Being a mom can sometimes be so isolating. At work, we can make friends with our co-workers, but we don’t even have time to go to happy hour after work since we have to rush to daycare pickup. So sometimes we end up being a working mom with no friends. At home, well, tiny humans are not always the best company, and we crave adult interaction.
Add to that being a military spouse, which means moving around and having to say goodbye to the mom friendships we made. And if you’re an introvert like me? Yes, that’s extra isolating. We’ve all seen various mom friends memes that remind us how important our mom tribe is. But why is making mom friends so hard?
Making mom friendships as a busy mom is hard! But how do you make mom friends as a working mom?
Find an extrovert mom to befriend.
I can’t help but think about some of my truly close friends, who I felt an honest connection with and who have been a huge support for me while my husband is away (which is like all the time). In both places we have lived I made a neighborhood friend who has been essential to my sanity. In both situations, the friend has been the one to make the initial effort into pulling me out of my shell and becoming her friend.
One friend I met at a local book club, realized we live in the same subdivision, and decided we should hang out. But she was the one who invited me to go for walks with her and pulled me out of the house. In the most recent friend situation, we met at an event she hosted for a local Facebook moms group, an Easter egg hunt. She lived three houses away, and we hadn’t met yet until then, and I wasn’t allowed to leave until way late, and everyone else was long gone. We were great friends since then, her always being there for me during my year and a half of solo parenting. When we moved I knew I wouldn’t have that anymore and it was a bit heartbreaking.
But what I’m saying is, in both cases, I was the introvert who was hiding, and the friend made us friends by making me be present and making me interact. And it formed great friendships. So find an extrovert who you get along with, and maybe she’ll pull you out of your house and become your new bestie.
Meet friends using local Facebook groups.
Parenting in the digital age means there are tools at our fingertips, always. These can come in the form of amazing Facebook groups. You can join some of my favorite Facebook groups for moms here. Global groups are fantastic, but you can dive into local groups. Every city/suburb/town has their group you can find on Facebook. Another tip? Meetup.com has lots of great groups in every town – from book clubs to moms night out. Find yourself a mom meetup to join!
These groups always have get-togethers. Many of them are aimed at moms with a more flexible schedule, so those of us who work full-time outside the home find it difficult to attend these meetups. But, sometimes they do have weekend events, or you could *gasp* try to schedule one yourself at a local park. These groups are a way to meet others in your town, which is how friendships can start.
Use your kids to make friends.
Being a mom means you immediately have something in common. If you find moms of kids a similar age as your child, well, that is a great starting point for a friendship. Especially at preschool drop off or pick-up, you can have a chance to meet and have a quick chat with a fellow mom of a child in your child’s class. If a class-wide invitation is extended for a birthday party, well that’s another opportunity to meet other moms.
I tell you though; it has been hard for me to connect past the polite chit-chat. But I’ll keep trying. It is bound to happen eventually right?
Be a friend to make a friend.
This one might be the best tip because what better way to make a connection than to be a friend someone needs at that moment? If you see another mom struggling, help her. Even a kind word to let her know she’s doing a great job despite her child’s epic meltdown does so much for helping cheer someone up and make that mom to mom connection.
If someone calls on you for support, you know you’ve made a true friend! Same goes for if you’re in need of support and reach out to an acquaintance. That’s the fastest road to true friendship.
Learn the art of asking questions.
This is a tip from my friend at For the Love of Mom. Being good at asking questions and striking up a conversation is an excellent way to make friends, and one way to do that is to be interested in the other person you are trying to meet. Plus, instead of having to worry about conversation topics, getting the other person to talk about themselves is usually easier. Unless the other person is also an introvert, then it is a little more complicated. Dale Carnegie talks about it in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, that people love to talk about themselves and they’ll love you for asking them questions.
Build your own village however you can.
Sometimes it just is too hard to make true loyal friends you can count on when life gets to be too much to handle. Especially when you’re new to the area. Sometimes you need to rely on your already built village, full of people who love and support us, but maybe aren’t nearby.
My village is 100% my Mom, who lives 2000 miles away. She helps as much as she can even just through talking but often she finds me solutions locally or suggestions I can turn into solutions when I need help.
I have a lot of wonderful mom friends online. Yes, I’m way cooler online. But they are there when I seek advice, or need opinions. I can find support across the miles through my phone or computer screen. Yes, online friends count as friends. It’s a great start.
Check out this TED Talk where Sheryl Ziegler, Doctor of Psychology, shares what mothers need in our lives to experience happiness and help prevent loneliness and depression. Hint: she talks about the power of social connection and friendships as a critical component to a mother’s well being and quality of life.
This post is part of the 31 Tips for Working Moms series. See the rest of the posts here: