Maybe you’re one of the lucky new moms whose friends all have babies. You visit each others’ houses, share childcare, and cry together over your latest breastfeeding/potty training/identity -crises. Your kids frolic together under rainbows while you enjoy pinterest-worthy dinners in your well-groomed backyards. Good for you.
If you’re not one of the lucky ones, you might instead be crying into your plain morning oatmeal while feeling like the only person in the world with sore boobs and a screaming baby. Have no fear, you are not alone! You just need some new mom friends.
“But I already have wonderful non-parent friends that mean the world to me!,” you say. Great. Would you like to keep them? Consider that regaling them with endless stories of sleep schedules and poop texture might test your friendship. Best keep those friends close by for when you need some grown-up only time. (And you will!)
Here are five easy steps to making new mom friends. Put yourself out there, be bold, and pretty soon you’ll have a solid handful of people with whom you can share long, rambling, constantly-interrupted conversations.
Leave the House.
Gone are the days of dashing out the door. You now need to leave the house according to baby’s nap timing/feeding schedule AND schlep a giant diaper bag AND fold flailing limbs into a carseat. Once all of this happens, your baby inevitably poops and you have to start all over again.
But DO IT! Leave the house! It will be worth it, even if just for the practice of getting out the door. Where you go is up to you. Coffee shops, library story times, and neighborhood parks are all good bets.
Listen to Your Gut.
You’re out and about, now what? Do you see another tired looking mom on the other side of the coffee shop? Does she smile back when you look at her? Maybe give her a little wave…
Or perhaps you go to one of those storytimes full of moms. Look around, and see if you’re drawn to anyone in particular. It could be the woman next to you whose baby keeps taking off your baby’s socks, or the woman across the room who, despite being covered in spitup, seems completely non-homicidal. Someone might just look cool, or fun, or jaded in the same way you are. If you see that someone, it might be time to talk…
Lucky for you, starting a conversation with another new mom is ridiculously easy. Great openers include: “How old is your baby?”, “What is your baby’s name?”, or “Nice booties/baby carrier/designer barf bandana.” You’ll be chatting away about head circumference and stroller foldability in no time.
While talking, see if they meet your “New Mom Friend” criteria. These criteria could be as simple as a mom who has a kid the same age, lives nearby, and seems nice. It could be as complex as a mom who is also training to run a marathon 6 months postpartum. (For that you might need to try Meetup.com. And consider some SERIOUS pelvic floor reconditioning.)
If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for in a new mom friend, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. Like that mom who won’t let her kid eat a cracker that grazed the germy table? If you’re that mom who lets her kid eat their “second breakfast” from the “first breakfast” scraps that fell on the floor, you two might not make a good match. Keep looking.
Once you’ve found someone you like, it’s time to…
This is the scary part: ask for her number. Or suggest an upcoming event where you could meet. Maybe there’s a kid’s musician who plays at the local taco shop every Wednesday night. Or maybe she wants to meet at the same park/coffee shop/library next week. Asking to meet up might be hard– you might be rejected! But more than likely, she will be glad you made the first move, and you two will make plans to hang out later.
You’ve done it! You’ve made plans with a new mom friend! Now for the bad news: You will never get to see your new mom friend.
Nap schedules, sick babies, doctors appointments, and getting your period for the first time in a year will all work against your plans. But you will persevere! Try your very hardest to stick to your plans, and if something goes sideways, be flexible. Baby just fell asleep so you can’t meet up for storytime today? Then perhaps plan to meet up for lunch after.
In return, give your new friend more than the benefit of the doubt when she needs to change plans. Continue to tell your friend that you like her and want to see her, and eventually you will.
As you move through motherhood, you’ll find that not all of your new mom friends will be your friends forever. Some will drift away and you will love them for what they meant to you for a short while. But others will let you last-minute crash their family Thanksgiving two years later. They will joyfully serve you sweet potatoes while your kids run around hitting each other. And then you will be glad you said “hello” to them that rainy day in the park.