I massively underestimated how much I would need mum friends when I first became a mother. I already had friends, I had family, I thought that was enough – why would I need a whole new set of friends?
It would take me a good year or so to realise how wrong I was.
Turn back time to 2012 and I had just moved to a new area with an 11-month-old. I hadn’t left any mum friends behind as I had quite enjoyed spending my maternity leave just the two of us. No work, no deadlines, no routine – bliss!
After a while though, spending day-in, day-out with a baby starts to send you a little bit ga-ga, doesn’t it? You suddenly realise that you are far too engrossed in kids tv and haven’t really spoken to another adult in weeks. Because let’s face it, by the time your partner comes home you are far too tired to chat and you don’t have anything to talk about anyway besides how annoying Bing is!
So you decide it is time to get out of the house, time to find some like-minded mums to make your days go by a bit quicker.
Making the decision to make friends
I was a little naive in my attempts to make friends. I think because I hadn’t ever had to try before. Work friends develop over time as you spend every day in the same building, sharing a common interest in your role. Childhood friends happen naturally as you are interested in the same crazes and sit next to each other in class. But making mum friends is something else – something that I was never prepared for.
Having a child does not mean you will like every other parent out there with a child. Who knew?
I assumed that by going along to a baby group that I would automatically be welcomed with open arms and have a bunch of friends in my phonebook by the end of the day.
Off I went home again, empty phonebook and a fear that I would never make any friends at all. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t they want to know me?
How to find your mum village
If you are reading this, I am going to assume that you are looking for a way to find your mum village. Or even just one mum friend that can help drag you away from Bing and get you out and about enjoying life again.
Finding your people can be tough, but my goodness it is so so worth it when you do.
So here are my top tips for finding and making mum friends…
– Get out of the house. I mean it sounds simple but honestly sitting at home will never bring friends to your doorstep. So get dressed, pop on some lippy and get out of the house. Go to the park or to a local group and just get used to being around other people – even if you don’t meet a friend for life, you will at least be around other adults and your little one will have fun!
– Smile. For the longest time, I assumed that every other mum out there was loving life and I was the only misery on the block. Why would they want to be friends with me? They probably have 100’s of friends already. Newsflash – it isn’t true! All mums have their insecurities and we are all in the same boat at the park or at soft play. So if you see another mum on her own, give her a smile. Yours might have been the first she’s seen in a while!
– Take the lead. If you start chatting with a mum, ask her for her number so you can arrange a meetup. And then actually text her to arrange it! If you passively wait around for friendships to form then they won’t – trust me!
– Use apps. Making mum friends is a little like dating, isn’t it? It can be awkward but you need to remember that the other mums are looking for friendship too otherwise they wouldn’t have signed up. Be brave, arrange a meetup and you never know, they could be a friend for life!
– Start online. Sometimes the idea of meeting others in person straight away is too daunting, isn’t it? Social media can make us all feel more connected, help to ease our worries and make us feel less alone – so use it as a starting platform. I have made wonderful friends all around the world and they have given me the confidence to take the leap to in-person meetups in my area.
And lastly, never give up. It can be so easy to retreat and give up, can’t it? I want you to know that I have been there – I gave up and was utterly miserable for months. But I picked myself up again and was more intentional about my approach to it all. I asked for numbers, I arranged the meetups and I had confidence that I was worth getting to know. I now have a close circle of friends that I can turn to for anything, my own mum village.
Finding mum friends isn’t easy but one day you will look back on this time and be so glad that you made the effort. That support network will make you feel less alone, pick you up on your down days and have you laughing again – that is what we all need, isn’t it?
So what are you waiting for? Dust yourself off and try again – let me know how you get on!