Raising kids is hard work. (I think I’ve started a few other posts with this strong opening – but it’s so true!) Making time for friends (or making friends in general) while raising those afore-mentioned children can be more hassle than it’s worth. Okay, well that’s not really true – making time for yourself, alone or with friends, is super important to keep your own life in balance. But trying to schedule time with other moms outside of your already busy working parent life can often feel like a herculean effort.
I don’t have any mom friends who I visit with my kids for “playdates.” I know a lot of moms, but I can’t get past the “Hello’s” at school or dance class. And then there’s the friends I had before I was a mom (which was a lifetime ago, by the way.) Some of them are still around, and if we run into each other it’s always great to catch up, but I never want to be the needy one asking “do you want to hang out?” or saying those cliché things like “We should get the kids together soon!” We all know if we haven’t done that in the last 5 years, we’re not likely to start doing it now.
So how do I find those elusive “mom friends” or create a “mom tribe” when I don’t even know what to say to my BFFs from years ago? Making friends is so much different now that I literally have to schedule every day of my week. And now that I’m blogging too I have even less time – though my husband would say “That’s your choice” and he wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s because I feel so busy now that I’m realizing I could use some lady friends, or even some couple friends, to unwind with once in a while.
I saw a super fun post (and I shared it on my FB page if you’d like to see it!) by Cat & Nat about Mom Dates. That post got me thinking about how I can get past my “fear” of being the Needy Mom (even though I am!) and actually find, and connect with, other moms. You should go read it. It’s amazingly accurate!
I’ve come up with a few tips for making friends when you’re already well into momlife.
- Put yourself out there. I know this is a scary idea. I really, really struggle with this. But when you’re picking up the kids from afterschool care, chat up that other mom who sometimes yells at her kids to hurry up, just like you do. Or start by telling another mom you really like her shirt/earrings/shoes/whatever (as long as you really do like it!) Then the next time you see her, do the same. If she seems friendly, go ahead and tell her you’re dying to go out for coffee (wine) without your kids some evening and see what she says. Maybe you’ll hit it off, and maybe not, but every conversation is good practice!
- Attend some local mom events. This is another thing I really, really, really don’t like to do by myself. I’m actually at an age where I feel like I’m an Old Mom compared to the folks who gather at these “mom events.” Emma is almost 9 now and so many of the new, hip moms who attend events created on Facebook still have babies in strollers. I feel like I don’t fit in. My goal by the end of the year is to actually go to an event hosted by a group called The Real Moms of YGK. They sound like a bunch of fun people, but they are all still in the baby stages of their families. I’m nervous to go without some moral support!
- Do something “just for you.” For me it’s a dance class. While I haven’t connected with many other moms, I do have a community of people that I definitely know, and would stop and say hi to outside of class. It’s a small step on the road to making friends, even if they’re not mom friends. And this could literally be anything you enjoy. Join a book club, take a class of any sort, join a club (I would love to get more into photography, but I can’t create time so that’s not going to happen any time soon…) – the options for meeting people are endless.
- Coworkers can make great friends! I am blessed with a fabulous workplace, and I enjoy the many great personalities who with work me. I do occasionally make after-work dates with some of my co-worker friends. I’m never sure if people want to spend an evening with me after spending 4 days with me as well. But it’s usually a fantastic time, and it’s people I’m very comfortable with, so there’s much less awkward “first date” feelings there!
I really hate that making friends is just as stressful as dating. I’ve been married 10 years now so I’m WAY out of the “how to meet new people” loop. Even with the moms and kids at school, I meet lots of people but I need help moving past the “Hi, howareyas” that really are meaningless. And I find moms are already in their cliques (just like in highschool) and I don’t quite fit into any of them.
How do you get past hellos and into “Call me!” (or is it all “text me!” now – I’m so old) territory with new friends? I need some more tips here! Share your infinite wisdom in the comments, please. And if you live close to me, let’s connect! It may take us 3 days of emailing to coordinate schedules, but I really want to have some mom friends to
drink visit with once in a while!