How To Make Mom Friends
Dear All-Knowing Queen Amalah,
You’re pretty much my favorite ever, I wish we could be mommy friends. Is that creepy? Um, yes.
Anyway, I’m a stay at home mom and just moved to a new town. My husband works all day in the city and doesn’t get home until late, so I’m pretty much on my own most of the time with our baby (who is 9 months old). I could really use a friend, but I seem to be useless at making them. I’ve gone to the library baby class and a church baby group, but the moms all seem to be friends with each other already and I feel like a big dork sitting on my own. I try to make conversation, but I usually end up saying something stupid and then laughing really loud at myself. I know this is probably not making the best impression. Any tips for making mom friends? It seems worse than dating in junior high.
Ugh. I know. 99.999999% of my “mom friends” are invisible people who live inside my computer. I read their blogs. We email a lot. Occasionally they call me on the phone!
So I guess really I should say: Ugh. I DON’T know. Every mom I talk to says the same thing: It’s so hard to make mom friends. I wish I had more mom friends. We’re all looking, so why can’t we find each other? Are we too preoccupied on making sure our kids are a perfect fit (hmmm, too old, too young, too many)? Are we focusing too much on parenting choices (SHE swatted a butt at MusicKids, THAT ONE takes her four-month-old to Chinese Mandarin classes)? Or are we still just all judging each other’s hair and shoes?
I DON’T know. I do know it’s not easy, I know I have just as hard a time as anybody, I know you have to just KEEP TRYING. The first couple mommy-and-me type places I went turned out to be full of cliques, and after a couple weeks of feeling like a total loser outcast I decided to STOP TORTURING MYSELF. The first Gymboree class I signed up for was attended exclusively by nannies, so I swapped days and times. And then I swapped days and times again, since THAT class was full of tennis-skirt-wearing hyper-competitive sanctimommies who I overheard tsk-tsking working mothers. And THEN I met a mom who had just moved here from California. Her son tackled Noah and humped him like a dog. She was horrified, I laughed my head off, and we were pretty much best friends within a week.
(Then she moved back to California. And the search for friends started ALL OVER AGAIN.)
My point is: there’s no magic solution. There’s no secret club where all the nice, awesome moms meet. There’s no activity or playgroup I can suggest where you’re guaranteed to meet your playdate soulmate. Like dating, you just have to keep trying. Keep putting yourself out there. Make sure you always have a pen and piece of paper in your bag for easy exchange of email and phone info. And don’t be afraid to volunteer it. You hear a mom complain of car trouble? Let her know you’d be happy to pick her up for class next week if she needs it. Your baby interacts with another baby IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM? Suggest that oh! How cute! We must get them together, don’t you think?
And it does happen. I met an awesome mom at preschool this year. I’m currently in possession of the email address of a mom who lives — of all bloody things — AROUND THE CORNER FROM ME. I met her for the first time ever this week (and seriously, there are only like, twenty other houses directly around mine), while Noah and I were outside playing with sidewalk chalk. She walked by with her dog and her seven-month-old baby boy in an Ergo carrier. I had MY seven-month-old baby boy in a sling. I mentioned how awesome the Ergo was; she complimented the fabric on my sling; we spent 20 minutes talking about how the HELL we’d never met each other. She quit her job after her son was born and loves it, except that it’s lonely. I ran inside my house for a pen, basically trusting her to keep Noah from running out into the street, but I WAS NOT LETTING HER GET AWAY. BEMYFRIEND. IAMNOTCRAZYORSCARY.
(I actually haven’t emailed her yet, because I didn’t want to come on too strong. She hasn’t email me either, so I think we’re both trapped in that don’t-call-too-soon thing that we all DESPISED from our dating days, but what can you do? I don’t want her to know just how desperate I am for company…at least not yet, at least not until I can have her over and win her love with sandwiches and Sangria, omg.)
If you aren’t aware of activities to try beyond the library and your church, take a look at national places/websites like Meetup.com, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), Big Tent, and International MOMS Club — they all offer organized local groups across the country. These are groups that are MEANT for moms to meet and connect with each other, not just something fun for the kids, and new moms join and are welcomed in at any time (in theory, anyway). You may be more likely to find a group that doesn’t feel like you’re butting in on an established clique via one of these organizations.