Finding More Support in the Early Years
Motherhood can be an overwhelming and seemingly lonely place at times. Having a strong core of fellow moms that you can lean on, and enjoy time with, can help you regroup after days that shake your confidence. When I moved across the country four years ago, I knew NO ONE. My job became my main source of social interaction. I did try my hand at a variety of internet meet-ups looking for like-minded folks that I could see myself hanging out with. None of those really clicked. I made the majority of my wonderful friends through work. So did my husband.
This was all fine and dandy until we got pregnant. It hadn’t really dawned on me until that point that we didn’t know many people, locally, with little kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love our friends, all of them, but I knew there would be times where I just needed another mom to vent/cry/have a drink with. I also wanted to have built-in (potential) friendships for my kid, if nothing else they would at least get some socialization. But let’s be honest here, it was really for me to have the socialization to prevent me from going insane at home with a tiny new person.
The hunt began for the elusive Mom Friends. Why it is so hard to make meaningful friendships as an adult? It feels awkward at times, like dating I guess. Maybe it’s because we are more set in our ideologies and lifestyles at this point and adding children to the mix yields little time to “get to know someone”. If we just aren’t clicking, I’m going swipe left on that interaction thank-you-very-much.
Swiping for Mom Friends
There is an entire industry of apps available in an attempt to help moms make mom friends. Several utilize a similar premise as Tinder, whereas others have a full profile and social media feel. Should you be interested, some apps to try include: Hello Mamas, Peanut, Mom Life, MamaLeave, MomieGo, amongst many others.
As you can see there is no shortage of available platforms for connection. While I have tried my hand at a few of these (and have made some matches), I haven’t made any solid IRL mom friends. It could just be me though. I have a feeling I would suck at Tinder too if it ever came to that.
Mom Friends Internet Groups
While the app route wasn’t my thing, the internet as whole proved to be a pretty valuable resource in my quest to find mom friends.
- Meetup.com: Find groups based on your location. In a group setting, there is a high likelihood that you are not the only one in your position and if people are showing up to an event, they are also seeking new friendships. There are groups specific to New Moms, Single Moms, Expecting Moms, Babies born in specific years, and more. If you can’t find the group you are looking for, you can easily start one yourself. Groups with extra questions (specific to the group) are typically more legit and make sure you are meeting in a public place.
- Facebook Groups: These are most effective if they are specific to your general location. Most of the good ones are closed and have some questions you have to answer before joining. Sometimes these are a little less on the events and a little more about recommendations and advice seeking but more often than not you will find other moms seeking mom friends. Facebook makes it pretty easy to set up playdates as events or you can even just drop a “heads-up, we are heading to the park at this time if anyone wants to join” in the discussion section.
Going For it In Person
Now, I’m naturally an extrovert so it’s a little easier for me to make an attempt at conversation with another mom/potential friend. I know it can be scary and weird, but that’s part of the vulnerability of motherhood, right? You can talk about the ages of your kid(s), the equipment they/you are using, the weather, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s friendly. It can leave the door open for the other mom(s) to reciprocate. And FOR THE LOVE OF SCIENCE, if you have a good conversation/feel like you could get along with this other person and their kid(s), ask for some contact info (whether that be cell number, Facebook profile, whatever).
Where can I find them?
- Hospital Mom Groups: Various hospitals offer a New Mom Support Group. I found this to be a FABULOUS resource and a good means to get out of the house (although this was with my first, so I had a bit more flexibility at the time.) Usually, there is a group leader and a topic that is specific to newborns/infants. You can ask questions in a safe environment and not only get professional feedback (most of the time) but helpful info from other moms. Many times these groups organically transform into a mom friends group. If there is someone you can more connect with, chat together at the end of the group time.
- Classes: There are so many baby/little kid classes out there. Music, swim, yoga, you name it. The other moms in the class are a great starting point, especially if your kiddos are interacting together really well.
- Library: Many libraries offer public storytimes for various age groups. The baby ones tend to be pretty simple and short, leaving time at the end for open-play and socialization. This is a low-pressure place to chat with other parents. Also, this is free, can’t beat that.
- Parks/Playgrounds/Playspaces: This seems like the most obvious. If you are bringing your kids somewhere to play, naturally other moms are going to do the same. Again, free is great.
One Mom Leads to More
When you feel like you need more mom friends, don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve found that if you can find ONE mom friend, it can lead you to more. I started going to my hospital’s mom group and connected with a fellow mom that had recently moved to the area as well. We chatted a little and she mentioned a Meetup group that she found to be helpful/friendly. I’m so glad I spoke with this friend (Thanks Amber!). The Meetup group is no longer on the site but had morphed into a solid group of amazing mom friends that I count myself lucky to be a part of.
While each of the aforementioned might not be available to every single mom out there, I hope some of it is helpful. Or at least encouraging. You can do it mama!
Are you looking for mom friends? Do you have any tips for finding awesome moms in your area? Leave a comment below.