I thought I was done with the dating world when I got married, but then I became a mom and it started all over again—I needed to make mom friends. I became a stay-at-home mom when I had my baby, so it wasn’t like I was going to be meeting anyone at work. I wanted friends who could relate to my life and would ignore the spit-up stains on my clothes.
I soon realized that finding other mom friends can be hard. Not only is it difficult to find another mom that you can talk to about nap time, potty training, and pregnancy, but to me it felt nearly impossible to find a mom you can talk to about your fears, dreams, and struggles. It feels like dating all over again, but in the mom world, where it’s even tougher to find a connection since you’re usually having conversations in between chasing kids.
I remember asking my sister how to ask for another mom’s number and when to ask them for a playdate. I mean, you can’t come right out and say, “Hey, you look totally normal and our babies are the same age. What’s your number? Do you want to come over? Actually, let’s just be best friends.” I felt so strange watching moms at the park with kids about the same age as mine. I’d slowly send my child in their direction and strike up a conversation about how cute their kid was. If all went well then we’d exchange numbers, but most of the time I would get too shy and it would end with an, “It was nice to meet you.”
The first time I actually had the guts to ask another mom for her number, I felt like I had just told someone I had a crush on them. Even more intimidating was figuring out how to sound fun, cool, and friendly when sending her a text for the first time. After having our first playdate I was still nervous, wondering if she had as much fun as I did. I felt like I was in middle school again trying to navigate this new territory. Fortunately, we became friends.
Since then, I’ve learned quite a bit about mom-dating. I now have two children–a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’ve spent some time in the field and here is what I’ve learned:
1. You must leave the house.
It can be daunting to pack up the kids, the diapers, the lunches, the extra outfits, and make it out of the door before naptime, but try to make it happen. You will feel better getting outside with your kids and you’ll create opportunities to meet other moms.
2. Make the first move.
It takes a lot of courage to be the first person to say something at the park, but just do it! Chances are, she was figuring out what to say in order to spark a conversation with you. It can be scary, but it will be worth it in the end.
3. Be real.
When I meet a mom who says she is on the verge of losing her mind because her baby won’t stop crying, I feel like I can be honest with her about my struggles too. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; you might just make a new best friend.
4. Ask about local groups.
I’ve moved three times in the three years I’ve been a mom, and one of the most effective ways I found to make friends is by asking someone about their friends. Ask other moms about local playgroups, book clubs, Power of Moms Learning Circles, MOPS groups (Mothers of Preschoolers), etc. This simple trick has led me to meet many new and wonderful friends.
5. Ask for contact information.
This has been the absolute hardest step for me, but it is essential in continuing the relationship. Just see how the conversation is going and determine if you want to get together later on. If you do, don’t be afraid to ask for her number. She is more than likely wanting to ask you the same thing.
6. Spend time together without kids.
The mom friends that I have the strongest relationships with are the ones I’ve spent time with without children. Go to lunch, get a pedicure, or set up a craft night. Create a setting where you can get to know each other on a deeper level.
Being a mom can feel very lonely and isolating at times, so it’s encouraging to remember that we’re all on this journey together. It makes a world of difference when you remember that most all moms feel or have felt this way, which can make mom-dating just a little less scary.
QUESTION: How have you made mom friends in the past? How have you been able to connect on a deeper level?
CHALLENGE: Next time you see a mother at the park, walk up to her and start a conversation. If you’ve already identified a mom that you’re interested in getting to know better, give her a call and get something on the calendar.
Edited by Deborah Nash and Nollie Haws.
Image provided by the author.