Becoming a parents means a lot of things in your life will change. They’ll all change for the best, believe me! One thing which a lot of new mothers find difficult is not having the support of other mothers. Here is a quick guide to help you find new lasting friendships in other mothers.
Your perspective changes as a parent, it has to. And you won’t have as much time for all of your old friends. Not all of them and not always, but the reality is that it’s not always pleasant to hang out with friends who don’t have kids. They get annoyed, aren’t as patient and just don’t understand what it means to run around constantly after a toddler who has just learned to walk. Or that you can’t lug around a 3-year-old in a shopping centre while you try on clothes. I’ve found a lot of people, even relatives, seem to think that sticking him in front of the TV is sufficient entertainment. I put my foot down of course, I don’t allow him to spend time alone with someone who doesn’t know how to properly entertain him. Sometimes that means alienating my in-laws or my family. I’m totally okay with that.
Here are a few ways I have made new friends, other mothers for myself and their kids so that our kids can not only play together, but hopefully build life long friendships themselves.
- Baby & Toddler Groups – During maternity leave and those first few years in a kids life, there are those awesome little groups which you get to enjoy like baby swimming, messy play, baby massage, etc. It may take some time, but you should really push out of your comfort zone and befriend some of the other mothers. Arrange play dates, let the kids have fun and get to know a new potential friend. I myself have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had this way.
- Nursery & School – If your little one goes to a nursery or to preschool / kindergarten, then this is a good place to reach out to other parents. Invite their friends to birthday parties, to break the ice. I made the effort to befriend the mother of his best friend at nursery and we see each other a couple times a month. It’s lovely to see them interact outside of their usual place and even though I don’t have much in common with this particular mother, we still enjoy getting together. After leaving his nursery, we stayed in touch and still get together.
- Coffee Shops – A lot of new mums on maternity leave, find themselves in coffee shops. I helped someone one day, I think she might’ve dropped something and then started chatting to her. She had the cutest little baby boy who was only about 6 months at the time. We started chatting, our little ones shared their snacks and we exchanged numbers.
- Holidays – We have a couple of family holidays a year. Usually just a long weekend away or something of the sort. Last year we went camping, for the first time and Kal had wondered over 2 tents down and started playing with the kids. We went and said hi to the parents and ended up spending every evening together. They are a really nice family, it so happens the boys are the same age and we share very similar parenting ideals with the parents. They live in another city, but not too far away and we still get together occasionally on camping holidays.
- Playgrounds – I’ve not as of yet made a new friend in a playground, but as with the baby groups and coffee shops, the same applies!
- Online Groups – A lot of other mothers are in the same boat at you and use online groups to reach out to each other. Facebook is great for this.
The trick to making new friends is to just go out and talk to people. It can be a little intimidating at times, you might feel a little silly. I urge you to do it, the benefits to your kids is great. We now have a small number of really great friends and our kids are close, we babysit for one another, we help each other moving, we help host parties and birthdays, we help with school runs. And if something happens which gets me down, I always have a close friend to turn to. And as a bonus, even my husband has made a new friend!