Motherhood is a blink and you’ll miss the whirlwind of new experiences and milestones. Armed with dozens of baby manuals and regular meetings with my old friend Google, I have so far managed to navigate my way through the sleepless nights, the torment of teething and the unholy mess that is weaning. But what I certainly wasn’t prepared for was the unexpected loneliness that came with being a stay at home mom in a new city.
Making New Friends as a Transplant
Perhaps like me you have recently relocated to the city or moved to a new neighborhood. Or you’re a mom who’s decided to stay home to raise your baby or have a partner who works long hours and weekends. Or maybe your mom bestie has moved to a mansion in the suburbs leaving you in your tiny downtown apartment with no coffee buddy to listen to your woes. Whatever your situation, chances are you’ll have felt the unwelcome pangs of loneliness as you adjust to your new and all-consuming baby world.
I moved to DC just over three months ago with my husband and 1 year old daughter. I’ve moved before, four times in the last 18 months to be precise! So I know from experience how important it is to make friends and build yourself a support network to keep loneliness and the feelings of isolation at bay. It’s not easy! Making friends is hard enough but add a baby plus their restrictive nap routines and it can feel like an impossible task just to get out of the house.
Determined not to spend my days stuck between four walls, I’ve made it my mission to make some mom friends. Besides that, my daughter gets seriously bored of my face.
My Top 3 Tips for Making New Mom Friends
Find Your Local Park
..and visit it, a lot.
As silly as it sounds, I sometimes find visiting the park with my daughter a little bit intimidating. Everyone seems to have a park buddy already! Persevere and I promise you will find someone in the same shoes. The great thing about having a little one in tow is how easy it is to start a conversation with a random stranger; break yourself in gently with ‘what age is your kid?’ and take it from there. Visit around the same time on your park days and you’ll start to see familiar faces. You might not make a friend for life, but even a short conversation with another mom can make an otherwise dull day seem a little brighter. The park is a great resource of local mom knowledge! Oh, and your kid will love you for it.
Mom Tinder for New Friends
Yes, it’s really a thing. If approaching strangers in the park isn’t your cup of tea, maybe mom dating is! Within days of arriving I signed up to the app Peanut. Making a profile was easy, even for a technophobe like me. Pick three badges to show the world your supermom personality. I spent forever choosing – am I ‘sleep deprived’ (always), a ‘fashion killa’ (never) or ‘always on vacay’ (I wish)? Swipe up for moms you have something in common with, say a kid the same age, living in the same area, or in my case a shared love of sauvignon blanc.
I’ve had two mom dates so far. Both times, I was ridiculously nervous and prayed they would understand my equally ridiculous accent! And both times I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour with two very different but equally wonderful moms – with kids as your common ground there’s less chance of awkward silences. I scored two second dates–maybe it was the new earrings..!
My tip for success is to be proactive. This is modern mom dating after all – don’t wait to be asked on a date, you do the asking.
Scout Out Local Mom and Baby Classes
Fancy making a racket at a musical sing along? Watching your baby perfect the downward dog at Baby Yoga? Seriously messy Arts and Crafts? Details of whatever floats your boat can be found through Facebook, meetup.com or your neighborhood listserv. Local churches often host classes too (and babysitting on a Sunday, if church is your thing). Our favorite so far is the weekly Story Time offered by DC Public Libraries.
Once you find a class you love and works with your routine, stick with it for a weekly boost of mom morale from the same friendly faces.
Don’t feel the need to try everything at once. Pick just one new experience a week and before long you’ll have network of familiar faces which often leads to friendship. And be kind to yourself – we all need pajama days!
Oh and if you stumble across a lady with a strange Irish accent in a playpark, that’s probably me. So please come say hi. Even better, invite me for wine!
Guest Post from Laura
Laura is originally from a beautiful island town in Northern Ireland. She moved to the bright lights of London for university then spent her 20s scrambling up the corporate ladder working in Finance. She recently qualified as a lawyer, however the arrival of her daughter and relocation to DC has created a much-welcomed pause in her plans to practice law. Laura is so far having a wonderful time mothering Georgia (20 months) and exploring this vibrant city. You’ll find us hanging out in the playpark, drinking coffee in the library or running Parkrun on Saturday morning.