Let’s lay it all out there.
Making new mom friends is the worst.
It’s hard. It’s awkward. It’s the actual worst.
Not only do you have to do the responsible adult thing by making sure your children are developmentally in sync to the point they can “play” with each other–used as an incredibly broad term here, as my 11 month-olds idea of playing is pulling someone’s hair then giving them a bear hug and slobbering on their face…
So you have to allow for…whatever that is, but you also have to like the mom of the kid that your kid likes.
So, to all of you mamas on the brink of friendship with the other humans who also grew tiny humans, this guide is for you. Special nod to those of us who struggle with being that creepy, adult-contact deprived mom who wants to spend the next week together after five minutes of chit-chatting about Costco. It’s going to be okay. Let’s walk through this s l o w l y .
Your Socially Awkward Mom’s Guided to Making Friends
1. Don’t just do that weird, mom talk.
You know the kind. Where you nod in the direction of the little gi…no wait, bo–ah. Gender norms are so 1960’s. That kid is wearing a pink top but has a truck in their hand… Not wanting to offend, you simply ask the open-gendered questions with the killer opening line of…
You then proceed to go over those weirdly specific stats that literally nobody on the face of the planet really, truly wants to hear…but you say them anyways. Every. Dang. Time.
Little Suzy may poop four times a day. She may be eating solids. She may be walking and talking. She may have a lovey named Sid that she carries around 24/7. But that’s not what you need to know if you’re trying to make a new mom friend.
That’s not what you should base this new relationship on.
Skip the pediatrician-esque interview about how much they weigh and how long they nap for. Cut that junk out, now. Go for the gold, mama, and break the ice with one of the following:
— So, do you get out often for playdates or day trips?
— Do you know of any great toddler-friendly activities going on in our area this summer? We’re looking to fill our schedule!
— Do you currently have him/her in daycare? We’re always looking for new friends to hang out with during the week!
Is it kind of forward? Yup. Is that mombie across from you in Target probably in desperate need of adult conversation and willing to roll the dice with you? Yup. Is it worth the gamble of spending one, maybe two hours together at some point in the foreseeable future? Yup.
2. Don’t just make friends with moms who do things the way you do them.
It might sound great at first. Breastfeeding moms will understand you better, will want to hang out at places that are nursing friendly, etc. Or maybe the mom with 2 under 2 doesn’t seem like a good fit, because you just have the toddler and she has a whole second human to take care of. Or maybe you’re a working mom. Maybe you’re home 24/7. Or maybe you’re just not a crunchy mama and you don’t want any of that organic, almond milk, essential oils on the baby kind of life.
That’s fine. You don’t have to do the same stuff to enjoy the same activities.
You’re not marrying this person, you’re just trying to be in the trenches of motherhood with them. We all have our own methods of survival down here, and honestly, you might learn something. Here at ForEveryMom, we call this spirit of celebration Momraderie, because we think us mamas should stick together regardless of their personal parenting preferences.
3. Just be honest.
Are you tired? Tell her you’re tired. Are you missing work? Share that, too. Is your kid in a phase that makes you want to rip your hair out and burn the Wonder Weeks book? Let it out. Level the playing field and remember, every mama has her own struggle, and every mama also has her own areas of victory. Maybe there’s some wisdom there that can be shared, and if not, you can at least sit in the poop-filled mess, together and share in the countdown until bedtime, AKA, every mamas happy hour.
4. Don’t do the judgmental mom thing.
Ohhhh you know the thing. Don’t place the weight of your personal expectations onto her motherhood journey. Unless their kid is in some kind of actual danger, leave it be, and celebrate the differences you have in parenting styles. So what if they cosleep? So what if they bottle feed? So what if they homeschool, private school, unschool, or public school? Let them do their thing, and join them for the fun stuff.
5. Put something on the calendar right away, or else.
You moms know. How many open-ended coffee invitations did you accept on maternity leave? How many mom friends do you see on Sundays and say “We’ll get together soon!” and then you blink and your kids are literally in school by the time you connect again? Yeah. Don’t do that. Whip out your phone, seriously look at your availability, and carve out time to invest into that new friendship.
6. Do the mom, texting, funny quotes thing.
If you have their number and you want to remind them you exist, but don’t want to be the creep that texts at 1:45AM (the time you finally have a minute to think straight) just remember, it’s hard to go wrong with a good wine joke, sleep deprivation joke, or confession about how many times your kid ate chicken nuggets this week (four, if you’re wondering). Thanks to the internet, you don’t even have to be funny. You just have to share funny things and both laugh at them.
And before you know it, boom. You’ve got something to laugh about together at your playdate that’s in the calendar for next Monday at 10:00AM. Because you asked. And planned. And made a new friend.