advert

How To Make Mom Friends

May15

by

mom_groups.jpg
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.

Thanks!
Loner Mommy

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.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


Subscribe to posts by Amalah

16 Responses to “How To Make Mom Friends”

  1. Laura May 15 at 3:46 pm Reply Reply

    What saved me was a HUGE mom’s group in the city I moved to. They have a bunch of them throughout the country, check it out: http://www.themommiesnetwork.org/
    What makes it so fab is that there’s an online forum, so you can “meet” people online before meeting them in person, and you already know something about them. Plus there are tons of events in case you want to get out and meet them for real. This saved me during the stranger and separation anxiety phases where I couldn’t leave the house.

  2. selfmademom May 15 at 3:47 pm Reply Reply

    Amalah’s right- there is no magic solution. My only advice is to be yourself. I’ve never tried to fit into a particular kind of group of moms, but rather do what I like to do, and hope that I’ll meet other like-minded women. A lot of places advertise “new moms groups” which I know you’re not really a new mom, but it’s usually people in the same boat. Unfortunately it’s just a lot like dating. You’ll meet your mommy soulmate evenutally- everyone does. Good luck!

  3. Eva May 15 at 4:24 pm Reply Reply

    There’s also Mothers & More, http://www.mothersandmore.org/
    What worked for me is that I managed to get email addresses from a few moms with similarly-aged children and set up a group playdate. (I went to library storytimes.) You could have this playdate in your home (in the winter/bad weather) or at a neighborhood playground. You can say you will have/bring fruit/snacks to share, other moms can bring things to share too.
    You can meet other moms through these moms and end up with an email playgroup. And, they don’t have to be moms who are necessarily your best friends or like-minded politically or anything, but as long as you can all watch the kids on the playground and chat about things, you’ll be fine. You will meet close friends by extension.

  4. bethany actually May 15 at 4:59 pm Reply Reply

    One thing I’ve found to be very helpful is to KEEP AN OPEN MIND. I tend to be judgemental and if something isn’t working right away, I’ll give up and never try again. When it comes to making other mom friends I’ve found that if I slap some tape on the mouth of my Inner Judge and just be willing to try things again and give people second and third chances, I make more friends. Sometimes first impressions aren’t accurate–God knows I’ve screwed up enough so I try to give others the benefit of the doubt too. :-)
    Good luck!

  5. Kim May 15 at 9:03 pm Reply Reply

    There was a playgroup started in my subdivision using the website http://www.playgroupsusa.com. Signs were posted on the neighborhood mailboxes. It was a little weird at first to go to a stranger’s house but it turned out awesome. I was able to meet a bunch of moms in my subdivision. Its been wonderful! Its great to go to the playground or the pool and see people you know.

  6. Emily May 15 at 10:29 pm Reply Reply

    I can’t recommend Meetup.com enough. That website singlehandedly saved me from going crazy when I first had my son. I met other new moms and made my first friends in our area. And now that my son is older and more interested in other kids, he’s got some friends. Now there are mommy playdates and the kids just tag along!

  7. ann May 16 at 11:09 am Reply Reply

    Must throw out another plug for Mothers & More. I joined a chapter when we moved to a new area and met a great group of very down-to-earth, like-minded moms who have become good friends. My advice? Don’t just join – get involved and volunteer your time. Don’t worry about not knowing anyone – it’s the best way to get to know people. This goes for church & school as well. We are always hoping new members will join and volunteer right away.

  8. psumommy May 16 at 1:47 pm Reply Reply

    I hate mommy groups. Despise them. HATE. I’ve joined several, and each time, I was asked to leave (oh, very politely) and not because they didn’t like me, oh no, it was because I was “too young” or “too old” “maybe you’ll feel more comfortable in that other group in town”. Yeah. FUN. And talk about giving me a complex.
    So I’ve now met some great moms at the grocery store, at the playground, on my street, and through my daughter’s school. They don’t always work out, but I keep trying! Turns out that I *am* likeable and capable of having and keeping friends.
    A tip: print up some cards with your name, your kids’ names/ages, & contact info. It may sound dorky, but I generally don’t have time (or the ability to take my eyes off of my very, VERY active boys who like to open things and “smell them” and OOPS I SPILLED IT ALL OVER THE FLOOR MOMMY) to stop and write info down even if I have a pen on me. Not to mention my handwriting is horrible.
    And finally- I completely agree with the previous poster who said to keep an open mind. I tend to be very judgemental, but since I’ve just let go of stuff that simply doesn’t affect me, I’ve found that I could keep several friendships that I normally would have ditched ages ago. They aren’t perfect, but we’re on our way to becoming actual, real friends, ya know?

