How to Make Mom Friends

Being a new mom can be lonely. Literally one minute you’re not a mom and the next you have this living thing that you have to feed and care for and keep alive — all while your hormones fluctuate wildly and the number of hours you sleep plummets. Then, a few weeks after your baby is born, your partner heads back to work, family members clear out, and you’re left alone in your home for eight-hour stretches at a time (or more) with a tiny creature who communicates by screaming.

It’s time to make mom friends.

How to make mom friends: Seven practical tips from BTDT moms to help you move past your comfort zone, strike up conversations and get to know other moms.

Here’s the great news: Becoming a mom is a rare point in our adult lives when people who are otherwise settled are ready and willing (and maybe a little desperate) to make new connections. All new moms need mom friends, and nothing bonds two sleep-deprived women faster than an intense discussion about feeding schedules and birth stories.

And yet, it can be hard to figure out how to make mom friends and daunting to push past your social comfort zone. But it’s worth the effort — mom friends help us stay sane and balanced during the ups and downs of raising children. They give you an outlet to discuss everything from swaddling to potty training to preschool and beyond. They say, “You’re a good mom,” when you need to hear it most. And they pass along wisdom and tips for making life more manageable (or they hang out with you in the chaos).

How to Make Mom Friends: 7 Practical Tips from Moms

To put together these “how to make mom friends” tips, I reached out to some IRL mom friends as well as a few of my favorite mom bloggers. I asked them how they make mom friends — in different stages of parenthood, when they’ve made a major move, or just when they feel like they need to expand their network. Several moms likened it to dating. A few of us had good conversations about the importance of connecting with other moms as a way to start to feel part of a larger community. I have also included my own thoughts and experiences. So whether you’re a brand new mom or you have older children, here are a few tips on how to make mom friends.

Tip 1: Join a group.

Groups for moms are readily available — online, offline and (likely) in your neighborhood.

If you’re pregnant or have a young child and are looking to connect online, Babycenter and The Bump are good places to start. They have online groups dedicated to every stage of pregnancy and early parenthood, as well as local groups.

My number one tip for making mom friends is to join groups! Online groups work especially well. I joined due date groups for both of my kids while pregnant. While the groups are online, there are several local moms that I have since met and established offline relationships with as well. These groups are a great source of support through pregnancy and all of your baby’s milestones and they are always available 24/7! I also join local Meetup groups in my neighborhood, which are great for getting out of the house, having play dates for my kids, and meeting other mom friends!”

Jen of Breastfeeding Needs

You can also find local mom groups on Facebook. Several communities set up private Facebook groups where you can ask for advice, sell or buy baby items, and get to know other moms in your area. Informal, on-the-fly playdates often arise from these groups. Consider posting that you’re heading to the neighborhood park once other moms have a sense of who you are. You might end up with a companion or two.

Meetup is a hotbed of moms groups. Many cities and neighborhoods have active Meetup.com groups for moms with young kids. Can’t find one in your neighborhood? Most groups welcome moms from surrounding areas, so check out nearby towns to see if there’s an active group. These groups host tons of activities, playdates, and even moms nights outs, and people will expect and be open to newbies showing up.

Some communities have larger groups and forums separate of Facebook or Meetup.com. For example, Chicago has the Neighborhood Parents Network, which includes online forums, events, resources, and more. Bump Club and Beyond is active in a handful of cities. Google or ask around to find out if there’s a local group you should be aware of.

If an already-tight-knit local moms group feels intimidating, how about checking out a group that coincides with another interest of yours? That will give you obvious common ground with other moms as well as an activity to focus on while you get comfortable.

I’ve met friends through Fit4Mom. Fit4Mom has Stroller Strides classes (a stroller fitness program) that caters primarily to moms who stay at home, but they also have moms-only fitness classes in the evenings and on weekends, and they host playdates and moms nights out. Mommy and me yoga or infant massage classes are options for moms with babies under six months. Or perhaps you’ve found a passion for (or just want to learn more about) a specific parenting topic. Babywearing International has chapters in several states, and so does La Leche League.

