a group that is dedicated to helping moms meet their breastfeeding goals and another that is for sharing kid-friendly recipes and asking questions concerning feeding the little ones.
Virtual mom friends are an important part of your tribe because you get so many different perspectives from moms located in different parts of the world. Plus, especially when you are up at 3 AM nursing your baby, it’s nice to have someone to chat with online.
8. Parks & Playgrounds
Once your kids are mobile, you can bring them to parks and playgrounds when the weather is nice. Guess who else goes to parks and playgrounds? Other moms! Especially if your kids are getting along and playing together, strike up a conversation with other moms and schedule future get-togethers.
9. Around the Neighborhood
Have you met your neighbors? Do you notice parents with kids walking around your neighborhood? Next time, wave to them over and introduce yourself and see if you can take a walk together or invite them over for a play date.
I happen to be lucky enough to live on a street with tons of families with younger kids. When we get some free time, we just hop over to each other’s houses for play dates since we are all literally minutes (or seconds) away! Plus, if you ever run into emergency situations that require you to leave your kid, what’s easier than walking next door and dropping your kid off with a trusted mom friend.
10. At School or Daycare
If you send your child to school or daycare, you will often exchange awkward hellos and byes to fellow parents during drop-offs and pick-ups. Why not continue the conversation beyond the greeting and get to know some of the moms that you see pretty much every day? I know some moms who even coordinate a lunch schedule where they prepare lunches for each other’s kids so that they don’t have to worry about packing their kid’s lunches every day.
Okay, now you know where to find mom friends, you may be eager to head out the door with your baby to meet some. Before you go, let’s chat about some tips for being a good friend to fellow moms so that you can make lasting friendships.
How to Make New Mom Friends
Here are 10 tips for making lifelong mom friends:
1. Be Open
I am not going to lie, when you first walk into a mom group, it’s super awkward. It’s like the first day of high school at a new school, and you walked with your tray of food into the cafeteria wondering which table to sit at. Then, when you finally picked a group to sit with, there were some uneasy glances exchanged and uncomfortable silences.
You may have started to doubt yourself and question whether or not you picked the wrong table. Stop all the negative thoughts – you are not in high school anymore! Be open and start a conversation about anything that interests you. You never know what topic may pique other people’s curiosity and snowball into some fun discussions.
2. Be Nonjudgmental
Being a mom messes with your mind. There are tough choices to be made and everyone is just trying to survive. Even though I am a big advocate of breastfeeding, I totally understand people who couldn’t or chose not to breastfeed.
Every mom is different; every kid is different; everybody’s situation is different. We are all in this crazy, mind-blowing, amazing journey of motherhood together and although we may all take different paths, in the end, we are joined together with the same goal – to be the best mothers possible to our children.
3. Be Yourself
We are not in high school anymore. You are no longer a self-conscious teenager trying to fit into the popular crowd. Whether you are nerdy, geeky, gullible, sarcastic, or whatever adjective may describe your personality, don’t hide it.
You won’t find true mom friends unless you are being honest with yourself and let your personality shine. Otherwise, you will be stuck with dreary play dates in which you will be forced to talk about topics you don’t care to talk about or laugh at jokes you don’t find funny.
4. Be Proactive
Heard of the dating rule that says you should wait three days before calling? Throw that rule out the window, because that does not apply to mom friends.
So what if you are eager to set up the next play date? So what if you come across overly enthusiastic to get out of the house and speak to someone over the age of 2? In fact, since every mom has been infected by the epidemic known as “momnesia,” your mom friends will mostly like be happy that you are proactive and throw something on the calendar.
5. Be Happy
I have a theory. When all else fails, smile. Not a little smile, but a big smile that will turn frowns upside down. I tested this theory on my father-in-law, who, despite all my love and respect for the man, strikes fear into your heart when you first meet him and getting him to smile is no easy feat. However, I show him my pearly whites as much as possible, even when he decided to throw criticisms at me like ninja stars. Guess what? In the end, I won him over, and he even smiles at me now and then.
Even the grumpiest people like happy people – just look at Snow White and the Grumpy dwarf. If you are happy and smile when with other moms, you will come across as friendly and approachable, which makes it easier for others to talk to you.
6. Be a Good Listener
There is no “I” in motherhood. We are a team who has each other’s back. Therefore, even though some days you feel like you can vent forever about your toddler throwing tantrums or your baby not letting you get a wink of sleep, stop and let others have a chance to talk. And then they do pour their heart out, really listen to their problems. You may be able to brainstorm and come up with solutions, and if not, at least you can sympathize and offer support.
7. Be Available
I know with doctor’s appointments, errands, and house chores, it seems impossible to find time in your schedule to meet up with other moms. However, if it is important to you to make mom friends, you need to find the time and prioritize. So one load of laundry will go unfinished for a day so that you can go to the park or lunch with other moms. Trust me, it’s worth it.
8. Be Willing to Try New Things
You may find petting goats or going on carnival rides are too scary for your kids. However, if you don’t try, you will never really know, and what better time to try new things than with your mom friends?
They will totally understand if your kid freaks out when the goat tries to lick his hand or when the ride is too crazy. I love going to new places and experiencing new things with my mom friends and in turn, learn more about my kid’s interests!
9. Be Persistent
It may not be love at first sight with your mom friends. Sometimes, it takes a few play dates to warm up and get to know each other better before the conversation really starts to flow. Don’t give up just because the first play date didn’t go smoothly.
Just like coffee, stinky tofu, durian, or blue cheese, some personalities are acquired tastes. You may not love them the first time you meet them, but they may grow on you over time. Maybe you are the one with the unique personality that takes some time to appreciate, who knows?
Give everyone a chance and be persistent in going on play dates so that you can really get to know the other moms before you decide whether or not they could be lifelong friends.
10. Learn to Let Go
Not all mommy groups will be your cup of tea. If you are just not connecting with other moms and attending play dates is more painful than pulling teeth after you give it your best shot, then maybe it’s time to take a lesson from Elsa from Frozen and “let it go.” Free up your time to search and try out other mom groups. Just like dating, no matter how nice or pleasant the moms are, sometimes it’s just not meant to be.
Now that you have learned where to find mom friends and how to go about making mom friends, what are you waiting for? Valuable members of your tribe are waiting out there, waiting for you to discover them! Trust me, both your kid and you will be happier once you find your “soul-moms.”
Where did you find your mom besties? Let me know in the comments!