One thing no one warned me of after having a baby was how my friendships would change. It wasn’t malicious, but more like a natural falling away. My friends that were child free continued their normal social life, but my life had suddenly changed so dramatically. Not to mention I had a baby during a pandemic so that added a more complex layer. A year or two into being a new mom I looked around and felt so alone. I was struggling so much with my mental health and realized I needed to prioritize my social life outside of my immediate family. My husband is amazing, but I still needed a friend outside of him. I had to learn how to make friends as a mom.
Being an introvert the task of making new friends as a mom seemed so daunting. Luckily my husband is quite the opposite from me and really kickstarted things by setting me up with some clients he thought I would get along with. I knew I couldn’t totally rely on my husband so I had to start making more of an effort on my own. These are some of the things that I learned along the way.
Don’t Judge A Book By the Cover
Sometimes we think we know what kind of friends are best for us, but that might not really be the case. We think we need to find someone that is just like us, someone who has kids the same age, or are in the same stage of life. The truth is that can definitely work, but it isn’t always the case. We can have deep meaningful relationships with people that aren’t just like us. Some really great friendships for me have been with women that are much different than myself. It has really opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and seeing the world, parenting techniques, activities to try with kids, and so much more. It’s not only good for you, but can also be good for your children to experience different perspectives.
Lately I’ve been trying to be open to developing friendships with different kinds of women and I have found some of the most meaningful relationships with women I never would have connected with normally. They are younger or older than myself, have kids that are older than mine, and come from such different backgrounds but in the end they have been the kinds of friends that I really needed.
Learn to Be Vulnerable
The biggest thing for me in making quality friendships has been putting myself out there. Honestly, making friends is much like dating. You have to try and you have to be vulnerable enough to build trust and go beyond just being acquaintances. You will say awkward things, get rejected, and have to be the one to set up plans sometimes, but the benefits of a quality friendship in motherhood can be life sustaining. No matter what phase of life you are in.
I recently moved to a new city where I knew absolutely no one. I hate those first few months when you have no social network. The introvert in me wants to just dig into being reclusive. Everyone is new and I just always feel out of the loop. Many people have been so kind to me, but I had to take some initiative if I wanted more than just acquaintances. I invited people to our home for dinner, reached out to other moms to set up playdates, organized a couples games night, and made the effort to approach new people and introduce myself .
It’s been 3.5 months now and I can honestly say that I have many friendships that are evolving and growing. Investing in my social network has also lifted me and given me a new sense of joy in my life.
You Won’t Always Click and That’s Okay
Not everyone will be your cup of tea, and vice versa. Your parenting styles might be very different and for you it may be better to steer clear of each other. That’s okay. Our friendships should build each other up, not make us feel worse. Take the time to think about what you value and if you are finding joy in your friendships. You don’t have to necessarily break up with those individuals, but don’t invest as much of your time into relationships that don’t serve you.
Plans Will Fall Through, Be Understanding
Kids will get sick, mom brains will forget things, and some days will be just too trying to leave the house. Be understanding and supportive when plans fall through or be willing to adapt when necessary. If it happens too often and that bothers you then maybe they aren’t the right fit for you. I know as a mother of 2 small kids 17 months apart I have had had to cancel a lot of plans with other moms I would love to spend time with. Life is unexpected and we are juggling a lot as mothers. Give each other grace.
Just like dating making friends as a mom can take a while to find a person you connect with or the right mom tribe. Mom life is difficult and you can lose yourself in it. If you don’t recognize yourself anymore you might not know what you need anymore. Be patient with yourself. Keep trying. You might have to meet a lot of other women before you find that right people who accepts you just the way you are. The road may be long and lonely but it doesn’t have to stay that way. In a world so disconnected with social media telling us we need to be this perfect put together mother that does it all we need real relationships with real women to help each other through this time of life. Good friendships can help us not only survive motherhood, but actually thrive.
Tips for Making Friends as a Mom
- Get involved in a church, volunteer group, fitness club, or other organized small group settings where you can naturally get to know other women.
- Join your neighborhood Facebook group or mom group to connect with other moms near you.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to other moms at the library, museum, playground, and wherever you are already going with your kids. Ask them their name and ask questions about them, not just about their children. I have rarely felt uncomfortable when other moms strike up a conversation with me when I’m out. Honestly I’m usually quite grateful for the opportunity to talk to another adult.
- Say yes to invitations from other people even if it’s uncomfortable. You never know who you might meet at that get together and it might be just what you need.
- Organize your own mom’s night out for neighborhood moms, fellow daycare/preschool moms, church moms, etc. They probably would love the invite just as much as you.
- Get your kids involved in art classes, sports, library reading time, yoga, and whatever it is they enjoy. In turn you will likely find like minded children and mothers to reach out to.
- Mommy and me classes are usually full of fellow moms that want to get out of the house and connect with other people. It’s a great way to find someone else that is looking for connection.
- Start a local support group for new moms, toddler moms, or moms of teenagers.
- Try apps like peanut to make friends with other moms near you.
We need friendships in our lives and it can be uncomfortable making friends as a mom. Our old friendships before kids might not be what they use to be. By putting yourself out there and being patient you will find your mom tribe and women that lift you up during this beautiful time of motherhood. These friendships will help you thrive and you can be a real life raft for them in their lives as well.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.