Don’t forget, your hospital likely has a group for new moms (and often has a lactation consultant attend them, so you can ask your breastfeeding questions, too). If you can’t find information online, call — hospital websites can be cumbersome. And if the hospital where you gave birth doesn’t have a group, check others nearby — they likely don’t require you to be a patient.

Join a group where you will meet other moms. My hospital had a postnatal class I went to for four weeks after my baby was born, and that’s where I met a few of my closest mom friends. And don’t be afraid to stalk them on Facebook. I did that with a woman I thought would be a good friend after I only met her once. It felt so strange, but she was grateful I looked her up and sharing on Facebook together really helped us solidify our friendship. I felt awkward for a few minutes as I searched her name initially, but it paid off sooooo much in creating a now close, dear mommy friend.”

Jennifer of A Splendid Messy Life

Tip 2: Put yourself out there.

This is easier said than done — I realize that. But I look at this in two ways: 1) You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making the first move with another mom; and 2) Your desire to make mom friends is not unique. I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but if you’re looking to make friends, chances are that the mom you see at the park or Target or music class is wanting to connect as well and feels similarly shy about reaching out. She’ll likely appreciate you striking up a conversation, asking for her number, or suggesting you connect via Facebook.

Two of my good mom friends have moved across the country with their young children. Understanding that you have to push past your comfort zone if you want to meet people becomes even more critical if you’re new in town.

After moving to Tucson a year ago and knowing no one, I was on a serious hunt for friends. Not just for me, but my daughter, too. And after being a reporter for 10 plus years, I have no problem starting conversations with strangers — whether they like it or not. I honestly remember getting gas one day and thinking “that woman’s daughter looks about Ellie’s age. Maybe I should follow her and see if she lives near me.” Hello crazy stalker lady! Ultimately, I have found the best way to make mom friends is by enrolling your child in some sort of activity. I’ve met some really wonderful ladies through Ellie’s school and her gymnastics class. All the moms instantly have something in common — we’re all dealing with the joys and horrors of raising a 3-year-old. Ellie’s teacher was really wonderful and helped make an introduction to a mom she thought I’d hit it off with, and we totally did. So don’t fear a little match-making. And the gymnastics class has the added benefit of being hands-off for moms, so we get in some quality chat time while waving to our kiddos through the glass windows.

Gena, Mommy Sanest contributor and freelance journalist

Be more assertive than you might normally be. We lived in three different places before my daughter was 18 months old. By that time I’d figured out that a casual meeting at the park or library could turn into a friend, especially if you have similar-aged children and live nearby. But you have to capitalize on the situation. Three months after I’d moved to our current home, I was walking my dog with my daughter and we happened across a family sitting outside their house. Their daughter looked to be about the same age, so I stopped to talk to them. It turned out there was only a one month age difference and we lived less than a half mile away. We exchanged numbers and we’ve now had several play dates. I’m not sure I would have run into her again by chance (soon after that the weather turned cold), so it was important that we exchanged numbers at that first meeting. I’m not that aggressive by nature, so it’s taken me a little out of my comfort zone to ask for someone’s number after one meeting. It feels a little like dating!

— Mom to a two-year-old daughter

Here’s another great example: My sister and her husband took a pretty big risk putting themselves out there when they threw my nephew’s second birthday. They’re also relatively new in town, and they decided to invite everyone from our daycare to the birthday party. We go to a home daycare with about 10 kids who are all close in age. I think it was incredibly courageous on their part — it can be nerve racking and I’m sure they worried about the other parents thinking it was weird or not wanting to come (we all worry about this stuff!). Three-quarters of the daycare showed up, and it ended up being a great opportunity to finally formally meet and talk with parents who we had previously only seen in passing. If you’re willing to put the invitation out there, people often will accept.

But you don’t have to be new in town, and striking up conversations with other moms can be casual. Tune into what’s going on around you — you’ll likely notice moms with similarly-aged children seem eager to chat. Have an easy, go-to opening line. When I see a mom whose child is close in age to my daughter, I ask, “How old is your little one?” It’s a good line because it can easily lead to a conversation or just be an off-handed question with a quick answer, but it gives you a chance to see if the other mom is interested in chatting.

