You venture to the park with your sweet little munchkins and plop down on a bench to supervise their playground antics. Out of the corner of your eye you notice another mom near the swings. She has children around the same age as yours. She has the same laid-back mommy style as you (leggings and a shirt accessorized with dirt on the sleeve). She is at the same park, at the same time, as you are. Your mind begins to wander. Your heart skips a beat. You start thinking crazy thoughts. Could this woman be THE ONE? Could she be the lady you’ve been waiting for? The one you’ve imagined going Saturday yard saling with. The one who’ll bring you coffee when you run out? The one who’ll (dare I imagine it?) do playdates with you and your kids?!?!
Could this be the mom friend of your dreams?
Moms Need Friends, Too
When you were a kid, making friends was pretty easy. Play next to someone your age. Share a toy. BOOM. BFF status in less than 5 minutes.
As a mom, things can get a bit more complicated. You stay home most days as not to disrupt naptime (and because parenting in public can be hard #realtalk). When you do actually get out, there’s the whole issue of how to actually approach another mom to begin with. Walking up to a random person and just starting a convo can be hard (and maybe a little awkward). But let’s say you do actually get that far. You see a mom on the playground and chat about how sweet your kids are playing together. What next? Do you ask for her number? Do you offer yours? This feels like a strange dating scenario and the fear of rejection is all too real. How do you go from “playground rendezvous” to “playdate at my house” status? And why isn’t there an app for this yet? (Tinder for Mom Friends would be amazing).
How to Make Mom Friends
Let’s get back to the playground situation. You see a mom. Her kids mesh well with yours. You start a conversation and chat about potty training and your mutual disdain for Caillou. What do you do next? How do you make the first move towards mom BFF status?
Let me first start with what not to do:
Don’t ask for personal information right away
Asking what school her kids go to, what her last name is, or even what her phone number is can be a big turn off. Parents are very cautious (for good reason), so putting her on the spot and asking for personal info right off the bat will likely be a turn-off. Don’t do it. Some better options are as follows:
Ask if she comes here often.
I know, this seems like a classic bad pick-up line, but it actually has potential in this situation. All you have to do is ask the mom if she’s a regular at that location, then make plans to meet up again next week. If asking her directly seems like too bold of a move for you, you can always be a bit more passive and use conversation with your kids to steer the conversation in the right direction. For example, when it’s time to leave the park say something to your kids like, “We’ll be here again tomorrow before lunch, maybe we can see your friends again then?” and wait to see if the potential mom friend is picking up what you’re putting down.
Go on a lunch date
We like to go to the playground before lunch to burn off energy before naps. We usually pack a sack lunch and eat on the picnic benches before heading home, but occasionally I’ll start chatting with a potential mom friend and end up going on a lunch date instead. This is a tricky one, though because if it is nap time the kids might start having pre-nap melt-downs. If you’re going to attempt this be thoughtful and choose something quick and kid-friendly for the best results.
Invite her on a “Group Date” (of sorts)
Are you part of a club, mommy group, walking group, etc.? Ask potential mom friend if she’d like to meet up with you at the next event (“Hey, a few friends and I walk around Jacobson park at 9:30 on Fridays, you’re welcome to join us if you’d like!”). The group environment is less intimidating than asking for a one-on-one playdate commitment. And you are giving her plenty of time/space to think on it without having to make an on-the-spot decision.
Visit different mommy hot spots (don’t just stick to the playground)
I’ll be honest, the playground can be hit and miss when it comes to finding mom friends. Many parents go there to check out and relax (read a book, scroll Pinterest, etc.) while their kids play (no judgement here, that’s a great way to get some time to ourselves!). The problem is there may be no approachable moms to chat it up with. In this situation, try different places around town. Library story time, a local MOPS group, or already established meet-up groups in your area are all great places to start finding friends.
Start your own Mommy Group
This might sound like a really bold move. Maybe it takes your outside your comfort zone a bit. I get it, but hear me out for a minute. This is really one of the best ways to do some “mom friend dating”. The reason is that everyone will be in the same boat as you are, seeking new friendships with kids around the same age as yours. Unlike the playgrounds and storytime, there won’t be any established cliques you need to break through and you won’t feel like the third wheel in an already established group. You are a mom-friend single and ready to mingle!
There are so many moms out there wanting the same thing you do- a friend. Someone who can understand the woes of sleep training, to lament with about never-ending chores, to celebrate with at potty training successes, and so on and so on. You don’t have to do motherhood alone. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Try some of these tips, and maybe even take the bold move of making your own mommy group. Then enjoy yourselves on Saturday morning yard sales and Monday morning Starbucks trips!
Curious about how to start your own AWESOME mommy group? Visit this post where I share tips from my own experiences (living in both a big city and a tiny town).
This post is dedicated to the amazing moms that I get to call my best friends (many whom I met at my first mommy group). You know who you are. Thanks for taking a chance on me and sticking by my side! I love you dearly <3