Becoming a mom is incredible, emotional, totally amazing and potentially very lonely. I’m highly introverted, and I don’t thrive in big social situations. So I never anticipated how very lonely I could feel from days at home with a little baby. I discovered the hard way that it is vital to have mom friends. Sharing the experiences of motherhood with someone who knows (almost) exactly how you feel is crucial to surviving the early years with little ones.
Why You Need Mom Friends
> You need someone with similarly aged children to bring your parenting questions to. Grandmas and Google are great, but some of their advice is out dated or incorrect. You need solid advice from someone you trust who’s children are going through similar experiences or milestones.
> You need someone who can understand and relate to your feelings and experiences. You’re going to need to vent about the hard stuff and celebrate the little (but major) achievements. Non-mom friends are awesome, but they have no idea what you’re going through, no matter how much they want to.
> You need someone to talk to about the gory details of motherhood. Someone who won’t cringe at the gross stuff. You’ll need to talk about your labour stories, and have discussions about the worst poop explosion you’ve ever seen. You need someone who gets that and who will either laugh with you or help you recover from the trauma.
> Here’s the big one: You will epically lose your mind without mom friends. When I had my first baby I lived in an area that was very unwelcoming and clique-y. We attended the same church for 3 years before anyone spoke to us. It was incredibly lonely and I struggled so much. I just needed someone to talk to. I didn’t realize that I needed to pursue the friendships vigilantly, that I couldn’t count on others to pursue me. It was such a difficult lesson.
> You need someone to talk to but you also need to be a good listener. It’s good for you because it will help you realize that your experiences are not isolated and you are not alone. It will help you give yourself permission to feel the bad along with the good because other moms are feeling the same things.
How to Find Mom Friends
Surprisingly, it can be really difficult to make mom friends. It doesn’t necessarily come easily or naturally. Unless you and a girlfriend happened to have had children at the same time, finding new people who will want to fight your corner is a challenge. I’ve also learned this the hard way, and learned that I need to take the lead if I want the friendships.
I spent so much time waiting for others to notice me and and how much I was struggling. But then I had a realization.
Maybe someone was waiting for me to notice them. Woah.
I decided that I needed to become the friend that I wish I had. Someone who checks in with others, brings food and offers help. Who organizes the play dates and the meet ups. And the rewards are great, I promise.
Here are some ideas of where to start looking for mom friends:
> Look within your existing circle of friends. It’s easier to start with acquaintances than with strangers. Look at who’s already in your life, who you wish you were closer to or who seems like they could use a friend. Connect with them.
> Start a playgroup or become very active in one. All it takes is an adequate space, some toys and a working coffee maker. Make it a regular event that is easy to invite others to. This is a good way to turn strangers into friends. You can easily invite other moms from the playground or church or library without needing to be friends already!
> Start a ‘book club’. I started a book club, but we hardly ever talk about the books. We go to a coffee shop to chat and a group of three of us have become very close.
> Go to drop ins at the library or rec center and force yourself to talk to people. You can do it!
> Do a ‘mommy & me’ class, like swimming or soccer.
> Try going to a stroller bootcamp and bond with someone over the silliness of it all.
> Participate in mom groups at church – help with Sunday school or baby showers.
> Go ‘mom-dating’ at the playground. In the summertime you may notice that a lot of the same moms will go to the same playgrounds around the same time. This is a great way to meet other families in your neighbourhood, which is a huge bonus.
Be prepared to do hard things, especially if you’re an introvert. Be the friend you wish you had, you’ll see it is totally worth it. Be bold because your life depends on it. Check in with people, remember the little details of their lives and ask them about it. Bring them soup when they’re sick. Open up to someone. And maybe someone is just waiting for you, maybe YOU are the friend they need.
What are some ways you have found mom friends?