Making friends once you are a mom is HARD. And while I feel terribly unqualified to talk about this, I think it’s important that we do.
I’m not good at making friends. Yup. I said it! I’ve always been the type of person that just had a 2-3 close friends. I was always friendly to everyone, and knew a lot of people, but only had a handful of girlfriends who actually knew the real me. I’m a pro at keeping everyone at arm’s length. I’m an only child so being alone doesn’t bother me. In fact, I crave it. I love my alone time and need it to function. But I’d be fooling myself if I said that I didn’t need friend time too. I do. We all do. We all have the desire to connect with someone else, especially another mom who gets it. Another mom who won’t be upset if you forget to call her back or you cancel plans for the forth time. Because she’s a hot mess too.
The good news? Making friends is do-able. But you have to take matters into your own hands. And who better to share about how to make friends, than someone that who it didn’t come easy for?
When I first became a mom I also worked full time. We live in a state where I didn’t grow up, and in a town where I knew no one. I was a crazy busy working mom. Any free time I had was spent with my baby. I didn’t have time for mom friends and even if I did, I had no clue how to make any.
And then I had baby #2, and everything changed. I quit my job to stay home with my kids. And it was the best decision I ever made. But I knew going in to it that I would be lonely. And that I needed some friends with kids like me so we could have playdates and moms nights out! That’s what mom friends do, right?
I know a lot of people told me I would make friends once my kids started school….that I would be friends with the moms of my kid’s friends. Which is great! (And later I found out to be true!) but it’s not great when it’s summer and you have a pre-schooler and a baby. I needed friends and I needed them fast!
So if you are feeling the same, here’s what I did to make some friends:
Find a mom’s group. Sometimes these groups are called MOPS (mothers of pre-schoolers). Depending on where you live, there might be a formal MOPS group, or other similar groups at local churches. Most of these church groups DO NOT require that you are members of their church, or even that you attend their church. So don’t let that keep you from investigating them! Joining a moms group at church was the BEST decision I ever made for myself and my kids. Most of these groups meet during the day, but there are some weekend options for working moms. (I know how hard it is to meet friends when you work full-time. It is easier to attend these types of groups if you are a stay at home mom….but I know for a fact there are working mom groups too! You just have to do your research).
On that first mom’s group meeting day I was nervous. I walked into a large group of women without knowing one single person. I MADE myself do it. That’s really my biggest advice. You have to make yourself uncomfortable. You have to put yourself out there. Both are things I am not good at. But I was hoping it would be worth it….and it was. I remember praying to make just one friend. That’s all I needed to get started. Just one mom that I could connect with. ONE. And you know what? So many of the moms in that group were in the exact same boat as me. They didn’t know anyone either. We were all nervous. And it was okay! We survived! And no, I didn’t have a beam of light shining down on one mom saying “be friends with this girl!”…..it took time. It took me coming back week after week, putting myself out there, and sometimes being late for nap time or having to nurse a baby in between our chats.
I prayed for one friend. But I made six. Six ladies that will forever be a part of my story and a part of my life. Four years later we still meet every other week for our own Bible study, separate from the church. We’ve seen each other through the birth of babies, miscarriage, financial stress, marriage struggles, sick parents and spouses, surgeries, two-year old drama, school bullies, and the loss of a child. God knew what he was doing when he put us together in that group four years ago. (also, be better about taking photos with your friends…..I can’t seem to find many, ha!)
And the next year, I did it again. And again. And again. I put myself out there. At the particular moms group I attend, you get re-assigned to a new small group every year. And each time it gets easier, because instead of walking in to a group of strangers, I now walk in and recognize or know more women than I don’t. I even took on a leadership role for the upcoming year. It really pays to put yourself out there.
Be the playdate mom. Meet someone that seems like she’s nice and kinda normal? Invite her over to your house for a playdate. And don’t stress about making your home look perfect. Chances are she’ll like you better if it’s not. You have to put yourself out there. You can’t wait for someone to invite you over. Initiate it yourself. (it’s hard, I know!).
Be friends with the parents of your kid’s friends. I told you this works! It really takes off once your child is in pre school or kindergarten. Once Sadie started pre-school this past year she couldn’t stop talking about two little girls in her class. It was non stop Kylie and Caitlin this, and Kylie and Caitlin that. One of the girl’s moms beat me to the punch and invited us all over for a big playdate. Once we were all together I totally understood why Kylie and Caitlin were girls that Sadie was in love with….because they had amazing moms! Now we are at the point where our girls do summer camps together and we can drop them off at one another’s house for a little while if we need a break. Or we can all hang out together. It’s the best.
Plan a park date. If your child is on a soccer team or Sunday school class, get the emails of the parents and let them know you’ll be at such and such park at such and such day/time. And see who shows up! Maybe no one will, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to. Moms are busy, just like you are. Or maybe one mom will show up. Just keep doing it and keep putting yourself out there.
Join a book club. I was SO reluctant to join a book club this year….I mean, when did I have time to read for pleasure? When it was time for the first meeting I hadn’t even had a chance to finish the book….but I went anyway. And I LOVED it. It was a mix of a few acquaintances, a few friends, and several women I didn’t know at all. And it was awesome. And guess what? I DO actually have time to read one book a month. And I look forward to book club….it’s always one of my favorite nights.
Look for local Facebook groups for moms. A good place to start is a local Mom 2 Mom sale group in your area, or a local Stroller Strides (these also work GREAT for working moms). Use the Facebook search function to find these types of groups. Yes, you’ll have to weed through “for sale” posts, but every now and then I see a mom say something like “I need mom friends! I’ll be at the park on Tuesday from 9-11 if anyone wants to join me!”…..and you know what? Other moms ALWAYS comment on those posts. Because they need mom friends too. And they show up. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there. But so many of us are in the exact same boat. You are NOT alone!
So. Just put yourself out there and see what happens. Making friends takes time. But I promise you there are women out there just like you who want to be your friend. You just have to find them. What’s the worst that could happen? A mom might turn down your invite to hang out or have a play date. And the reason will probably have absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with her. But what’s the best that could happen? You could make a life-long friend. Or even just gain the confidence to invite someone else over. I know it’s easier said than done! I’m an introvert after all! I feel your pain. But I’m here today to tell you that it can be done. You can make friends. You just have to put yourself out there.