I treat finding mommy friends similar to how I sought out my husband. Being open to talking with others when out and about and observing if we had any initial similar traits (a good sense of humor, laid back style of parenting, positive outlook). Oh and the best FREE places to make new mommy friends are the park and library!

Amanda of Queen of the Land of Twigs n’ Berries (a local blog for Chicago-area moms)

Don’t be afraid to approach a fellow mom and ask to exchange numbers! This would be mostly from the stay-at-home mom perspective, but also as a new mom — without work, school, etc., it becomes really hard to be in scenarios where you’re introduced to someone. One of my closest friends right now I met at the grocery store. She had a baby the same age, and thank goodness we approached each other and agreed to exchange numbers.

Nikki of MBA SAHM

Finally, when I went back to work full time after having my daughter, I felt like the opportunity to meet and bond with other new moms was slipping away. With the added pressures of balancing work with raising a baby and maintaining a household, it seemed impossible to make these new relationships a priority. But, I knew that I wanted to strengthen my network of moms who could empathize with my situation. And knowing that time is always at a premium for parents of young children, I decided to make an effort to seek out other new moms at my workplace.

Striking up conversations with other moms at work isn’t typically too far outside of most people’s comfort zones. But when these chats turned into longer conversations, they’d often end with a passing suggestion of lunch. I used to write these offers off as a polite way to exit a pleasant conversation, but I decided to start making good on them. Once I got over the initial hesitation of sending a follow-up email, I became more proactive with my invitations. I ended up with a few regular lunch dates, women I could commiserate with about work and motherhood, and some new allies at my company.

Tip 3: Go where moms go.

Some moms don’t feel comfortable actively seeking out friends or making the first move, but just going where other moms go will often naturally lead to meeting new people, even if your kids are the ones who initially make the connection.

My number one tip for making mommy friends is to go to the park. As a playground regular, you will start to see familiar faces and gradually get to know other families. And as you begin to teach your child how to interact other kids (Hi, what’s your name? Nice to meet you!) — you will end up modeling this behavior for your child, too, as you chat with caregivers. If you remember, bring along an extra set of sand toys or bubbles to share.

Jennifer of Flying Pinwheel Designs (adorable birthday party print-ables)

You’ll inevitably be surrounded by other moms and kiddos at the park, the library, indoor play cafes, and the zoo. You can also sign up your kiddo up for classes (think music, gymnastics, dance, soccer) where you’re guaranteed to be in the same place at the same time with moms of similar-aged children.

Tip 4: Don’t discount Facebook or your current circle of friends.

I was talking to one of my closest friends about her experience making mom friends. Our group of friends from the city has dispersed in every direction around Chicagoland, but we were very lucky that several of our pre-kid friends had children around the same time we did.

Even though we don’t live in the same ‘hood anymore, this has been a tremendous support system — nearly every one of us has had a friend on a similar pregnancy and birth timeline, and we’ve had the mamas who went before us there to provide wisdom and reassurance. Even though it’s nice (and necessary) to have mom friends in close proximity, text messages, Google chats, and phone calls from mom friends you’ve known since before you were a mom are worthwhile too.

Your Facebook network is another great resource when you want to make mom friends. My friend pointed out that she recently reconnected with an old friend when they realized (via Facebook, of course) that they were both pregnant with similar due dates — they suddenly had new common ground after having lost touch for a few years and are now in regular contact. When my sister moved to Illinois, it turned out that one of her Facebook friends, a contact from high school in Ohio, lived 10 minutes away from her new home. Not only that, she has a little boy the same age as my nephew. Finally (last Facebook example, I promise), with the help of Facebook, I realized that one of the women in my Fit4Mom Body Back class knew a very good friend of mine from college. This added connection gave us even more to talk about when we were first getting to know each other.

Tip 5: Keep in touch with the pregnant ladies you meet when you’re a mom-to-be.

