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How To Make New Mom Friends

How To Make New Mom Friends

By Amalah

Dearest ever Wise and Wonderful Amalah,

My little guy is four months old and I don’t know how to talk to other moms. We’ve been going to Baby and Me Yoga for about two months now and it’s the same group of women pretty much every week. I’ve started going to story time at the library and I see the same moms again. I think we all want to be friends, but we’re all really awkward, like it’s the first day of high school and we’re smiling shyly at each other, but are too scared to say anything. I’ve pulled out a couple topics to try to get things started, but they’ve all fallen pretty flat.

I’ve tried asking about their kids, because everybody loves to talk about their kids, right? But what are you supposed to say… is he crawling yet? Obviously not, I see the baby right there. I tried TV, but none of them watch “The Bachelor”, so what am I supposed to do with that? I don’t watch any other super dramatic shows that warrant discussion every week. I’ve asked about the cute outfits their babies wear, but it doesn’t go further than that. I get the feeling they want to chat too, but are just as awkward because we all hang around after these things sort of half smiling at each other.

I moved here about three years ago and haven’t made too many friends yet, and I was really hoping these mom and baby things would get things rolling in the friend department. I don’t want this opportunity to get away from me, because they’re going to have to go back to work soon and then where will I be? FRIENDLESS FOREVER!

So, dear Wise and Wonderful, any advice on how to talk to these ladies? How have I gotten this far in life and still don’t know how to make friends?

Sincerely,
Aimless Amiga

Ah, the mom friends dilemma. Or the lack of mom friends dilemma. We’ve all been there. I’m sure many of us still are, or feel that way sometimes.

It’s admittedly really hard to force these things — to build a solid social circle based solely on the fact that you are all moms who have shown up to the same activity. Or whose children attend the same school or program. These connections aren’t usually enough, in my experience, to build lasting friendships that continue once you and/or your children move on past whatever brought you together in the first place. I’ve cycled through a few mom-friend groups that despite all of our best efforts, drifted apart once our kids’ activity/school situation changed. A couple emails, a couple attempts at organizing reunion playdates, followed by a birthday party invite where their child is greeted by yours with a “Who is that? I don’t remember him.” and then…sigh.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. The opposite of that. Ignore my Debbie Downer intro and definitely keeping trying. Because you might connect with someone — maybe not all of them — on a deeper level beyond just “WE BOTH HAVE BABIES.” And that’s the kind of friendship you really want, and that’s the kind that will last even if she goes back to work and you stay home and you both kinda get bored of Baby and Me Yoga and would rather leave the babies at home and go to happy hour together instead. You never know when or where you’ll meet that friend, but they are definitely worth searching for.

Here’s what I would try: I’d invite them to go somewhere with me. If the yoga or story time isn’t immediately followed up by naptime for all the babies, go ahead and put an invite out during the awkward sitting-around-smiling-at-each-other period. “So I think I’m going to grab coffee/snack/lunch at X. Anybody want to join us?” If even one person accepts, that’s definitely a sign that she, too, wants to make an effort to make friends but isn’t sure how.

If you live close by, you can invite them over to your house. That one might be a bit premature, given that your babies are so young and non-mobile. I typically invited people over once our babies/toddlers were more “playdate” aged. Then it seems more about the babies’ need for social/peer interaction rather than your own DESPERATE NEED FOR A GROWN-UP TO TALK TO.

If they don’t seem like the spontaneous types, or everybody typically has to go home for naps after the activity, try asking if you can get email addresses. Or phone numbers if they all text a lot. Then you can plan a group get-together at your home, or suggest a trip to a park or open play at a baby-friendly gym or…something, anything. This might push everybody past that “oh god I want to talk and be friends but I don’t know how oh god it’s so awkward” phase because EFFORT. LET’S MAKE AN EFFORT TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.

Just be prepared for more awkward small talk, and possibly the realization that maybe you actually don’t have anything in common with these ladies beyond the “WE HAVE BABIES” thing. It happens. It happens a lot and it can be kinda disappointing. But it doesn’t mean FRIENDLESS FOREVER. It just means not yet, not with these people. And then you sign up for something else and you try all over again.

I think it gets easier as your kids get older — they seek out their own playmates and don’t tend to overthink it the way we do. Then you see if maybe those playmates’ moms are cool and want to hang out with you, or at least fill up an afternoon now and then with grown-up chit chat while your kids beat on each other.

