Making friends with other new moms is very important to a life well lived with children. It gets easier to meet fellow soldiers as your kids age, which is unfair because you need new mom friends the most in the first year. The months before the baby can interact and respond to you can be isolating, thus you need backup.
It’s also REALLY nice to have friends with babies at the exact same age, as everything changes in three week increments with infants. If you are very fortunate, you might meet people before you have the baby, and then you can exchange kind, commiserate emails at the hospital and desperate texts re: diaper cream brand and pesky doctor appointments.
However, I think it is hard to meet people ahead of time because you’re distracted in that certain pregnancy-distracted way. Or at least I was.
Here are my steps to building your new tribe of friends, follow them to the letter:
1/ Identify baby-hangout spots in the area a sidewalk everyone walks with strollers in the morning, parks with baby swings, libraries with song circles, a pool with infant swimming lessons, churches with nurseries during the service, coffee shops….It’s not well publicized but all “baby activity classes” actually just exist for parents to meet each other. But just attending the event isn’t enough, you also have to…..
2/ Be more outgoing than you’ve ever been before Size up anyone with babies around the same age, and sit down next to them. Stop by their blanket in the park and laugh that you both seem to be on the same schedule, geez I wonder why… Turn around in line and begin to chat up the fatigued caffeine-seeking compadre. Pick from any number of the million current similarities in your life and strike up a conversation. Don’t be afraid to act interested and eager because you are. People like interested and eager friends, so this is a handy attribute you can already claim.
3/ PROCURE CELL PHONE NUMBER FROM THE CONTACT
The most important step! Never walk away from a pleasant exchange with a new mom without a way to contact her. You could easily not run into them again for several weeks and you’ve already established that they are: 1/ breathing 2/have a baby 3/speak the same language as you. Text them on the spot with your name and your baby’s name.
Do it like so:
“Hey, let me grab your number so I can text you next time I’m headed this way.”
“Let’s trade numbers just in case we want to walk and get coffee sometime?”
“Hey, what’s your email, I’ll just email you right now so we have it.”
In some ways email is better than a cell phone number because it’s a little easier to stay organized on email, and write each other notes. If you ask for an email, you usually end up getting your new friend’s full name too, which is convenient.
If you want to casually mention I’m @______ on Instagram, well, all the better in my opinion. But I’m a big fan of social media, and I totally get it if you want to keep your child off the internet, as they say.
Last tip, then go get ’em!
If you meet a mom from your area who is a little bit ahead of you, baby’s age-wise, ask her what her favorite class or activity is in the area, and ask her if there is a local mom’s email or listserv group to join.
drawing of me and the girls by Joe
My son is 14 months old and by now I’ve gotten the basic idea of this, but I appreciate you explaining the best way to do it and all the steps! We are moving soon so I will be starting over and probably hanging out at lots of playgrounds etc eagerly looking for new mom friends to connect with so I’ll keep all of this in mind.
So, so good. And yes! This first year(well, ok, 8 months for me) HAS felt so isolating and overwhelming.
Hannah (The Homesteady)
What a sweet illustration!
Love the drawing! These sound like good tips to keep in mind.
This is such great advice. I’ve made some of these rookie mistakes (i.e., going to a lactation class in order to find people with new babies, then meeting lots of cute ladies with babies and leaving without getting anyone’s contact info!). That one IS the most important step! Without that, it’s just a good afternoon outing with some adults (still good, but not lasting).
Right. It’s really nice to have those good afternoons as well, but then you’ve got no help for the lonely mornings when you’re antsy to get out on the town.
Perfect timing! My friends with two little girls just moved to Boston. An email is on its way!
Forgot about this email! Will follow up asap.
So true! I’d be sunk without my friends. I figured out ways to scope out a mom and baby couple I thought I’d pair well with….baby the same age, in a cute sling, the mom has a book tucked into her diaper bag….I’m going in!
“sunk without my friends.” Love that expression. And you’ve nailed the mom-spotting! You’ve gotta scope out your type somehow.
Perfect timing! Will do. Love love the line drawing.
me too. : )
I read this blog this morning and felt very inspired to attempt to make a friend at my lactation class this afternoon. Lo and behold, I struck up a conversation with the mom at my table. Step 3 was so out of my comfort zone, but I am glad I put myself out there…we ended up walking to Starbucks together and chatted for a few hours.
I’m sooo happy to hear this! Go you!! A few of the most random encounters early in Lux’s life resulted in some of my favorite baby friends.
True. True. TRUE! Had to read this post after you told me about it. Was so nice to catch up with you up north. Also, wanted to say that I really appreciate the asterisk you added to you bio bit clarifying the reality of your untidiness despite the impeccable nature of your blog…thanks for being honest, I feel better about our chaos and mess (now that you’ve seen the little terror that is my adorable and lovable son 😉
i’m glad to hear that! I keep thinking of Bo’s glowing skin and shining eyes–he’s the picture of health! Your hard work is paying off.
Is love too strong a word for my feelings about this post? No.
I am a few weeks away from the arrival of my second child and this is such a good reminder of the importance of connecting with other parents.