About six months after my son was born, I felt like I needed a wider network of friends that understood what I was going through. At the time, I only had a few “mom” friends and my childless girlfriends didn’t care what swaddle blanket I was using, or how many times a day my son spit up. I can’t say that I blame them one bit. I felt like a teenager again, wondering how to make new friends.
I vividly remember one day in January when it was freezing cold, and I thought to myself, how am I going to fill my day? We couldn’t walk outside, and I didn’t know any moms in our “up-and-coming” city neighborhood. I dramatically texted one of my friends who is quite the supermom, and she mailed me several free passes to a newborn playgroup. Once I went to the playgroup I was upset with myself that I didn’t go sooner. Now that I’ve pushed myself to try new things, I’d like to share my takeaways with other parents.
Listen to the Veterans
Friends that already have children may act like they know all, and while advice can be overwhelming, I’ve learned to keep an open mind. When my girlfriend pushed me to try a newborn class I felt overwhelmed at the thought of driving my son to a playgroup. Looking back, I should have tried the class sooner because I met a group of mothers who were going through the same challenges I was.
Get Out the Door
The longest days are when my son and I don’t leave the house. We both get stir crazy, and a little bit of fresh air does everyone well. When the weather is bad try these options:
- indoor playground
- story hour at your library
- child-friendly cafe (bring extra toys so other children will come say hi)
Now that nicer weather is here it’s so much easier. Each morning after breakfast I take him for a jog and many afternoons we take walks. If you see other kids on your street, say hi! Just the other day I was walking down my street and a neighbor introduced herself as I walked by her house. We both have boys around the same age, yet we went the whole winter without knowing. Shame. On. Me.
If you meet someone that you feel a great connection with, grab their email or number. I know this sounds like dating, and in a way I suppose it is, but it’s not creepy. Parents are all in the same boat, and we crave adult conversations, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Use The Web
There are many online groups that connect parents based on location. You can join a few and keep an eye out for an activity that works well for you and your child. Personally, I really like a site called, Stay-at-Home-Moms-Meetup.
I hope that you enjoying meeting new parents and building a strong support group. Remind yourself that you do know how to make new friends! We sure as heck need them during these crazy and exciting times.