There is no denying that becoming a mom is hard - it will literally flip life as you know it upside down and back over again.
However, if you are trying to navigate new motherhood without a tribe of mom friends who are in the same boat as you right now, you are probably making life harder than it needs to be. Because while you no doubt have friends in your life from your ‘pre-motherhood’ days, chances are, unless they have kids themselves, they are just not going to get it – not in the same way mums will.
So you got to find you mom-tribe, mama. You got to get yourself out there and start making friends – because they are not just going to show up on your doorstep.
Having been there and done that twice, once because I had a baby long before any of my friends did, and the second time around because we moved to somewhere I knew no-one when my youngest was only weeks old, I’d like to think I now know a few things about making mom friends – and here is what I have learned:
1. Use social media for all its worth
A lot is said and written about the negative effects of social media, but the reality is that it can also be an amazing tool for connecting with your community and even making new friends. Start following local venues and organisations on both Facebook and Instagram, sign up for newsletters about events taking place, such as book clubs at the library, mom and baby yoga classes at your local sport centre or even parish hall. Look for different groups you can join too, I can pretty much guarantee there are baby massage classes, baby music classes, walking groups – you name it, there is probably a group for it in your local area, and you’ll find out about on Facebook and Instagram.
2. Get out there
Yes, I know getting out of the house with a baby is hard, but nothing is going to happen inside the walls of your house when it comes to making new friends. Put your baby in a stroller and hit up your local park for a walk, visit the farmer’s market on a weekend morning or simply stroll around the neighbourhood.
Note: Try to not be glued to your phone at all times, as it is much harder to strike up conversations with someone if you can’t even see them as you walk past them to sit next to them at the side of the playground.
Heck, even finding a new local coffee shop and stopping by every morning might result in meeting some other mom also on the hunt for coffee and a new friend!
3. Don’t be afraid to make the first move
I know it makes many of us uncomfortable to be the one to initiate conversation with a stranger, but this might just be what gets the ball rolling when it comes to finding your mom tribe.
If you see another mom with a little one, be it at the local library one morning or sitting beside the swings in the park, don’t be afraid to strike up conversation. Ask about her baby, find out if she comes here often, ask if she knows of any other good places to go with babies or children in your local area – moms are often keen to help other moms out, because we all know just how crazy and sometimes lonely motherhood can be.
Another great idea can be to get your child to make friends with other toddlers or kids – and that again can sometimes lead to you making a mom friend too. Bring a ball to the park – kids love balls, or, even better, soap bubbles you can blow and the kids can chase. The more fun your kid is having, the more it will attract other kids (and moms!) too.
4. Seal the deal
Once you've broken the ice and shared a few laughs or some small talk, be sure to end any impromptu playground or coffee shop meet by exchanging contact information with your potential mom friend. Ask for her number and add her to your WhatsApp, and don’t be shy about talking about yourself and that you are looking for some mom friends either – there is no shame in admitting you could do with some like-minded pals right now.
After your meet, maybe send a text and ask if she fancies a trip to the park over the next couple of days, or if she wants to join you heading to baby yoga or whatever – often it just takes that first person to make the first move.
5. Say ‘yes’ to things
We know being a new mom is tiring, and often, it can be so tempted to just stay home, and not make plans you have to then show up for.
However, if you are looking to widen your circle and make some new friends, try saying yes to things, and see what happens. Charity coffee mornings, dinner gatherings, that weekend morning park run – you will almost always meet someone you find interesting and you just never know – you new mom friends could pop up when you least expect it.
Ultimately, making mom friends can be a little trial and error – and we have to approach it with both a positive, yet also realistic attitude, I think. So you mightn’t meet your soulmate mom that first week, but you will slowly, but surely, start building your circle, your tribe, and even though none of these moms might feel like your very best friend – for now – friendships will grow and evolve. And so right now, just having someone who you can head for coffee with and complain about how tired you are and how flipping tough potty training is, might just be enough.