When you’re pregnant with first child, you likely have something that you won’t have once that kid gets here: Time. Time to do things like go to prenatal yoga and birth classes and cloth diapering workshops (or whatever), where you’ll meet other moms-to-be.

Get their numbers. Friend them on Facebook. Keep in touch. I met one of my neighborhood mom friends at a prenatal yoga class, and I know plenty of women who put together moms groups with the women they met in birth classes. Even if you’re only going to a couple of hospital classes (rather than a longer-term class dedicated to a particular birthing method, like the Bradley Method or other natural birth class), if you find out a mom-to-be lives nearby, get her information. Send her a text after you both give birth to see how she’s doing, and see if she’s up for sitting around and feeding babies together.

Tip 6: It really is kind of like dating…

And just like you didn’t marry every potential partner you had dinner with, you’re not going to be best friends forever with every mom.

That’s OK. Some of these connections might end up being causal friends (or friends of convenience for a period of time), others might just be acquaintances. But if you’re lucky (and you probably will be), one or two or a maybe even a handful will become friends for the long haul.

All of these connections have value. If you’re putting down roots in a new neighborhood or want to feel more connected to a community, it’s great to know names and recognize friendly faces and be able to say hello at the local farmers market. Keep in mind, people connect differently at different points in their lives — the mom you didn’t click with at the park might become your ally during some PTO drama 10 years from now.

You never know, and it’s worth keeping an open mind, which brings me to…

Tip 7: Let go of preconceived notions.

Two people actually gave me tips that spoke to this idea of not having preconceived notions about other moms, and it really struck a cord with me. Here’s why: When you’re a parent, you have to make choices all the time. And when you’re a new mom, every single choice feels like a major, earth-shattering, sink-or-swim, screw-my-child-up-for-life or raise-a-well-adjusted-kid decision — and moreover, some people (I’m looking at you, Internet) would have us believe that whatever choices you make, you are in direct opposition to parents who are making different choices. It truly doesn’t have to be like this. We’re all in this together, trying to do the best for our kids, our families, and ourselves. Remind yourself when you start to fall down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and judgment (they go hand and hand, and it will happen) that there are lots of right choices — they just aren’t all right for you.

Share a bottle of wine. I’m only half-joking, but the best thing you can do is let your guard down. We moved to a new neighborhood almost two years ago when our son was about 10 months old. It took me a while to make friends because I commute into the city every day, and many of the moms in our neighborhood, who have kids the same age, stay at home. It took me a little while to let my guard down because I assumed the stay-at-home moms judged me for dropping my son off at daycare every day and working. It’s only recently that I started to realize we’re all in the same boat. We all have similar worries, frustrations. We’re moms. So share a bottle of wine, swap stories, laugh, and you’ll start to make a new friend in no time.

— Mom of a toddler

I think that for any mom, it is important to be open to the parenting styles of other moms. Moms can learn a lot from well, moms! Yes it’s nice to surround yourself with moms who are similar, but if you’re a mom, you know that every child is different, making every mom different. I believe that if you go into a relationship open-minded, you are going to get more out of it.

Jules of One Ruud Mom

Do you have other tips on how to make mom friends? Do you find connecting with other moms to be easy, or do you struggle to push past your comfort zone?

Happy, Healthy Holiday Tips

I’ll be taking a break from writing extremely long blogs about blogging today, and instead, I will point you to a post I wrote on the Fit4Mom blog about healthy holiday tips.

Healthy Holiday Tips

This week, I talked to our Fit4Mom instructors who provided some great tips about staying healthy and on track during the holidays, which start in one week with Thanksgiving, take us through the December holidays, and end on January 1 when we all decide we can do better than this.

There are a lot of “stay on track during the holiday” tips out there, but I thought the instructors had some great ideas (numbers 5 and 7 are my favorites), so check it out.

Fit4Mom Body Back: Final Results

For eight-weeks, I tracked my progress through Fit4Mom’s mom’s-only fitness program, Body Back. Never heard of it? You’ve probably heard of Stroller Strides, and that’s their program too.

