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Making New Mom Friends is Like Dating

When you become a new mom, you’ll want to lean on your friends now more than ever before. If you’re the first in your group to have a baby, you’ll want to meet some other moms like you—stat.

Oh no—memories of high school are flooding back! The jocks, the geeks, the popular group, the rockers, the punks . . . and now those are replaced with the granola moms, the baby-wearing moms, the helicopter moms, the tiger moms, the fashionistas.

These are labels we’ve created ourselves, as much as I dislike them. But the reality is that you will identify yourself with one of these groups more than others. You’ll be drawn to certain women because they have similar values, ideas, and thoughts.

Meeting new mom friends is a little like dating. We’re scared to make the first move. Say the wrong thing, and you’ll scare off a potential friend. Keep your cool so they think you’re someone fun to hang around with. And then the hardest part. . . asking for their phone number.

The Park

If you’re solo, the park is a great way to meet some new mom friends. At first, you may feel awkward trying to strike up a conversation. My first thought was, “well, these women probably already have a group of friends—they’re not looking for more.” The truth is, many of these other new moms are feeling just like you— looking for another adult to have a full adult conversation with. Baby talk can be fulfilling but let’s be honest, we need some grown-up stimulation too.

Mom-Baby Class

Join a mom-and-baby class where you can meet other new mothers. You’ll find comfort in talking to other women who are going through similar stages and challenges. Sharing stories and tips and coming to the realization that you’re not alone is so helpful.

Online Groups

Look online for local mom meetup groups. Similar to dating apps, there are apps to meet new mom friends too. It’s as easy as posting “Hey, I’m a new mom, looking for some new mom friends to go for walks and meet at the park. Message me!” I’ve seen this on an almost weekly basis on a local mom group I run on Facebook, and every time, there are at least a dozen responses from other moms looking for friendship too.

Ok, Now What?

Even if you do meet a bunch of new mom friends, it still can be challenging to find the right one or two. You may gravitate to moms with babies around the same age as yours who will eventually play together. Their naps may need to be around the same time, too, so you can actually coordinate time to meet.

What if you don’t feel like part of a mom club? While many commercials and YouTube videos encourage a unity among all mothers, the real truth is many of us prefer to surround ourselves with like-minded people. If you don’t find yourself fitting in to one particular group, then you may feel excluded. You may find you’re asking yourself, where do I fit in? The answer isn’t always easy.

Find a supportive group of other women who will take you as you are. The last thing you need is a group of judgmental women who will question every parenting choice you make. Friends are meant to uplift and enhance—not barrage and bring down.

I think all new moms are desperate to make friends and need to make a connection with someone who is going through a similar situation. Don’t be shy if you find another mom who you’re drawn to – go for it!

Making New Mom Friends is Like Dating

 

The Mommy Club

By Becky Sherrick Harks

Never shy, I swam up to the semi-circle of pregnant ladies in my prenatal water aerobics class noting that while they were all a good deal older than me, they all looked reasonably friendly, and introduced myself. “Hi,” I said cheerfully. “My name is Becky, and I’m 6 months pregnant with my first son, Ben!” I don’t know if they spied my lack of wedding ring or were put off by my age, but not a single one responded to me. I might as well have spoken in tongues or have burped the alphabet.

While my situation wasn’t perhaps ideal, I wasn’t sorry and I wasn’t about to apologize to anyone for it. But just as soon as I joined the semicircle, I quickly found myself wedged out of it, treading water just outside of the group. It was the playground all over again. Looking back on it, I told myself that I must have imagined it.
School
Three years later, my new husband and I walked into a roomful of parents at back-to-school night for Ben’s new preschool and took our seats, smiling happily. We’d not had a lot of other chances to interact with large groups of other parents before this, and while we were nervous, we were both very excited. Oddly, as we sat there among them, we noticed that we were receiving a number of unfriendly stares.

Trying to shrug it off, we listened to the director of the Montessori school lecture us, before we broke off into our volunteer groups to discuss what we were going to do for class projects. My husband and I split up and I headed over to my group.

Happily, I introduced myself and tried to make small talk with the other members of the group. Slowly, I realized that as I stood there nodding and smiling with a big stupid grin on my face, no one was actually talking to me, and I was being edged out of the group.
The circle closed with me clearly on the outside and I stood there for a second, still nodding like a fool. I tried to edge my way back into the group to no avail, but eventually, I gave up. Thankfully, I wasn’t in a swimming suit this time but I wondered why no one wanted to be my friend.

Confounding matters was my son, who was autistic, which made playdates with the few friends that we had tricky. The snide comments about the things he’d eat, or the meltdowns he’d have or the way he’d behave broke my heart. Yes, he was in therapy and no, he wasn’t like their children, and while I tried to pretend it didn’t matter, it was hard and it was lonely for a long time.

So really, it’s no surprise that when I drop my son off at school, I’m always waiting for the crowd of pitchfork-wielding parents to emerge from the playground to yell “get back in the car, Infidel! You don’t belong here.” Much as I’ve shed the insecurities of feeling like I’m a stranger in a strange land, I have a terrible time feeling like I’m an imposter of a parent when I’m around other parents. friends

Three children later, I realize that it’s clearly time to get my act together. I cannot allow the past events dictate the way that I live my life as a mother because I’m not an insecure person and I’m not an insecure mother.

I’m putting on my battle armor and getting myself out there so that I can meet other parents in the flesh. Time for me to join The Mommy Club. I’ve done an amazing job doing it through my blog, so I know that I’m not that defective, but I’m just not quite sure where to meet other parents without looking like a freak. I can’t exactly size up a potential New Best Friend by staring at her for the whole hour at story hour without scaring her off and perhaps landing me a fancy restraining order. Couldn’t really blame her there.

I wonder if it’s this hard for other parents to make friends. I don’t have leprosy or gaping pustules dripping from my face, and while I certainly do have faults, they’re not the sort that one would notice off the bat. But it’s time for me to face my fears and deal with them.

I’m sure I’ll be excluded from plenty more parental circles and that’s okay because I’ve learned to make sure that anyone who ever wants to join my group of friends is included. No matter what. But, I’ll make anyone with leprosy wear a mask.
becky

Becky Sherrick Harks left behind life as a nurse to stay home to be raised by her three children, Benjamin, Alexander, and Amelia. Her days are spent reinventing herself as a writer, a March of Dimes Mom and blogging on her personal blog Mommy Wants Vodka. Life is never quiet and never dull, and Sherrick Harks would have it no other way.