Mom-ing is Hard: Making Mommy Friends
The hype is REAL when you're pregnant.
"What are you having?"
"Aren't you so excited?"
"I can't wait to meet your baby!"
"What's his/her name going to be?"
"When will I get to meet him/her?"
And when your little one is first born, it seems like everyone and their brother's cousin's auntie's dog wants to invite themselves over, then meet, greet, and put their hands all over your brand spankin' new baby.
The first week after you give birth is a whirlwind. People coming and going, family helping, friends visiting, a constant stream of excitement. Texts, messages, phone calls, all asking to come see, touch and hold your precious new life.
Then all of sudden...
While your friends mean well, they have a tendency to return to their normal, everyday lives as single, or baby-less members of society. Doing all the things.
All the things they used to do with you.
If you're a young momma with childless friends, pioneering the new frontier of motherhood in your social circles, it can be pretty lonely. While you still love your girlfriends, there's just no returning to your former Netflix binges, late night movie and dinner dates, or epic Friends marathon sleepovers.
Once I had Izabella, I realized very quickly that, if I still wanted to have a social life, I was going to have to be very intentional to make time for it. Between breastfeeding every couple hours, changing 100 dirty diapers a week, and trying to find a minute or two to sleep, there was not a lot of time for socializing.
I also knew having some mom friends in the same season of life as me would go a long way, but I had no idea where to start.
Two of my classmates from high school had their first babies within weeks of me, but they were both in Illinois. Now living in Michigan, my feat became all the more difficult.
And to top it all off, I didn't want just any mom friends, of course. It would be nice to hang out with other moms who got me, you know?
If only they had a Tinder app for making mom friends...
One afternoon I was sitting on the couch where I had spent the last three weeks nursing the baby, watching Food Network, and (not) sleeping. I was scrolling through my social media, when I found the Peanut app. It works just like a dating app; fill in your profile info, create a short bio with your interests, and meet other expecting and/or new moms in your area! You could even swipe right and left to wave at moms or pass on them.
However, like Tinder, nine out of ten times this app proved to be effective in theory, but ineffective in result. Most days I would log on to see messages days after receiving them, reply, then get no response. I chatted with a few moms on the app, but never met them. I did meet up with one expecting mom when Izzy was about eight weeks old, then never saw her again.
And even when I did make a coffee date, casual brunch, or plans to walk the mall with another momma, I always found an excuse not to go.
While these apps didn't produce any lasting friendships, I realized what the heart of the issue was for me.
The hardest part of making friends as a young mom isn't finding the people, but finding the courage.
For the first few weeks of your baby's life, he/she will be the most important thing (even though they aren't supposed to be). Your main concern each day, in the very beginning, is learning how to take care of this tiny little human who depends on you for everything. Before you know it, your baby is four months old and you only leave the house to go to work, the grocery store, and pediatrician's office.
Figuring out how to be 'mom' is a process, and slowly you may find that you don't know who you are outside of that. A great group of mommas are the perfect remedy to mommy identity crisis.
So here are a three practical ways you can start making friends as a new mom:
1. Start shopping around while you're expecting.
If you are anything like me, I found myself quite lonely while pregnant, at times. I was fairly new to Michigan, most days I didn't feel very good, and I didn't have a central community of people going through the same season of life as me. As uncomfortable as it may be, get yourself out there early. Social applications such as Peanut, VINA, and Bumble, while not my first choice, can be great tools for getting an idea of who is in your area.
2. Get plugged in to a church small group, book club, or start your own.
A core community of people you trust can get you pointed in the right direction. I was part of a church young adult group up until I got pregnant, and because of that I got connected to other moms my age. Don't underestimate the power of mutual friends and social circles.
If you are not currently plugged in to a small group of some sort, start your own. Not only will it help you, but it will help others, too. Think about how much you're struggling to connect, and then think about all of the other moms that are inevitably in the same boat as you. Take a risk, open up your home, and invite your neighbors!
3. Say yes, even when you don't feel like it.
With the obvious exceptions of illness, work, and family commitment, when invited to go out and do things, say yes. I know you're tired. I know you don't feel like. But fight the urge to cancel your plans or say, "I can't." Just go. It might go well, it might not. But be intentional about making this a season of saying "yes." You never know what lifelong friendships could come from it!
How have YOU made lasting friendships as a new mother?