5 Ways to Make Mom Friends
The most challenging thing about moving to a new city is trying to build a comfortable social circle. Making friends in a new town is much different as a mom than it was as pre-kiddos. It was simple to network before having kids, because you had the whole evening and weekends to socialize. Rec leagues, weekend getaways and happy hours are much more difficult to schedule when you have a little one.
Have you ever heard of the Seattle freeze? This means that it is tough to make friends. You meet people and seem to click well, exchange numbers to meet up again, but neither party every initiates any future meetups. I can’t tell you how many times when moving to a new city I have experienced this same thing. I hit it off well with a gal, but we never reach out to each other again. As I go through my contacts on my phone right now, I see more than 20 people who I met once and exchanged numbers with but never met up with again.
Making friends with other moms in a new city is a whole new ball game. It can be challenging to know where to find like-minded mamas. I find it essential to make friends with people with whom you can have an honest, enjoyable, and supportive relationship. Just because someone else is a mom, doesn’t mean that you will have much in common. Forcing a friendship just because you both have kids is inorganic and uncomfortable.
As a SAHM in the middle of a move, it is very easy to get wrapped up in unpacking and organizing. For example, I love to make to-do lists. Every morning I add to the reminder list on my phone of things I need to get done — I LOVE to check things off a list. Some of those items I need to get done ASAP. Other tasks are due in the next couple weeks, but I like to have a visual reminder. After a move, I can quickly become a hermit because my to-do list at home is never-ending. There are boxes to unpack, a kitchen to organize, a bathroom to deep clean, and items to restock from the store.
After our most recent move, Chulengo would wake up, and I would attempt to unpack items while he played. Anyone who has tried to unpack boxes, while caring for a mobile infant knows that not much is going to get done. Before Chulengo, I could quickly unpack our entire house in two days. With Chulengo, I am lucky to get a few boxes emptied each day. Because of this, I could easily spend weeks alone at home unpacking. But, I need to get out of the house. Otherwise, Chulengo and I are going to drive each other nuts.
To ease my sanity, I would save the unpacking for when Nima was napping and when my husband came home from work. He would spend time with Chulengo, and I could unpack without disruption. It’s amazing what I can get done with 30 minutes of alone time.
I realized that I needed to spend my day branching out, interacting with people and making friends to build my tribe. Being out of the house allows me to gain a new perspective and not get frustrated by what I didn’t get done with little Chulengo crawling around. The sooner I develop a social circle, the happier I am.
After multiple moves and making friends in various cities, I have come up with five fundamental ways to make friends in a new town:
Join a Class
Learning something new or participating in a group activity with other moms on a regular basis helps you build a tribe. There are many types of courses available these days. Fitness, music, sign language, and swim classes are just a few examples. I recently joined a mom and baby fitness group. Classes are offered six mornings per week, and we meet at a nearby park. I push Chulengo in the stroller while working out. I love this class because I get a great workout and I don’t have to get a sitter for Chulengo. As we work out and move from station to station, we sing songs to keep the children entertained.
Meet Up with an Alumni Group
Reaching out to an alumni group is an easy way to meet folks. You bond with your past experiences, shared interests, and sometimes even common friends. Each time we have moved I have reached out to my sorority alumna group in our new city. It is an easy way for me to connect with women who had similar college experiences and share similar values. Some of my most fabulous friends are moms who were in the same sorority as me but at a different college. We met through alumnae groups. I also reach out to my college alumni group when I move to a new city. Coming from a smaller university, we easily bond over campus traditions, favorite faculty, and shared history.
Connect via Social Apps
There is one app out there that every mom needs — Peanut. When creating your profile, you can enter your neighborhood and age of your child(ren). You also choose 3 “packs.” “Packs” are three terms you choose out of a bank of 33 options to describe yourself. Some options are hot mess, mom boss, routine queen, outdoorsy, bookworm, but first food, single mama, adventurous, mama of multiples. It’s tough to choose only three, but it is a great way to let others know about your personality. I chose “Wine Time” because I could also go for a nice glass of wine; “City Gal” because I love the urban setting; and “Neighborhood Newbie” to let others know I was new to the area.
You are given access to a bank of mamas in your area after you create your profile. You look at each mom’s profile and choose whether or not you want to connect with them. Moms in your area also can see your profile. You swipe up if you are interested in connecting and you swipe down if you don’t think you would be a good match. If both mom’s swipe up, you get a notification and the opportunity to message each other.
I love this app because it removes the awkward introductions. You can quickly message matched moms who you know you have something in common. I prefer to meet up to go for a walk when meeting Peanut moms in person. It’s a natural, free activity that is in a safe public area. It’s a great way to get to know each other and keep kiddos entertained.
Before using Peanut, I spent so much time meeting other mamas only to find out that we don’t click as friends and had little in common. Peanut allows me to be more efficient when finding new like-minded women nearby, who are also mamas.
Go to the Library
Storytime for kiddos is a pretty standard activity at most libraries. My favorite part about storytime is that it is the same time and day every week. As a mom, very few things in life are predictable, so I love an activity that is always at the same time and place. After attending a couple of weeks in a row, I have been able to meet other moms. Once you see a mom a couple of times at the library, it is much easier to approach them. Also, typically, those that go to the library live nearby which is always a perk when making friends.
Get Out Into Your Neighborhood
Introduce yourself to those in the community around you. When we moved into our last apartment, I introduced myself to anyone I saw in the elevator. This recent move, the fire alarms kept going off due to some maintenance work in our complex. So, Chulengo and I would go out in the hallway, and we quickly learned there were two other mamas on our floor. Apparently, this is not a typical way of meeting folks in our building, but I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce Chulengo and myself. The next week, we were invited to a birthday party by one of those mamas. We wouldn’t have had that opportunity if we didn’t make an effort to get to know them in an unfortunate situation.
I also recommend introducing yourself to your postal service person, delivery people, grocery clerk, and anyone else who is a regular face you will see in your neighborhood. If you are like me, you get at least a couple packages each week. On those days when I am not able to get out of the house much, it is nice to chat with folks I see regularly. They may not be close friends of mine, but they are familiar faces. The security guard at our back gate has become one of my favorite people to see. He always says hi to Chulengo and chats with us as we walk by on our way home.