Here’s the backstory:
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 1.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 2.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 3 + 4.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 5 + 6.

Learn more about Fit4Mom Body Back.

Final results from Fit4Mom Body Back

Assessments

The session began on Tuesday, September 16. During that workout, we weighed in, took measurements, and did fitness assessments. When the session ended on Saturday, we did the same measurements and assessments, which is a great way to see how we had progressed over the past couple months. Like I’ve said before, I know that the weight/fat loss is an important component of the program, but I appreciate that strength and endurance is equally important.

Final Results: Weight + Measurements

We’re weighed every week during Body Back, so I had a pretty good sense of what the scale was going to say, but I was floored by the number of inches I lost. I wear a lot of leggings so I didn’t really notice a difference in my clothes.

Total Pounds lost: -7 lbs
Waist measurement: – 2 inches
Hip measurement: – 2.5 inches
Chest measurement: – 2 inches
Thigh measurement: -1 inch
Total inches lost: -7.5 inches

Final Results: Strength + Endurance

While I gained in every area, I felt like I had some setbacks this session. My knee has been bothering me, and I’ve been taking on quite a bit of extra work, so my workouts outside of the Body Back classes suffered a bit. I’m planning to focus on some strength exercises that should help my knee feel better in the coming weeks.

High Knees (seconds) 58 85
Bicep Curls (# performed in 1 minute) 27 33
Plank (seconds) 43 84
Pushups (on toes; # performed in 1 minute) 8 10
Full Situps (# performed in 1 minute) 19 21
Squats (# performed in 1 minute) 53 55
Side Plank (seconds) 29 38

Overall, I’m really happy with my results, and I’ve already signed up for the holiday mini-session of the Body Back (no weighing in!) to keep me in line over the six weeks.

Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 5 + 6

I’m tracking my progress through Fit4Mom’s eight-week, mom’s-only fitness program, Body Back. Never heard of it? It’s from the same company that offers Stroller Strides.

Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 1.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 2.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 3 + 4.
Learn more about Body Back.

Week 5 + 6 Recap

The excuses continued into week 5 and 6, with a lot of missed workouts due to a busy schedule as well as knee and shin pain, which seems to be getting worse. I ran a 5K on Sunday, October 19, and since then, other than the Body Back classes, I’ve been laying relatively low. Unfortunately, I think a trip to the doctor is going to be inevitable.

Despite knee pain though, October has just been an insanely busy month. I’ve tried my best to focus on eating better especially since I haven’t been able to give my workouts my all. For what it’s worth, the strategy has worked thus far, and albeit slowly, the scale is going in the right direction.

We’re headed into the final weeks of this session’s Body Back program, and with Halloween behind us as of Friday, I’m hoping I can give the last week my all. I’m excited to see the results of the last two months of work!

Workouts Weeks 5 + 6

Monday, October 13: Planned rest day
Tuesday, October 14: Body Back
Wednesday, October 15: Couch to 5K workout
Thursday, October 16: Planned Rest Day
Friday, October 17: Skipped workout
Saturday, October 18: Body Back
Sunday, October 19: Frank Lloyd Wright 5K
Monday, October 20: Planned rest day
Tuesday, October 21: Body Back
Wednesday, October 22: Skipped workout
Thursday, October 23: Couch to 5K workout
Friday, October 24: Skipped workout
Saturday, October 25: Body Back
I know I say this a lot, but Saturday’s park workout was tough. We did a ton of running, including hill repeats, with intermittent strength exercises.

Nutrition

Neither week five nor week six were perfect, but they were both pretty good. I made a solid meal plan for lunches and was able to go two weeks without eating out once during the work week (the weekend is a different story). I had this Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Chili for lunch (I’m experimenting with a few crockpot chili recipes lately), and I also made this Skinnytaste Spinach Lasagna Rolls recipe—an oldie, but goodie, which I had for lunch and dinner a few times. Bonus: The toddler ate it too!

