Building Your Village: Ways to Make Mom Friends
Our post today is from Aili Smith, a Bright Horizons employee and first-time mom to baby, Cab:
I am just going to put it out there… finding “mom friends” was not something I was going to take a back seat on. The closer I got to actually giving birth and being a mom, the more I started to daydream about great playdates and chats over coffee with my mom friends. Now that my little man is over the 6 month mark (how did that happen so fast?!), I can confidently say, making friends in your thirties is very different than in your twenties!
I recently read an article that equated making mom friends to dating. You have the awkward initial hellos, the small chat, which hopefully leads to the exchanging of contact information and future “mommy dates.” I don’t know about you, but I exited the dating world nearly 11 years ago, and I am not too excited to get back in, even in the search for mommy friends.
So if you are like me and looking to build, or expand on your “mommy village,” but aren’t sure where to start, here are some places I’ve found helpful in my search:
FINDING SUPPORT: WAYS I’VE ADDED TO MY CIRCLE OF MOM FRIENDS
I am sure that you would have guessed this was on the list. It was the easiest way to find other parents, and moms that are like me. There are a bunch of different ways Facebook can be useful for building your village:
- Facebook Groups – There are groups for all types of parenting styles, formula feeding to breastfeeding, and even groups devoted to the love of one particular baby item or brand. Most of the groups I am a part of are quite active, and, honestly, I find them very useful and supportive as a new mom. The only downside is that since these groups tend to be spread out geographically, you’re probably not going to meet up in person.
- Facebook Meetup Groups – Slightly different than above, these are closed groups; a group admin has to approve your request to join, and they tend to be within a geographical area. These groups are less about general mommy posts and polling each other for advice, and more about making those coffee dates with the kids I was talking about.
- Facebook Friends – This might seem super obvious, but thanks to Facebook, I am in communication with people I haven’t seen in a LONG time; and you know what? A lot of those people have kids now! I have been chattier with some of them now that Cab has been born than in the last five+ years. The people you’re connected to on Facebook are a great place to start building your mom village.
Online Parenting Communities:
Every new parent has at least one of these parent communities’ apps on their phone… I mean who didn’t love to see what size fruit their baby was each week as their pregnancy ticked by? But these communities don’t just stop at birth. I frequently check into these communities, especially on the message boards, if I am looking for larger scale feedback. Recently, in my search for a bigger car, I posted to one of these communities about car seats in a particular vehicle and was inundated with photos, which was super helpful when making this type of purchase.
If you’re looking for an online community to join, I encourage you to swing by the BH Online Community. The postings run the gamut from birth to school-age. It is a great place to “meet” other parents, share parenting successes, or ask others moms and dads when you have run out of ideas!
These are people whom you might interact with on a regular basis, in person. Since I am the first one of my friends to have children, I didn’t have a built-in support network I could tap into. What I did find was that I had friends of friends, who were expecting that I could get in touch with. The mutual connection was super useful and a great ice breaker (no need for bad flashbacks to blind dating here!).
Also, I Googled…a lot. If you read any of my previous posts, you would know that breastfeeding was a struggle for me and my little man. With a bit of internet searching, I found a local hospital that offered a weekly drop-in breastfeeding support group for moms, and you could attend the group even if didn’t give birth at that hospital. This was a lifesaver, not only did it help me with breastfeeding, but it gave me a reason to leave the house once a week, and the opportunity to meet other moms. Win-Win! I still meet up with these ladies on a regular basis, and because of one of them, I was introduced to the Working Moms Support Group I attend twice a month (which is a treat every other Thursday night, for sure!).
The big takeaway I’ve realized: Finding your mom village doesn’t have to be difficult, especially in this digital world. Whether you connect online or in person, having a place to go as a new mom where you can ask questions, vent about your partner, or even just chat, is important…plus who else will help you justify buying a second stroller but another mom who understands that each car needs one?!? (Ahem. Can you tell this is a topic of debate in our house right now?)
And one last thing: The next time you see another mom with the baby item you’re thinking about buying, or their child who looks to be the same age as your little one, go over and say hi, because I am sure that they are hoping that they have the courage to do the same…
I am Aili, a first-time mom and lover of cloth diapers and cute baby fashion. As an avid bargain shopper who will stand in line to snag the right deal, if I’m not searching out an outfit for my little man, you can find me in the home décor. I am excited to share with you all my mishaps and successes as I navigate this thing called parenting.
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