How do you make friends as a mom? Has it been easy, or difficult?
When I was a kid, I met my first best friend because our parents became friends in Lamaze class. I later became friends with other kids because our parents had also become friends in some way or another. As an adult, I went into my own Lamaze class with anticipation of my husband and I meeting our best friends and having our kids grow up together too. Not only did I NOT connect with anyone in the class, I also learned how making friends with other moms is not as easy as it looked when I was a kid.
I recently read an article about making friends after becoming a mom. It first reminded me of when I gave birth to E in the fall of 2005. I had some mom friends already, and the conversations with them usually revolved around what to expect. It was nice to see their confidence as new mothers, as it gave me something to look forward to.
When E was born, I was outside a few days later and ran into my next door neighbor, whom I had never met until I became a mom. She had a baby a few months prior and was very friendly. We’d take walks around the neighborhood and she invited me to join her playgroup. Then I was at a party and ran into a friend from high school, whom I hadn’t seen in about 10 years, and she had her newborn son with her. So we connected again over being moms of boys. Even at work, women I hadn’t talked with before were now interested in chatting because we had the “mom bond” in common. In the meantime, I had made friends online through an iVillage group for moms who were due in the same month.
I don’t think that just being a mom is the key to becoming friends, even if your kids are the same age. There are a lot of moms out there and I don’t expect to connect with each and every one. Some of my closest friends don’t even have kids of their own. I’ve gone to playgroups and felt like I had nothing to talk about with the other moms. Even after moving to different states, I would seek out ways to meet other moms. I’d first look within the tight-knit Jewish communities where I was residing. I’d find parents with kids who looked to be about the same age as my kids. While I connected with some moms this way, it was ultimately about our personalities either meshing or clashing. I’ve also looked to outside sources. I’d find online communities for moms in my area and try to find the moms that seemed the most approachable. I even tried connecting with a woman I met through Freecycle because our kids were close in age. We didn’t end up hanging out until right before I moved away, but we’re still in contact.
I currently run a book blog and have connected with women from all different walks of life. It seems like the ones I’ve become closest with though, are also moms of young children. They don’t live nearby, but we chat about more than just being moms. It’s nice to have that separate interest that binds us as friends. I recently ran into a woman from my community at an author event. I had no idea of her interests and we only said a brief “hello” in passing up until that point. She’s also a mom, but once we discovered we had similar interests in books, we barely talk about kids or parenting. These days, we email each other all the time and talk for a longer period of time when we see each other in person. We’ve even talked about making plans that do not involve a play date!
How do you make friends as a mom? Is it different from making friends based on other factors?
About Melissa A
Melissa A. and her husband have 2 young sons, E and M, and a new baby daughter. Melissa's son E has hearing loss and wears a cochlear implant. Melissa works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit and also runs a bullying prevention group and a book-related fan group, in addition to blogging for Empowering Parents. You can check out Melissa’s personal blog here.