Making Mommy Friends
Once I had my daughter and decided to stay home, the isolation was a killer. As time moved on I realized getting out and making other mom friends was really important. I shared some of my initial experience here and here. Living in NYC without close friends or family forced me outside of my comfort zone to make new friends. This wasn't easy and I had a lot of trial and error. I joined a ton of meetup and facebook groups. It felt like I was dating all over again. From initial contact to the awkward first date. Figuring out where to find moms to to setting up playdates. My first attempt at meeting and interacting with other moms didn't go well. I spent more time focusing on my daughter that I barely realized anyone else around us. When I finally got comfortable I could walk up to a mom and strike up a conversation without issue. The difference came with time and experience. Here's what I realized during my learning curve.
Finding a mom that works for you and a kid(s) that interacts well with your kid(s) is hard. But it's not impossible. I find it easier to focus on one thing at a time. For me it's more important my kids mesh well. While this experience is for all of us, it's more important for my child's socialization process. I can talk to just about anyone about something for at least 30 mins, so if I'm a little uncomfortable it's ok. In full disclosure, I'd love to make mom friends with whom I have a few things in common. But this is secondary in the overall scheme of things. I also try to find moms that have similar rules for playing and interacting. I'm trying very hard to teach my children certain manners and help them understand they share this world with other people. In short, this means taking turns, sharing, and being polite. If a mom doesn't feel the same about this as I do, it's likely we won't make it very far.
I made most of my mom friends going to meetups and events posted on facebook. I know it's kind of a 'duh' thing, but you have to get out to make friends. You'd surprised at a number of moms who don't go out much but complain about feeling isolated. My mom once told me in response to me saying I had no friends, "he who wants friends must show himself friendly." You have to get out and go where the people are, join all the Meetup and Facebook groups you can. There are a ton to join. You don't have to do everything but challenge yourself to do something once a week. See if you like it and if you find value in it. Don't stay in a group you don't like and don't pass up a group without giving it a college try.
When you go to events make sure to interact with other moms. I know it's always awkward to try and have a conversation with someone you just met. But it the necessary evil of making friends. I always start by talking about the obvious thing we have in common: kids. How old? How many? Names? Moms like to talk about their kids, this is the time to do just that. And move on from there. Some moms you'll click with instantly. And sometimes you'll come up short. I've met some of my favorite mom friends just standing by the slide watching our kids play. We realized we're those crazy helicopter moms and we embraced that together.
Finally, make future plans. Seal the deal. Invite them out to lunch or over for a playdate. Heck, at the least, plan to go to another event they might be at. Because in the end mommy-ing is hard and sometimes you just need some support. I've met some amazing moms who I love hanging out with. I have loved learning about them. They have some of the sweetest and brightest kids. They are terrific additions to my friend circle.