I don’t consider myself an extrovert. As a matter of fact, when I was growing up the idea of meeting new people filled me with dread. One-on-one conversations?
Things changed drastically when my children were born. From a work-at-home mom, I slowly turned into a stay-at-home mom. But then I realized that working while taking care of two toddlers under three-years-old was just not going to work. All of a sudden, I craved adult conversation. And judging from the number of desperate cries for help I saw on local mom Facebook groups, I wasn’t the only one.
“It takes a village” is probably one of the most overused phrases in the world of motherhood. If you’re lucky enough to live close to family or your girlfriends have children at the same time as you – good for you. If not, you can create your mom-tribe from scratch.
A Virtual Mom-tribe Also Counts
My first mom-tribe was, and still is, my birth month Facebook group. Sure, being able to share a cup of coffee with other moms is nice. However, when you’re in the early days of motherhood and terrified to take your fragile newborn out of the house, you can still get support without leaving the comfort of your home.
Look for local mom groups on Facebook. Ask about birth month groups and check public forums. Eventually, you’ll find your way into the group that’s right for you. There’s always someone online ready to commiserate about what seems like the 5343rd feeding session of the night. Or, they’re just happy to keep you company as your precious baby is seemingly teething forever. And they probably won’t mind you sharing every single gory detail that comes with raising your infant.
Meeting new mom friends can be daunting. Approaching random moms at the playground can often be intimidating since your baby might be too young for playgrounds in the first place. As a semi-introvert, I just couldn’t bring myself to approach someone beyond the occasional niceties. In fact, I didn’t even follow up on more personal invitations for playdates. If you’re like me, you need to find one (or preferably several) mom groups.
Ask your birth hospital if they offer support groups for new moms. Check your public library (they often host lap storytime for babies). If you’re a member, research events at your local children’s museum or church. Mother support organizations like doulas or La Leche groups can be a great resource. You can also investigate websites like Meet-Up, Hike it Baby or mom “dating” apps like Peanut.
Finally, Facebook is a great resource for finding local mom groups with organized playdates or mom nights out.
It’s a Numbers Game
Searching for a new mom friend can sometimes make you feel like a drunk guy hitting on every single girl at the bar. But after being locked inside in the exclusive company of two wailing little people, I was desperate.
Remember, it’s a numbers game. Moms come and go. Children get sick. Older siblings have after-school activities. Some moms go back to working full or part-time and hanging out is clearly not an option. Even without children, it can be hard making friends as an adult. But, if you keep seeing the same mom at the same playdates you frequent, she’s probably a good one to approach. At least you know she’s as eager to make new friends as you are and your schedules are somewhat compatible.
You Don’t Have to Match on Paper
Yes. Making mom friends can be awkward. Especially, since the basis of the relationship can sometimes be summed up as, “I have a baby, you have a baby… Let’s be friends.” It might seem like a weak base for a friendship, but a mom-tribe is more than that. They are the people to whom you vent. They’ll understand what you need because they’re in the same situation as you.
They may not have the same background as you. You might not have even considered being friends with them if not for being tossed into the whirlwind called motherhood. But, at the same time, it’s more than ok. After my pre-baby childfree friends faded away, awkwardly ghosting me when I proposed a meet up, I needed someone who could really get what I was going through in my life. Mom tribes are just that. It didn’t matter that my newfound friends didn’t have the same life experience or interests as me, because they were there for me.
Whether they want it or not, all moms go through phases where they just can’t seem to get out and socialize. Maybe it’s flu season. Maybe their little one is just too crabby. Maybe their nap schedule gets in the way of any social gathering.
Whatever the reason, don’t be offended if your new mom friend seems to disappear for weeks on end. It’s probably nothing personal. In fact, It might be your turn next time. A mom tribe requires more than two people, and trust me you’ll find each other. And when you do, you’ll very much appreciate their companionship.