One of my favorite friends, M. and I like to tell the story of how we met. A couple of times, I saw her pushing chubby little 8 month old girl down our street and she would say hello, as I held 4 month E. in the Baby Bjorn. She seemed so friendly, and so did that sweet little baby of hers. We both recall saying to our mothers, “she seems nice” as we passed each other on the sidewalk and sized each other up a few times. Finally, M. made her move, when her daughter was just about to turn two. Of course, we got along famously, but the perfect match was the girls. M’s daughter was E’s first best friend, they had the same gentle temperment and shared a love of Dora, dressing up like Disney Princesses, coloring and playing with Polly Pockets. M. and I had the same sarcastic sense of humor, we both worked part-time and shared the same taste in bad reality TV. And we weren’t afraid to stand up for store clerks when a customer was rude to them. We spent a happy year together until M’s husband’s company transferred him to New Orleans. We Moms are still close, and 4 years later still gauge new mom and kid friends as, “she’s sort of like you or E.”
That’s my cautionary tale not to wait nearly a year to make a friend, because you may lose valuable time together. The years at home with little ones can be lonely, and why not make them more fun?
Here’s some ideas on how to make some Mommy Friends:
- Join a Baby Group as soon as you can get out of the house with your infant. The hospital where you gave birth may have a baby group that is run outside of the hospital. The baby group I joined was moderated by a social worker from the hospital every Tuesday, and moms and infants sat in a circle at a local health club and talked about what their babies were doing that week. Some of my first Mommy Friends were made through that group. We started going to lunch with the babies after the meeting and gradually formed a playgroup, which went on through the next year or so of the babies lives. I may not have had everything in common with the moms, but it was great to get out and talk to other moms. (Most Baby Groups are free of charge and can be found through your town’s services and through non-religious organizations such as Jewish and Family Services. You might also find sources for baby groups through a list serve/baby website. Some Baby Groups cost money, but are well-organized and can be somewhat easy to find (example, Isis Maternity in Boston).
- Organized activities for babies or toddlers. Free: Story Hour at most libraries have a Babies and Books session for really little babies and moms. Many Story Hours at libraries organize craft activities and music for toddlers. Bookstores like Barnes & Noble, as well as independent bookstores like our Blue Bunny in Dedham, MA have weekly or monthly story hours. $$$ Music classes (for babies and up) dance and gymnastics classes (toddlers). National chains such as Gymboree or My Gym offer classes that are a godsend for active toddlers in the winter months.
- List servs, Facebook or Yahoo Groups, Twitter Moms. In Boston, we have a Yahoo! Group for Moms called “Garden Moms” and in San Francisco they have the Berkeley Parents Network. Moms can pose questions to the network on where to find pediatricians or nannies and many have meet up groups at local parks.
The key to meeting Mom friends is to consistently attend classes, baby groups and story hours so you see the same moms and kids over and over and feel comfortable enough to ask that Mom on a playdate. Be brave. You can do it.