I think it also gets easier as your kids get older because you get…less desperate and try-hard about it. Like I used to try to force friendships just for the sake of having someone I could call a “friend”…even if we had nothing in common and maybe I didn’t even necessarily enjoy her company all that much. At least it was company, right? Now I’m the first to admit that ain’t nobody got time for that, but somehow over time I’ve made more friends than ever before — some moms, some non-moms. People I’ve met through my kids or my work or my husband’s work and just been: I like you. Gimme your email/phone so I can invite you somewhere. If they don’t go for it, their loss. If they do, yay! Maybe it just takes practice, or getting comfortable being the initiator who makes the first move. Sounds like you’ve got the perfect chance to come out of your own shell and kickstart these ladies’ social lives. Go for it! And then go for it again.

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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.

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Comments

  • Melinda

    My daughter is almost four months old and I could DESPERATELY use some friends, but we just moved and we aren’t making enough money yet for me to enroll in fancy baby classes 🙁

    Hopefully soon! When we move into our new house I’ll swallow my social anxiety and actually speak to our neighbors, lol.

    • Sara

      Look into your local library! They usually have a calendar of children’s events and at least once every other week something for babies. If they don’t have much of a children’s program, they still usually have play areas. Even if your baby just sits there, you might still find another parent to talk to. Good luck!

  • Shannon

    Melinda-When my daughter was that age, we tried every free activity we could find in our town! I highly recommend your local library–nearly every library within driving distance of us has a baby and me activity one day out of the week. We also had really good luck by calling the childbirth center at our local hospital–they had a mom/infant group that met weekly.

    OP-while the timing didn’t work around my work schedule, the first person to break the ice at that hospital moms group and suggest getting together for a walk was practically given a standing ovation! I agree with Amy that it can be very well-received.

    • Lindsay

      Totally agree on the standing ovation reaction!  Hah.  After the mom in my class offered up a coffee meeting, the room got completely silent for 1 second and then just about everyone yelled YES!  🙂

  • Lindsay

    I met a FANTASTIC group of women when one of them (note that it was not me because I am the queen of awkward) pulled out a coffee invite right after class.  Tired moms love coffee.  😉

    I’ve also discovered that if I try to talk to a mom about something I’m having trouble with or isn’t going great, the conversation keeps going longer.  Sleeping issues, eating issues, etc.  I also end up getting good and useful advice (and hopefully giving it occasionally?) when I try that.

  • yasmara

    It’s not so helpful, but I’ve discovered that even if you click with the mom, as your kids get older you may find out the family  relationship isn’t a good match. I have a specific mom friend who I’d love to go out with for a girls’ night, but our kids don’t actually get along (and we have very different parenting styles). It didn’t matter when the kids couldn’t talk or crawl, but it’s awkward now. On the flip side, my kids have been BFFs with kids whose parents we didn’t connect with at all. It’s absolutely awesome when it all works (kids + parents), but it’s not as common as I’d hoped. 

  • Liz

    I realize this is a new-ish thing that is not happening all the time in all cities, but the Longest Shortest Time (fantastic podcast, go listen NOW) started a thing called Speed Dating for Mom Friends and it is exactly that: a fun night out where you meet other moms and try to make some friend connections. http://longestshortesttime.com/speed-dating-for-mom-friends-faq/ It’s good to know that lots of moms go through this and it lots of them want to also have friends.

    • Danielle

      I second the Longest Shortest Time podcast recommendation! It’s really great!!

  • Arialvetica

    If you plan on staying home, I strongly recommend seeking out other stay at home moms…not because it matters but because they will be available during the same times as you, and also because they will have their work friendships to fall back on but as an at-home parent you won’t have that outlet.

    If you’re looking for friends available during “business hours” look for your local MOMS Club…and if there isnt one, ask the MOMS Club International organization for support starting one. MOMS Club has been a godsend for me!

  • IrishCream

    In my recollection, bringing up the topic of sleep is a good conversation starter for parents of babies. Plus it’s fairly non-controversial, which is nice as you’re starting to feel other moms out. Other good topics: do they think their babies are starting to teethe yet, does anyone have any good tips for tummy time (my kids both hated it so I was always trolling for good ideas/sympathy), have they found a sitter or managed to leave the house for a grown-up night out, does anyone have a recommendation for a stroller/high chair/whatever baby gear might get people talking?

