Did you know there are more than 35 million moms with children age 18 or younger in the United States alone? You would think that would make it easy for a gal to make a mom friend (even if she needs to be one in a million, there should be 35 great matches for you!), but sometimes it seems like there isn’t anyone who can relate! Sometimes it even feels impossible to meet moms. And why?
It all comes down to mom density. Those 35 matches could be anywhere in the country! More specifically, moms make up just over 10% of the American population. So, if you live in a city of a million people, there are 10,0000 moms – a pretty good selection, with reasonable odds that you’ll find someone you like. If you live in a small town, though, you only get 100 moms per 1,000 people in your town, and your perfect mom match might not live in your community. Moreover, regardless of where you live, your best mom pal could be very different from you. She could have kids the same age as yours, or much older or younger. She might live in a really posh neighborhood, or a really poor one. She might not look anything like you expect her to.
So how do you find that perfect mom friend? Think outside the box! There are lots of different ways to meet moms:
- Try the usual kid friendly spots – even if your kid has outgrown the park or the playground – remember, your mom match might be at a different phase in her motherhood career than you! Don’t be afraid to chat up a mom who might not be a perfect match with your kids (and remember, the older your kids get, the less impact those age differences will have on how well your kids get along)!
- Enlist the aid of your kids – have children who are old enough to babysit? Maybe your would-be best mom friend needs a sitter! Have you tried to connect with the parents of your kids’ close friends? Perhaps you could volunteer at a school event to connect with other helpful moms!
- Go to places where other women hang out – while moms are only 10% of the total U.S. population, they make up a whopping one in three within the adult female population. Join a women’s group or a book club, and talk about your kids!
- Get online – join Mom Meet Mom! if your best Mom friend doesn’t live in your town, maybe you can find her online. Especially with very small kids, it can be hard to get out of the house on any kind of reasonable schedule. Make an online buddy and you’ll still get the benefits of friendly support, but with less pressure to match someone else’s schedule, or even look presentable while you chat!
Have you ever sat at the playground watching groups of moms chatting and wondering how you could edge your way into the convo? Us, too. How moms meet new friends can seem like a math problem everyone else has solved, but the fact is a lot of those mom friends you’re envying probably met while pregnant or have known each other since college. Maybe they were in the same birthing class or heck, maybe they’re sisters. While it’s easy there on the playground to imagine that those two uber hip mamas just met, our guess is that they’re really BFFs. For life.
Why is it so hard to meet moms, anyway? Oh, we can think of a few reasons: Moms are tired. Moms are stressed. Moms have all kinds of crazy schedules. Some moms are dealing with their kids’ health issues. Single moms may be doubly busy. Moms are sometimes shy. Or intimidating. Or easily intimidated. And to top it all off, moms are just people, so even if you have kids and another mom has kids doesn’t necessarily mean you’re destined to be besties. Or will even have a decent conversation over coffee.
But hey, don’t lose heart, mama! Moms meet new friends mainly by being friendly and persevering in the search, even if at times it feels awkward and weird. That’s not to say there’s nothing you can do to make it a little easier to meet moms. For example, you could:
- Use your kids’ friends to meet moms. Schedule playdates with daycare buddies – if applicable – and have snacks and drinks ready for a little mom bonding party.
- Look for moms’ groups that aren’t age specific and join. Even if it turns out the group isn’t for you, you could still make a new friend.
- Hang out in the children’s room at your library and look for moms wrangling kids similar in age to your own. Then *gulp* strike up a convo about that book junior is reading.
- Sign up for town-sponsored community activities for kids. Or swimming. Or music classes. And so on. Be outgoing, even if you have to force it a little.
- Ask your spouse if s/he works with anyone with kids – and schedule a dinner exchange or couple’s dinner.
- Join the gym and strike up a chat with other moms at the childcare room or join Stroller Strides. Fitness and the prospect of new friends – can’t beat that!
- Just had your baby? Sign up for a post-natal fitness class at the Y. You’ll meet other women who may want to meet moms as much as you do.
- Sign up for Mom Meet Mom. What’s that? You’ll just have to wait and see!
Before we start, let’s get something straight: We’re not talking about single moms looking for love – though that’s pretty stressful, too. This post is about moms trying to meet local moms for playdates, conversation, and the kind of companionship you can only get from someone who can look into your eyes and know exactly what you’re going through. Maybe you never realized how hard it is to meet moms.
Some moms, the very luckiest moms, find themselves with a big support network because their friends all have kids in the same age group or they met their mom network through pre-natal fitness and the new mom group at the hospital. They don’t need to go out of their way to meet moms. But plenty of mamas find themselves with tired, crying babies balanced on hips, busted dishwashers, and no one to call for some good old fashioned commiseration.
That’s usually when desperate moms try mom dating. Which has a lot in common with regular dating. Imaging looking across the slide to that super cool supermom with the two-year-old in mini biker jacket and trying to muster up the courage to say hi. Trying to meet local moms by joining activity groups or coffee clubs. Feeling the sting of rejection when the mom who seemed so enthusiastic about scheduling a playdate never calls.
It’s enough to make a mom put Sesame Street on repeat and lose herself in a novel! (Until high school graduation.)
Mom dating gets even more stressful when you’re a mama whose family falls outside of the supposedly picture perfect norm. It’s not a matter of anyone being unfriendly – just a failure to relate. To the issues surrounding prematurity or special needs or dietary concerns or blended families or whatever makes your family special. Sometimes you just want that “I get it” level of connection. How are you even supposed to find another family who gets it, anyway? In short, mom dating is hard.
Meeting local moms is hard. Every bit as stressful as awkward high school dating, in fact. The idea that you can just strike up a convo with the closest mama at the playground or school play and make a friend for life is the kind of big fib that gives moms anxiety. Does it happen? Occasionally, but mom dating isn’t the most reliable way to make friends with other moms. For that? You’re going to have to stick with us for a while. Until then, we’d love to hear how you make mom friends!