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Did you know that Feb 11th is Make a Friend Day? Let’s learn together how to make a mom friend!
I work with a lot of parents, mostly with moms. I also have been a mom for 6 years and thus, have six years of first hand experience with other moms. And what I’ve learned is this:
All moms want mom friends.
Nobody knows how to make a mom friend.
Very early on with my daughter, I feel like I somehow cracked a code. I had a different experience from most of the parents that I talk to. I made more friends during pregnancy and my daughter’s first year of life than I have ever made! I still have a strong friend group of supportive women [and men] that has only grown since then. I also think it’s important to note that parent friends don’t have to be best friends. They can be acquaintances that you have playdates with and maybe never would go out for a drink with. And that is OKAY! We’re talking about interaction and stimulation, and not everyone is everyone’s cup of tea.
Let me tell you what worked for me:
More importantly, groups that meet up. Possibly even more importantly, groups with a topic or purpose. Facebook groups are great for networking and sharing information but rarely is anyone bold enough to reach out directly.
Groups that worked for me: Babywearing, Cloth diapering, Developmental mom group.
The Cloth Diapering group had a potluck, and we all demoed our skills [or lack thereof] and learned some new things. We had a common topic to start conversation about, which flowed naturally into other things. I got three numbers that day, on the premise of sharing photos taken or future diaper trades. But we knew the real reason was actually tentative companionship! I made three other friends that day too, because when we started talking again in the facebook group I felt confident to reach out directly because we had met in person.
The babywearing group I showed up to learn and try on new carriers. Same deal! Exchanged numbers, put faces to the names on the facebook screen.
The moms group I was pulled into by another mom I had met through the cloth diapering group. It was curated by a group leader and every week there was a different topic that we chatted about while our babies rolled around together. I still speak to almost all of these parents today!
Not as good a turnaround as groups. Parents tend to be focused on their child. I recommend striking up gentle, general conversation with everyone in the class. And if someone interests you, wait until a moment where your children do something cute together. Then you pounce. “Omgosh Susie and Johnny are having so much fun! We’re so bored on Mondays, would you ever want to get together? We sometimes go to the playspace on Main st.”
See what I did there. Don’t put too much pressure on them. Make it about the kids as much as you. And have the first playdate be in a neutral location. If she says she is busy Mondays and leaves it at that, let it be. If she says she’s busy on Mondays but Thursdays work for her- ding ding you’ve got interest! Exchange numbers, send her a photo text of you and her kid and your names because she has probably already forgotten you, and put a date in the calendar or it’s never going to happen. Save her name AND her kids name and where you know her from because if she texts you in three months, guaranteed you have forgotten HER already.
Ask around to the mom friends you do have if there are any local playgroups. Ask your local librarian or do a good old fashioned facebook search. Try your town/state and mom or parent. Examples: Boston moms, Boston mama, Mass Mama, Parents of Massachusetts. Facebook has an annoying algorithm that you have to spell it completely correct for it to show up.
*Being Proactive About Making a Mom Friend!
My area had a facebook group, but not a meetup group. And let’s say it together now, you must, MEET IN PERSON. I met a new friend [that I picked up at a playground], that had been in a play group in her home state and together we put together one locally. We both added all the parents that we already knew [My daughter was 8 months and I’d somehow accrued about 50 contacts by this point]. These contacts then added people that they knew would be interested and overnight we had 100 local parents ready and willing to play. I created weekly events at parks, playgrounds, libraries; and lonely parents that didn’t know how to get the ball rolling would show up eager to talk to other adults!
If this seems daunting then ask your local facebook group if you can create a couple events. Curate it to something you are interested in and a certain age range. For Example: Stroller fitness, Preschool yoga, or a reading class at the library for toddlers. If you are meeting in public make sure everyone posts a photo of themselves that day with what they look like and what they are wearing so you don’t feel awkward saying, “hey are you in that group I’m in?”
This one is for the extroverts. [Of which I am not, surprising I know.]
Utilize the same strategy as in the classes. Talk to them if your kids are playing together. Do they live close? Do they come here often? You may get lucky and stumble upon a topic that lends to sharing numbers. Like, “Oh I’m giving away this tot bike.” Or, “Oh yeah did you hear about that preschool, I forget the name though, can I send it to you later?” You can play it cool and say “we come here every Wednesday at 3, after our music class. Maybe we’ll see you again?” Or you can go out on a limb and ask them if they want to meet again. You can even laugh and say, “This is so awkward. Making mom friends is like dating.”
-Unfortunately it needs to be said that if you are making plans with the opposite sex [or same sex], make it clear that it is for friendship/playdates. If you are in a relationship, drop your spouse into the mix a few times. If you are single make the playdate in a neutral location and focus on the children.
Make a Mom Friend Conclusions::
The main way to make a mom friend is by making the first move. The worst that can happen is they say no thank you or they smile nervously and brush you off. Not everyone is going to want to hang out with you. And you’re not going to want to hang out with everyone. But all you need is one. One person you can text a photo of the poop on your pants to and they’ll understand.
So keep asking, keep searching. Make a friend!