How’s a busy, working mom to make new friends? Let’s face it; by the time you hit your late-twenties, opportunities for making new gal pals become scarcer. Once you’ve popped out a baby (because they just “pop” out so easily, right?), your world changes in more ways than you can imagine. While your big plans for play dates with seasoned mom friends may have provided a sense of security, the realization that sometimes they’re too busy with their own lives may hit harder than you thought.
While it shouldn’t define you, becoming a new mom definitely lends you to straddling the social line in the sand: friends with kids and friends without. What may surprise you is your sudden need for friends who are also new moms.
You’ve heard the advice on how to make new mommy friends: go to the park; sign up for infant classes; and schedule play dates. What about those of us who work full-time? While it’s a great theory, the truth is that most working parents simply don’t have the time to actively seek new friends.
Mid-pregnancy dreams of weekend trips to Disney World and Saturdays at the zoo are quickly replaced by the reality of being an exhausted new parent. You may find yourself spending time off in your P.J.’s where the highlight of your day is taking that shower you’ve been itching for (no pun intended – okay, yes, it was).
So how are you supposed to expand your social horizons? You’re not likely to meet another frazzled mama at the corner of couch and coffee table. If possible, try seeking out soon-to-be new moms while you’re still pregnant. I don’t mean you should lurk in the parking lot of Buy Buy Baby waiting to pounce.
As a new mom who works full-time far from home, it’s been difficult for me to make new friends. Luckily, I made a great one at a newborn care class offered by Brandon Regional Hospital. As it turns out, we live close to each other and our daughters are only a month apart. While we’re both busy with work and family, we make time to get together so the kids can become buddies and so we can maintain our growing friendship (and our taste for margaritas – sans kids, of course).
Find out if the hospital where you plan to deliver offers educational classes for parents. Many OB/GYN offices also provide courses. This way you’ll gain some helpful information and maybe a new friend or two.
Using these classes to meet other couples also means it’s likely you’ll live relatively close to each other. Online communities for new and expecting moms present another potential way to make new friends, especially if they offer local area subgroups.
If you’re post-pregnancy, pay attention when you meet friends of friends. You may find there are more new moms in your extended network than you thought. If you’re shy or have trouble coming up with icebreakers, keep it simple. Ask them about their kids. No parent can resist an opportunity to share about their ankle-biters.
Even though I have other wonderful friends, some with kids and some without, there’s a special bond shared between new moms who are both learning everything for the first time at the same time. Venting to someone about breastfeeding struggles and sleepless nights can sometimes prove more therapeutic when the other person is currently experiencing them, too. She understands and is right there with you.
Another important thing to remember is that you’re forming long-lasting friendships not just for yourself, but for your child, as well. And, if nothing else, remember this: your kids will have plenty of friends down the road whose parents you can’t stand. Why not lay a foundation early on to ensure they’ll have at least one friend whose parents you love?
How did you meet some of your new mom friends? Do you have any suggestions for working moms who are still on the lookout?