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How to Make Mom Friends

By Amalah

mom_groups.jpgDear 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 mom 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

It’s Hard to Make Mom Friends

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.)

Don’t Worry — You’ll Find a Friend

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.

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 [email protected].

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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Laura
Guest
Laura

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.

selfmademom
Guest

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!

Eva
Guest
Eva

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… Read more »

bethany actually
Guest

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!

TessT
Guest
TessT

I agree. There are too many people these days that will just stop talking to someone if they make a comment they disagree with! I try to remember that everyone has an opinion.

Kim
Guest
Kim

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.

Emily
Guest
Emily

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!

ann
Guest

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.

psumommy
Guest

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… Read more »

paranoid
Guest

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… Read more »

Amy
Guest

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… Read more »

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

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… Read more »

Kai
Guest
Kai

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… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

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!

class factotum
Guest

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… Read more »

andrea
Guest
andrea

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!

Karen
Guest
Karen

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.

KassK
Guest
KassK

I’ve had moms tell me “I don’t know you well enough sorry”. Well how do you think you get to know people? Very ridiculous comment coming from them. Our children go to the same school, are in the same grade, and want to be friends; but the moms put up barriers. One mom was exceptionally rude when I asked about a playdate. I had to be honest with my child and explain to her that her friend’s mother would not allow her to play with the child outside of school. Of course, she repeated at school that this kids mommie… Read more »