    Or you could really spice things up and ask everyone if their kids are getting vaccinated per the recommended schedule. One way or another, that will get ’em talking!

    • Tiffany

      Bahaha! I’m trying the immunization thing. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • This is such a hard thing for moms to navigate- coming up with topics when you’re sleep deprived and cranky is never fun! haha! Thanks for the post- I needed it as a kick in the butt to talk to the nice looking mom at my son’s karate class! 🙂

  • Stephanie

    So I agree with one of the posters that things can change as your baby gets older. When I moved to the area five years ago, I joined a “working moms playgroup” that met on Saturdays. My daughter was 15 months old at the time – she’s almost six today. The moms are still friends, but my daughter doesn’t really know any of these kids. (the kids don’t really hang out – and one of the moms who is really fun does not have a very nice kid.

    Now that she’s in school, she’s making friends left and right. It took awhile, but I’ve found a true friend. Just so happens she’s the mom of my daughter’s BFF. We’ve all hung out together – the moms and kids, the moms just together, the two couples. Just keep trying. I agree with Amy that just asking who wants to grab coffee somewhere is a big first step. 

  • Erin

    I found this blog post to be helpful (it popped into my head when I read this post even though it’s over a year old.) http://herewegoajen.com/questions-making-mom-friends/

  • Tiffany

    It’s funny this question was posted today- my sister and I were talking about making new mom friends literally an hour ago! We both moved to new cities about 18 months ago, did the whole playgroup/mom and me/music class etc… thing and met not one lasting friend out of any of them.  We were both saying, why does everyone apparently meet their new bestie at these things and we just don’t?
    You know where we have made friends, though? Randomly. The other family you constantly run into at the playground, the woman you see at the library sometimes, the kids soccer coach. 
    We were thinking, maybe these groups are just too high pressure? Not natural enough? Either way, that’s our experience, nice to hear we’re not alone! (Soo… Anyone want to get a coffee or something? Lol)

  • kimm

    Is there a Mothers of Preschoolers – MOPS group near you? It helped me a lot to go twice a month and talk to other moms there. http://www.mops.org/groupsearch/

  • Bethany @ Online Therapy and Coaching

    The friend issue can be so complicated. I would recommend looking for a Facebook group of moms in your area. The Internet makes it so much easier to find companionship with like-minded parents.

  • Sam

    What has saved my sanity is MeetUp.  There is a giant Mom’s group in my town, and they have organized events all the time, I work full time, but what has really allowed me to make friends is going to the Mom’s Night Out events where I can hang and have a few drinks with other Moms.  I’ve made some great friends that way.  Maybe check your local meet up groups to see if there is one in your town or start a group yourself! The ladies here have a saying – if you post it, they will come.

  • April

    I’m terrible at making Mom friends. I get the small talk going and have good interactions at the park or library or wherever. . . and just never see that person again. They will just disappear. I live in a medium sized city with a fair amount of turnover, so I chalk it up to that.

    Anyhow, at the playground today another woman just wrapped up our conversation with, “So are you on Facebook? Do you text? I’m looking for more people to hang out with.” And this totally impressed me because a) I have never thought to just say that straight up, even though, why not? And b) it was kind of ballsy and it worked. We have a playdate set for Thursday!

    • Kathryne

      That’s wonderful! I really wanted to do that with a woman on the playground last week and I totally lost my nerve. Next time I’m going to mom-up and make it happen.

  • I moved to a new town (new country, even) when my daughter was a newborn and threw myself heart and soul into making friends with all the other moms. My kid’s about to turn three, and I’m still in touch with exactly one person I met that way.

    However! It has definitely gotten easier to make friends, because as my daughter’s gotten older, I’ve been able to do more things that aren’t about her. It’s a lot easier to leave a 2YO at home in the evening than a 3-month-old–and a lot easier to do new things with a kid who sleeps through the night. So even though I don’t have a lot of parent friends, I do have friends from the book club I joined and the acting class I took, because it’s also easier to get to know people through an activity where you’re forced to interact with each other.

    I’ve learned, too, that babyhood is not your only chance at meeting parents. My toddler’s in playschool now, so not only do I have some time to myself, I’ve had another run at the parent-friends thing through the other parents there. And people keep telling me that I’ll feel a lot more at home here once she goes to primary school and there are PTO meetings and committees and bake sales to worry about.

    I’ll also say: it’s taken me pretty much these whole three years to start feeling even a little connected to my new place. Moving just sucks.