Progress Report

Week 1: -.2
Week 2: -3.1
Week 3: +1.2
Week 4: -1.4
Week 5: -.7
Week 6: -.8
Total: -5 pounds

Follow Lou @ Mommy Sanest’s board Body Back Approved Recipes + Resources on Pinterest.

Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 3 + 4

I’m tracking my progress through Fit4Mom’s eight-week, mom’s-only fitness program, Body Back. Never heard of it? It’s from the same company that offers Stroller Strides.

Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 1.

Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 2.

Learn more about Body Back.

Week 3 + 4 Recap

The last two weeks have had their challenges. During the week of September 29, our family was on vacation in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This past week just got away from me—I’ve taken on a few side projects, had an all-day workshop to attend over the weekend, and October just always seems to be a ridiculously busy month. These two weeks were excuse-filled, but honestly, sometimes I think that’s OK. More on that below.

Workouts Weeks 3 + 4

Monday, September 29: Planned rest day

Tuesday, September 30: Skipped workout

This is the first of many excuses you’ll find in this recap of my workouts, but FWIW, we were traveling to Wisconsin on Tuesday, and time just got away from me. Traveling with a two-year-old is hard, yo.

Wednesday, October 1: Couch to 5K workout

Thursday, October 2: Body Pump group fitness class

The resort where we stayed had a full-on gym, and I took advantage of the perk of free group fitness classes. If you’re not familiar with Body Pump, it’s basically a weight lifting class that hits every major muscle group in 50 minutes.

Friday, October 3: Couch to 5K

Saturday, October 4: Body Back Bootcamp

On Saturday, we headed inside for a circuit workout.

Sunday, October 5: Couch to 5K

Monday, October 6: Planned rest day

Tuesday, October 7: Body Back

Tuesday night’s workout was a tough one. It was another circuit workout, but with a twist. The instructor set up four stations, each with five to six exercises. Two stations were primarily strength exercises; two were cardio. Here’s how it worked: At your first station, you did each exercise listed eight times, then seven times, then six times, then five… you get the picture. Once you finished the station, you moved on to the next one and started the process over.

Wednesday, October 8: Skipped workout

Thursday, October 9: Couch to 5K

Friday, October 10: Skipped workout

Saturday, October 11: Skipped workout

On Saturday, I went to an all-day workshop for creative entrepreneurs–more on that in another post–so I skipped my Body Back class.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

So here’s the thing about excuses: I know I’m not supposed to make them. Here is the other thing about excuses: Sometimes they are legit. Here’s the other other thing about excuses: Sometimes they aren’t legit, but you just need a break, which is legit. I try really hard not to beat myself up over “bad days” or “bad weeks.” In fact, I find that classifying something like a day, week, or even a meal as “bad,” is exactly zero help.

The truth is, I have a lot of priorities, and I do the best I can to juggle them all. But when things start to fall apart, sometimes the best thing I can do is step away for a week, get my life back in order, and start fresh. At this point in my fitness journey, a few missed workouts does not mean that I’ve given up–I’ve been in the habit for long enough now that I know the difference between needing a breather and just being lazy. This past week, I needed a breather to catch up on some other aspects of my life.

Nutrition Week 3+ 4

Week 3: Honestly, it was tough to stay on track while on vacation. I did the best I could, eating breakfasts and lunches in our room, which had a kitchenette. However, I was not vigilant and it shows in my progress report.

Lunch and Snacks at My Desk

Packed lunch: Chicken salad with a low-carb tortilla and lettuce; hummus with chopped cucumber; two mandarins; string cheese.

Week 4: I got back on track and did pretty well this past week. A big help was that our instructor asked us to post our meal plans on Facebook, and I pretty much stuck to mine. I made healthy lunches and snacks all week, including the chicken salad recipe I’ve adapted from the Body Back journal. I’m going to post the recipe here later this week. I also made Cincinnati Turkey Chili, which is one of my staple recipes, and I ate that for dinner several times.

Progress Report

Week 3: +1.2
Week 4: -1.4
Total: -3.3

Follow Lou @ Mommy Sanest’s board Body Back Approved Recipes + Resources on Pinterest.