By Guest Blogger Anna Keller
Here’s a “duh” statement: Becoming a parent brings big lifestyle and priority changes.
But here’s another, equally true statement: Becoming a parent doesn’t change who you are*.
*Yes, of course it changes you in many ways. But what I mean is the person you are – your interests, your personality, the things that make you feel most alive – are still there even when you become a parent.
And so these things can be at odds with one another: You’ve entered this new category or club by having a child, and yet you want much of yourself to stay intact. But you’ll find yourself involved in new things, such as daycare drop off or splash pad playing or stay-at-home parenting, and with that often comes a desire to build a new community around this reality. What’s the best way to do that and remain true to yourself in the process? In short, how do you go about creating what will hopefully be long-term friendships with other moms?
It can be hard to know where to start (and we’ll get into good places to make mom friends), but here’s a good angle to keep in mind during the process: Try to view mothers as women first and moms second.
What that means is just because someone’s a mom, too, doesn’t mean she’s going to be your new bestie. Find someone you connect with on a bigger level and the rest will often fall into place. Yes, you want someone who can commiserate with you about the challenges of teething or the lack of sleep a baby brings, but the friendship will ultimately bring you so much more meaning if it’s built on something greater than just the shared parenting experiences.
Here’s a way to test that relationship: Try to get some kid-free hangout time in quickly. Without kids around as a buffer and distraction, you’ll be able to really focus on one another more and it will be more apparent more quickly whether you’re going to connect in a bigger way. (I know – kid-free time can be hard to come by, but for those women you “have a feeling about,” try to make it happen. Nap time can definitely work for this, too!) Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just because you want a new friend. You want someone you can be yourself around, after all!
Okay, so now WHERE do you connect with these fellow moms? You know, those women out there just destined to become your new besties? It’s definitely hard to know where to start, but here are a few starting points:
- Start during pregnancy: This is tricky if you’re already a parent, but outlets like birth classes or prenatal yoga classes can be a perfect way to connect with women at the same point as you when it comes to parenting.
- Local mom Facebook groups: These can be a great place to connect with fellow mamas in your area and get a feel for who you might have things in common with. Make sure you don’t let these relationships linger too long as digital-only, though. Take initiative and set up time to meet up for a playdate and let things go from there.
- Spend time outside. What fellow mamas live in your neighborhood who you might get to know better? It’s easy to get into a routine of coming home and shutting your garage door, quickly moving into the next phase of your day, but take some time to hang outside and see who you meet as a result.
- Chat with moms at childcare locations. Whether your child goes to day care or a mom’s morning out type of program, if you’re often dropping your kiddo off at a childcare location spend some time feeling out the other parents. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with them and potentially set up time to socialize outside of the childcare venue.
- Take a look around your office. If you’re a working mom, reach out to other mamas at your office. Grab lunch or coffee and get to know them a bit better to see if there’s more of a connection there than just a colleague-based one.
It can be hard to make mom friends, but keep at it and don’t take it personally when things don’t work out. (It’s so much like dating in that regard!) Stay positive and continue to take initiative in situations where you find yourself among other mothers, and soon you’ll be surrounded by your very own mom tribe.
In the meantime? Stay strong, Mama. You can do this!
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Anna Keller is a wife, mama, marketer, blogger, Pure Barre teacher, freelance writer, and Beautycounter consultant. (She wears lots of hats, but the theme of connection is what links all these roles together for her.) Anna is an Atlanta native, but she and her husband, Kevin, moved to the Triad in 2011 and haven’t looked back. They love being part of this community, and are so thankful to be able to raise their daughter, Maggie, here. You can see other blogs she has written for TMoM here. Follow along with Anna on her blog — curiouser-and-curiouser.com — or via social media. She’s on Instagram at @curiouserandcuriouserblog, or you can connect with her on Facebook at facebook/com/