A study by Mom Central was released today and brought to light something that my friends from all parts of the country and I lament about often: how hard it is to find good mom friends. One key trend revealed in Media Post “For Moms with young kids, loneliness often occurs when they exit the traditional workforce, leave behind workplace friends, and transition to a new and potentially isolating life with infants and young children without the support of a familiar social structure.”
Another trend reminded me of Betty Draper on Mad Men. “1950s Mom Isolation Redux: Loneliness. Isolation. Lack of support. Sound familiar? Based on a geographic distance from family, deteriorating sources of everyday support, isolation from busy neighbors and unsympathetic co-workers, and perceived lack of support from partners, Moms face a real challenge in emotional satisfaction not seen since the 1950s.” (source: Media Post)
So, how do you forge those connections? The study talks about more moms connecting with friends online, but there is something to be said for meeting a real live Mom friend who lives near you. But finding that Mom Friend can be tricky.
There are many factors that come into play. You have to have at least one child that is the same age, but this only really works if you are both on your first, or there are siblings of a similar age. For example, the great Nursery School Mom that you overheard talking about last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County won’t have time to hang out with you if she has to pick up her first grader at the bus stop. That first grader already made the Mom her friends way back. Similiarly, you’ll find that once you are on your second child, you won’t want to bother with a newbie mom who is on her first baby, nervous as a cat (been there, done that). Different schedules and different priorities do not make a Mommy Match.
On the other hand, you can find a mom you mesh with, but her kid might be a total brat who terrorizes your kid. Then there are cases where children are the same age and the double date turns out to be a very bad Mommy Match, because of different parenting philosophies. Philosophies meaning that you bottle fed your baby formula since Day 1, and the other Mommy is still breastfeeding her 18 month old, while pregnant with the second one. Or, you are fairly Type A with bedtime schedules and the other mom is laissez faire (and this really annoys you). Or maybe your kid has been watching Teletubbies, Little Bear and Caillou just about all of their life, while the other mom would never dream of turning on the TV and ruining her progeny’s chances of getting into Harvard.
Finding another mom to connect can also be intimidating. Bringing us back to high school, you might feel uneasy about the cool Mom’s huge house, Chanel sunglasses and Lexus SUV, while you are still on your starter house, driving a Dodge minivan donning sunnies from Target.
And further complicating matters, there are the Stay at Home Moms, the Work Part-time Moms and the Work Full-Time Moms. Here you can mix things up a bit, but again, the scheduling can be tough, especially for Stay at Home Moms who have to wait for their husbands to get home before going out at night, (but are available most mornings). Even tougher are the Moms who work full-time that can only go out at night and weekends, but feel they should spend time with their husband and/or kids during any moment they are not working. (And how do they have time to make Mom friends when they are at the office, not Gymboree?)
My next post will explore Mommy Dating, how to meet and land your new Mom Friend.