The world of a new mother can be very lonely. From working full time to being home alone with this demanding little bundle full time, isolation can be a constant struggle. And making new friends as we get older is a lot harder than striking up a conversation with the girl sitting next to you on the school bus because you like the color of her jeans! Do you make friends easily or are you slower to warm up to people? I fall into the latter category and that’s why I was lonely as heck after my daughter was born. Eventually I found that getting ‘out there’ was the best way to meet new people. Here are some of the things I tried:
• Community Associations. Our community association ran a “Tot Time” one morning a week, where kids preschool and younger could play in a giant room of toys while the moms socialized. It was a wonderful resource and I made some great friends there.
• The Public Library: they have baby and me reading programs and other weekly events for parents and kids.
• The Playground. But here’s a tip: if you notice a certain playground always seems busy at a specific time, that’s when your chances of making new friends is best. Sometimes you will only meet nannies but you’ll also meet other moms and kids with a similar routine.
• Lessons: Swimming, gymnastics, dance etc. Sitting and waiting during lessons is a parental rite of passage and can be a great time to meet other parents. It doesn’t always work with younger children and babies however; not only is it more hectic but we are usually too engrossed in our own kid to really connect.
• Volunteer: When my daughter started preschool I volunteered for the committee and got to know some of the other parents really well. I also volunteer in the classrooms when possible and get to know the teachers better too.
• Online. Twitter, reading blogs, message boards, or even meetup.com are all great virtual places to get in touch with other moms and it’s great for feeling leas isolated and lonely. As a bonus, sometimes online friendships can transfer to real life. Search out other moms using your city’s hashtag, check profiles, look for meetups with people that live nearby with similar aged kids and message them directly; as you follow them you’re sure to connect with some in your sphere.
So once you’ve done these things, how do you take the next step and make a mommy date? It seems so terribly awkward to say, “I just met you and this is crazy but here’s my number, call me maybe?” Oh wait. That’s a song… But I still regret not taking more initiative one day when I met a lady at the park and we totally hit it off. I was too shy just come out with it and say “You know what. I’ve loved chatting with you the last half hour and our kids are playing nice, let’s get together for coffee sometime!”
If you’re like me and feel awkward asking for the digits (or email), offer yours instead. Have a stash of mom-cards with your name, your kids names and your contact information and give them to the person you’ve connected with. There are affordable options such as buying templates at an office supply store and printing them on your computer or fancier cards are available from sites like Vistaprint.ca and moo.com. Or use your smart phone! You can do it old school by entering in a new contact or use an app such as Bump or Beam It to share information.
However you choose to do it, you will never regret putting yourself out there to meet new people and make new friends. The first step is always the hardest, but once you do it, you’ll never look back.