Making mom friends is hard, right? And awkward. Super awkward. But before I start on that, let me just acknowledge this: it's not as hard as making friends as a single adult in a new town. That's the absolute worst. But now I'm a mom and this is a mom blog so we're talking about mom friends today.
We really, really need mom friends. And by mom friends I don't mean "friends who are moms", I mean "people who are your friends when you are a mom". These little people are hard, and not great conversationalists. You can only have so many conversations that go "Mama! Mama!! Maaaaamaaa!! Listen to my joke! Why did the cow cross the road? Because butts!!" or enjoy so many gourmet meals of ketchup eaten with a spoon. You can't be expected to maintain creative excellence on hour 3 of a "puppet show" that consists of a teddy bear peeking around the corner or the 64th reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So somehow you have to find your girls. Your people. Your MNO/play date/text details of your child's latest tantrum friends. Here are my top 4 tips:
#1 - Join up and get involved
Getting involved with MOPS and small groups at my church have been lifesavers for me - shout out to my MOPS girls who make up 85% of this article's page views! There are plenty of options if you look hard enough: play date/meet-up groups, workout groups, neighborhood book clubs or Bunco groups, Winchester-moms activities, etc. At the bottom of this blog, I've included some information about a few groups to get you started. It's not going to be easy - you're going to have to embrace small talk, icebreakers, and walking into places where you don't know anyone. It is really, really hard to get your small army presentable, packed, and out the door to get places on time. It's possible that you're going to walk into a room, look around, and think, Man. Everyone here has it together and knows each other. They already have friends. I'm just going to slowly back out the door and no one will ever know I was here. Maybe you won't. Maybe that's just me. But if you do, know that those other women are there for the same reason you are - they are desperate for adult conversation with someone who understands how exhausting it is to put someone in time out 18 times a day. They're too tired to judge you and they do want to meet you. Because you rock, mama.
It's hard, and it takes a lot of time, but it's worth it because other moms are not going to show up at your house, knock on your door, and say, "Do you want to be friends?" They should, I know. That would be AMAZING. But, sad to say, it hardly ever happens.
*Pro Tip - If your goal is "know as many people around town as possible", then join every group you find and juggle your schedule to get to as many events as you can. If your goal is "make real, actual friends that can come over when your house is messy and you can use as your child's emergency contact", pick one or two groups and get as involved as you can without being overwhelmed.
#2 - Be Awkward. Go First.
We all know it's awkward, so why are you trying to act so smooth? It's such a relief when someone just says it. One time I was at a 4 year old's birthday and I had to say to the mom, WHOSE HOUSE I WAS STANDING IN, "I'm sorry - I don't know your name" because I only knew her as "Jimmy's mom" from preschool. But then she laughed and said, "Oh thank goodness you said that! I don't know yours either!" and we were able to joke about how weird it was getting to know other moms at preschool drop-off. Unless you actually are cool and smooth (in which case, come teach me please), just go ahead and make a joke about it. Say, "Would it be weird if I asked for your number? I really need someone I can meet at this playground sometimes to get these kids out of the house!" A bonus to this method is if you are putting someone's number in your phone, you can ask them to spell their name for you. Just in case you forgot it as soon as she said it, which I've heard happens to some people.
#3 - Use Your Kids
I mean, come on. One of the great benefits of kids is we can use them as excuses, right? We use them to get out of places we don't want to go, we blame them for our messy houses, we say we have "mom brain" when we forget things... So there's no reason we can't use them to make friends. If you find someone you'd like to get to know a little better, it's perfectly acceptable to convince your kids they'd like to have
her kids over for a play date, and then say, "Suzy is just insistent that Bobbi Jo come over for a play date. Could we set something up?" This only works for the preschool and under crowd, however, when moms stay for play dates. Once they get older, you have to wrangle yourself into the same PTO committees or convince your kid to join the same sports teams to orchestrate meetings.
#4 - Say yes and show up.
Technically we are grown-ups, but emotionally we're still teenagers. We desperately want to be part of the cool mom crowd and be at the hip play dates. We are desperate for people to think our mom game is on fleek*. So when someone suggests we get together, FOMO kicks in. (That's Fear Of Missing Out for those who aren't in the loop) We think, What if I hang out with her and she turns out to not be as cool as I think and then some cooler moms hang out at the same time and it's on Facebook and I wasn't there so I won't be included in the next Coffee and Crafts play date? So we say something like, "I think that's ok. I'll have to see what that day looks like. Can we talk next week?"
This is not cool, guys. It is hard enough to make mom-friend plans for legit reasons. Kids get sick (side note: don't bring sick kids to a play date!), nap schedules rule our days, we have to work around school drop-offs and pick-ups, weather interferes, etc, etc, etc. So if someone puts herself out there, get out your calendar and make a date. Then show up (unless your kids are sick). You'll be glad you did. Next time, you put yourself out there and suggest a get together!
If none of these tips work out for you, feel free to come knock on my door and say, "Do you want to be friends?" For sure, I will invite you in, tell you to ignore my mess, offer you a Cherry Coke Zero, ask your name no less than 13 times before I remember it, and be thrilled that you're there.
*In the interest of being awkward and going first, I should tell you that I ran this sentence by a teenager to be sure this was an appropriate use of the word "fleek" because I still don't get it.
Some local ideas to meet other moms
Of course, start with Winchester Moms - check out the social corner, activities, and new Fitness & Health group!
Moms Club of Winchester ,MOPS of Winchester ,MOPS of Front Royal , Fit4Moms is a new workout group starting up soon - workout with your kiddos in their strollers. HIIT Like A Girl - Bring your kids and they can play or workout with you!
When the weather's nice, it's always nice to get out to a playground. In the winter, check out PB&J Club at Jim Barnett in Winchester or Wee Gym in Berryville (If you click on their newsletter - "The Core" and scroll through under Kids you can find the information). Both are indoor open-gym playtimes for the 5 & under crowd. While your kids are running around, go ahead and strike up a conversation with another mom who's hanging out.
Sarah O’Dell spends her days taking care of her four small people (3 boys and 1 spoiled rotten baby girl) and trying to come up with creative responses to “You sure have your hands full!” As an extrovert who spends most of her time at home with little people, she is frequently found on Facebook sharing the details of her less-than-Pinterest-worthy days to make other moms feel a little more normal.