Finding mom friends or a tribe of women to connect with is essential for surviving the chaotic early years with kids. To make true mom friends that you can call on during the tough days of motherhood, follow a few essential steps.
I was the new girl in town, with a baby on the way. No friends nearby to call on for support.
Baby number one would be arriving in just a couple of months and the hairdresser assured me that once you have kids it’s so much easier to meet people and make friends.
You go to mommy groups, join the PTA and then life-long friendships develop. She reassured me it would come when kids arrive.
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But I was worried. As a shy mom, opening up to people requires trust…and time. We also weren’t so new to the area, having lived there for over a year and I didn’t know any other expectant moms or married couples growing a family. The coworkers I had befriended were in another stage of life or more like acquaintances at the time.
So her words brought excitement — I couldn’t wait to form real connections with other new moms like me.
The Reality of Making Mom Friends When You Have Small Children
Fast-forward 5 years later with three little boys of my own. I see how making mom friends actually doesn’t always happen easily. Because when you are an overwhelmed mom to small children there are a whole slew of new obstacles that emerge.
And for many moms, it makes forming connections and keeping in touch far too difficult.
Where I met my first mom friends
My first few months with a new baby were filled with all the typical ways new moms try to meet other moms:
- I joined a new mother’s group (despite fears of driving an hour away with a newborn)
- I enrolled in a baby yoga class
- I attended baby music classes
- I signed my little one up for a gym class
- I even pulled myself out of bed early mornings to get myself into the p
ool for baby swim classes
I had ample opportunities to meet other moms and form connections.
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And at first, I did. I was polite, smiled at other moms, made conversation, admired their little ones and even exchanged emails with a few to set up playdates.
Why some mom friends won’t last
But sadly, almost all of those friendships never flourished for one reason or another.
- The relationship wasn’t nurtured early on.
- People flaked out, couldn’t make schedules work, got busy.
- The relationship didn’t go deeper than small talk.
- Or some – get this – just didn’t seem to want their kid around my kid.
All sorts of reasons tend to come up when you’re tied to a little one’s schedule and going through the ups and downs of new motherhood.
But silver lining of not making friends within your mommy circles the first time around, is that you get a do-over if you have more children. Yes, even if you failed to hit it off during round one, round two is another fresh start you get. Similar to being that newbie in town.
With another child, you get to learn from what worked and what didn’t and make changes accordingly.
How to find your true mom friends
Build a connection early on
To find long-lasting mom friends seek out moms who you build a connection with. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen instantly. Sometimes it does.
But the key is to exchange contact info as soon as you have good chemistry with a fellow mom…because you might miss the chance to reconnect in the future. I’ve had countless moments where I hit it off with a fellow mom, but felt strange asking for her email or number right away. I would tell myself, oh next time we can talk more and set up a playdate…it’s too early right now. But then, a second opportunity to reconnect wouldn’t always present itself, so I missed out on started what could have been a lovely friendship.
To know if things “click” just be yourself. Talk to her like you would talk to a dear friend. If she seems engaged and genuinely interested in listening to what you are saying than that’s a great start. You want someone to just get you and what you are going through, not someone who you put up a facade around for fear of being judged.
Follow-up shortly after
Another equally important step in the friendship process is to keep that connection alive by following-up shortly after meeting.
Oftentimes we hit it off with people, but then wait too long to reconnect. By the time we do, that same spark is not there or is quickly dying.
Nurturing a relationship keeps you on someone’s radar so they don’t forget who you are.
Make it work
While life can get crazy and you are probably working around baby’s schedule to manage your time, make an effort. Yes, you might be late a few times or have to cancel here and there. But don’t make it a habit.
If you keep flaking out it sends a message of not wanting to grow that friendship.
The great thing about having a mom friend with the same age kids is that she totally gets it.
Show her you value that friendship by making it work.
The small talk will only get you so far. Sometimes you have to show more emotion and depth to find the right mom friends for you.
So while complimenting her baby’s outfit is nice, make sure you go deeper and cover the things that will give you more insight into her life and personality.
But as you open up, don’t forget to just LISTEN. Sometimes, listening and being that supportive ear for another mom is the best way we can show them who we truly are.
Choose moms with similar interest
While at first it may seem that everyone with a new baby has similar interests: get some sleep and calm a fussy baby, try to connect with moms that share a similar interest with you. That doesn’t mean to simply befriend moms who look and think like you, in fact having a more diverse group of friends is one of the best things you can look for. But try to look for moms with similar values or approaches to parenting, whether that be supporting breastfeeding moms (even if she doesn’t breastfeed), positive parenting or simply a mom that doesn’t instantly judge you or freak out if your kid won’t share with hers.
Where to look as you build a mom tribe
As I mentioned above, you can find your mom tribe (or group of supportive mom friends) in a plethora of places you take your kids to play and learn like yoga classes, music classes and mother’s groups.
But if you are looking beyond that here are some good options:
If you go to church frequently and it is a part of your life, that is a wonderful place to seek out mom groups. You may not be at a point where you actually attend church regularly, but oftentimes they can direct you to weekly or monthly mommy playdates for parents in the same boat.
Wherever you give birth, there is likely to be a new mom’s group. Check with your hospital or pediatrician to get a list of local groups to meet moms. You can even get hyperlocal and find groups that share specific interests or struggles like La Leche League for breastfeeding moms or moms of preemies and multiples. Ask you doctor if you need a specific group.
Just like the baby classes you attend because they may interest baby, seek out classes that interest YOU. For example, if you are an avid reader or film enthusiasts look for kid-friendly groups in that niche, like book clubs or movie screenings for families. While you might not always get to talk about a book and watch the whole movie, you will get to chat with other moms who have very similar interests, which again is key to building enduring friendships.
MOPS is an organization for moms of preschoolers through kindergarten who plan playdates and monthly events. Every town has their own division.
I actually had no clue this group existed before I stumbled upon it in my research.
Talk about an awesome way to build connections locally!
I only discovered this one recently — but did you know there are apps out there to help you safely connect with other local moms?
Peanut is one such app that matches you with other moms nearby, based on a number of similarities. For instance, if you are looking to connect with other moms of toddlers or special needs children, edit your profile so the algorithm can work its magic.
A really great way to help break the ice and form meaningful connections with moms who have a common ground!
This is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to find a mom tribe online or virtual support from moms facing similar struggles.
You can do a quick Google search with the [Insert activity here] + mommy group + your town or go straight to the mother of groups, Facebook for a local tribe. There you can just search for “[Insert name of town] Moms“. Trust me you’ll have plenty of options.
Need a general tribe of supportive moms facing a particular issue? Type it and choose the best fit.
NOTE: We have a NEW intimate tribe for breastfeeding mothers to get support and answers as well as another recently started for moms of babies and toddlers looking to survive the craziness – would love to have you and see what has worked for you!
While many of these won’t be local groups, they do consist of hundreds or even thousands of supportive moms that can help answer questions and share tips virtually. Sometimes that is just what we need as we try to survive this early motherhood journey.
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.