  9. paranoid May 16 at 7:32 pm Reply Reply

    One other option is to check and see if your hospital or birth center offers any new-parent classes. (I know the original poster may be beyond this phase, but I’m putting it out there in case there are any pregos lurking).
    Where I live, the local hospital has a “baby steps” class for parents of babies 6 weeks-3 months old, then another for babies 3-6 months. The classes themselves weren’t all that compelling, but I did meet a group of 12 or so moms with kids almost exactly the same age as my own. Once the class ended, we kept meeting up, usually at someone’s home, once a week. Over the last three years, some members have left and a few newer ones have come in, but we still meet every single week and often more than that.
    Lately, I’ve been trying to make more mom friends outside of playgroup, and I agree that it’s hard. If you’re naturally kind of shy and insecure (like me), it takes real effort to propose a playdate to that mom you see every day at preschool dropoff or who sits next to you to spy on dance class. But it’s worth it, I think. (I’ll give a more definitive answer once I figure out if my efforts are bearing fruit).

  10. Amy May 17 at 11:57 pm Reply Reply

    I have “calling cards” that have our names (mine, husbands, both kids) both our e-mails, our home number, our cell numbers, and my blog URL printed on them. They have been fabulous for meeting other mommies. That way I’m not scrounging my purse for an unnecessary receipt or scrap of paper I can jot my number on (which will inevitably get lost in her diaper bag), and I look super organized. I’m not super organized, so this impression doesn’t last, but it’s nice to have a bit of a head start on it.
    I got mine (free) at Vistaprint. Just paid shipping, and they’re really pretty and sweet.
    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  11. Jennifer May 18 at 10:36 am Reply Reply

    I think it gets easier as kids get older because more opportunities present themselves. When our daughter was old enough to start going to the playground (around 14/15 months), we would take her there at the same time most days of the week. This really helped us meet parents with similar schedules and we found that, for the most part, we identified with them in many other ways, too. Our best friends are a couple we met at the playground almost a year ago.
    Another possibility is to post an ad on the baby/kids section or the childcare section on your local Craigslist and simply state that you are looking for playgroups or mom’s groups in your area. If there aren’t any and you are up for the challenge, you can state that you are willing to form a group if anyone else is interested. You might be surprised how many responses you get!

  12. Kai May 18 at 11:54 am Reply Reply

    Like Amalah, I’m in DC with no family and had zero friends with kids when I had my daughter. I finally joined a Meetup group for working moms. Now, three years later, I have a solid, amazing, wonderful group of FRIENDS (I no longer think of them as mom friends) that go way beyond the group itself. The group may have 60 members and do weekly events, but those I consider my close friends and I go to the gym, have spontaneous coffee breaks, lunch dates, etc. There are just certain women with whom you’ll connect and others with whom you won’t. I think the “secret” with any mom group is to not just rely on the group… when you go to a playgroup or an event, if you talk to a mom who seems fun, get her email. Don’t wait for the next event. Go out for coffee with her, meet at the park outside the group, whatevs! It’s hard, but I think the best advice I read when I was “mommy dating” was to remember that the other mom is probably just as lonely, just as interested in finding someone to talk to… that helped a lot with the whole awkward-ness thing.

  13. Lisa May 19 at 4:41 pm Reply Reply

    I didn’t know a single other mom in town till I found http://www.cafemom.com. Now all my friends are on there! Also, there wasn’t a playgroup in town that met on the weekends (I work full time), so I created on on cafemom. We meet at least once a month and we have 15 members! We also have MNO (mama’s night out) every other month and I live for those! At cafemom, you can talk to other mothers online or you can search for mothers in your area to meet in person!

  14. class factotum May 20 at 9:44 am Reply Reply

    I’m not a mom, but I am also new to my area and trying to make friends. I am reluctant to go straight to “dating” because I don’t want to go through the awkward breaking up if it doesn’t work out. What is working for me is meeting people at the gym or through book club. I spend time with them at class/book club and figure out if I like them. If I like them enough after a few months, then I suggest meeting for coffee (ie, ask for a date!).
    So far, I have made one gym friends with little kids and have another pending. I don’t mind hanging out with her and her kids. Don’t rule out non-mom friends. We want friends, too!

  15. andrea May 25 at 5:32 pm Reply Reply

    I wish we lived closer now.. but I think it’s tough in general to meet people in DC. Meetup is nice though especially for out of towners. i went out last week for the first time and everyone i met at the outing was from somewhere else. i didn’t meet any life long friends but it was fun and just nice to get out!

  16. Karen Sep 01 at 1:56 pm Reply Reply

    Meetup.com does have a number of groups. I also like http://HiveMoms.com. They’re set up to find nearby moms to trade free babysitting (or petsitting, housesitting and the like). I was part of a babysitting co-op back in Virginia, and got to know an amazing group of moms. Was so sad to move away, but happy to find HiveMoms.com.

Like us on Facebook

Close