You’ve probably heard it before
It takes a village to raise a child.
You’ve gotta find your community!
Even better, you have THIS image in your head - all of your friends coming over for playdates, sipping on coffee while the kids play together.
We all know motherhood is not easy, but having those close friends can make it a little less isolating.
But where do I find these kind of friends?
If you are anything like I am, finding new friends gives you butterflies in your belly and sweaty palms. I’m not naturally outgoing and I don’t start conversations with random people - but I do know that having friends is a very important part of my self care and overall happiness.
Now, I’m going to warn you, I don’t have any magical tricks to finding new friends. I wish I did. But I do have a few tips about where to look, what to expect, and how to stay connected with those awesome moms you do meet!
Decide what you need out of a friend, or how much you have to give.
You may have this image of your head of inviting several friends over to have a playdate, or you may only need a few close friends that you can grab some coffee with every once in a while. Try to figure out what kind of friendship you are able to handle at this point in your life, and go from there. If you are looking to find a group of friends to join in, maybe look for groups that are already developed to become a part of. Maybe going to the playground and meeting a new mom and building a close bond would be more your style.
Find women with similar interests.
The variety of groups on Facebook is quite amazing. Everything from Mom groups about babywearing and fitness, to local gaming and cooking groups. Find something that you are interested in, and join the group! Go to outings, or just become an active member in the group. This is a great avenue to pursue because you will find friends whom you have something in common with besides just having children.
Don’t let the small parenting details ruin it.
So you’ve met someone at the park, and they seem like the coolest, most fun mom you’ve ever met and you can’t wait to hang out with them. (she’s the one!) Then she proceeds to tell you that she has a strict bedtime of 7 pm every night (or the opposite - no bedtime!) Whichever, it is NOT one of your parenting tactics. This may be a huge red flag for you and you may walk away immediately. But take a moment to realize something - every family is different. You are never going to find a friend who parents exactly the way you do. So unless it’s a major parenting decision that you simply couldn’t look past, let the small details go.
Put yourself out there.
Don’t be scared to give out your number — this was the hardest part (and still is) for me, because I’m not outgoing. And chances are that most people reading this blog, looking for some friends, aren’t either. (High five to introverts!) That being said, you gotta just do it. Start the conversation at the playground, ask the questions, set the play dates. Invite new friends over. Building friendships takes time and effort, which us moms don’t have a lot to give. But it’s the truth. So next time you are out in public with your kiddos and you see a fellow mom hanging around, strike up a conversation. See where it goes. You never know who you will meet.
Text your new friends and stick to playdates. Chances are they will love hearing from you!
Ok, so you met this awesome mom who seems totally cool and easy to hang with. You met a few weeks ago, exchanged numbers, but haven’t heard from her. Chances are, she got caught up in motherhood. Yes, you know all too well about that. The whirlwind that is motherhood - diapers, feedings, sleep routines (or lack of), etc. So why not shoot her a text - let her know you are thinking of her and can’t wait to get together soon! Plan a playdate or a coffee date, and make sure you stick to it! It’s so easy for us to cancel on our plans with other mothers, but it’s so important to follow through with these meet ups. It builds friendships that you can rely on.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
If you are anything like me, meeting new people is awkward. I giggle a lot, I can’t find my words, I stutter. It’s embarrassing. But I try not to worry about all of that. We are all in this journey together, and having someone that you can text, even just to say “Hey, this is hard!” is worth feeling awkward for a few minutes.