The following post was written by the wonderfully talented Chelsea Stanley. Chelsea is the VP of Mommy Relations over here at Incredible Infant. Bask in her real-mom encouragements through her thoughtful articles..
You spy her across the playground as you both sip on your Mickey D’s Diet Cokes.
On top of your mutual caffeine addiction, you see that you share a love for Vera Bradley and your two-year old boys.
“She could be the one!” you think as you begin to imagine the possibilities…
- Coffee and conversation.
- Someone to watch your toddler so you can stroll through Target in peace.
You snap back to reality in time to introduce yourself, and she’s exactly what you expected.
You exchange information, Facebook stalk each other, and fully intend to build a beautiful mom friendship.
And then reality hits.
You plan to meet again next week, but there’s a torrential downpour.
You try again.
Oh well, third time’s a charm, right?
Blasted two-year molars.
The struggle is real, girlfriend.
Making mom friends is difficult. Keeping them is HARD.
Hard, but not impossible.
Sometimes people assume that mommy bloggers are the “together moms.” You know, the fully dressed ones who sip their coffee and type while their children play quietly on the floor. The ones who have dozens of mom friends because they’re so gosh darn funny and obviously have all the answers.
The truth is I’m currently sitting here with yesterday’s makeup and a mop of hair on my head while my kids dump a sensory bin of rice all over my floor. #pinterestfail
The truth is as much as I desire to have meaningful friendships, I have a hard time making and keeping girlfriends…and it hurts.
The truth is, I’m no expert, and I’m probably one of the last moms who should be giving advice!
And yet…here I am.
Not because I have it all together, but because I feel your pain.
Honestly, it would be easy for me to be a hermit for the rest of my life.
But I’m not made for isolation, and neither are you.
We are made for community.
So as hard as it is, let’s join hands and figure this thing out…together.
The Art of Making Mom Friends
I could give you a five-step formula for making mom acquaintances.
But we’re searching for something more, aren’t we?
We want mamaraderie.
You’ve probably heard of “camaraderie.” That’s a feeling of trust and friendship among a group.
“Mamaraderie” is that same feeling of trust and friendship among a group of mamas.
And making mom friends that are real and authentic is a lot like making art.
Each of us comes to the canvas with a unique perspective. We each have different needs and desires, and we’ll use different mediums and styles to create our own meaningful mom friendships.
Think of this post, then, as an artist’s toolbox. I’ll provide you with a helpful smorgasbord of brushes and colors for you to use in making mom friends. You determine which supplies you’ll need for your custom work of art.
Tools of Engagement
The first step to making mom friends is meeting them!
“But WHERE?” you ask.
Moms have been sighted at the following locations:
Support groups ~ La Leche League meetings, baby wearing groups, and prenatal hospital classes are just a few places where you’ll find support and friendships.
Outdoors ~ Your kiddos will love burning off energy at your local park, beach, or splash pad, and maybe you’ll score a new mom friend as well! Incredible Infant mama Heather says, “I really enjoy mom friendships that begin at a playground. It’s a great place to find other moms that are at the same stage and available at the same time of day that you are.”
Online Communities ~ Search for a mommy Facebook group based on location, common interests, beliefs or lifestyles. (Like ours!)
Neighborhood ~ Bring over a plate of brownies or hop on Nextdoor.com and meet your neighbors!
Mommy-and-Me Classes ~ Spend quality time with your little one and make new mom friends in the process! Are you a musician? Try Kindermusik. An athlete? Take an infant swimming class. A bit of a nerd? Check your local library or museum for fun learning opportunities.
Church ~ Some churches have organized playdates or bible studies for young moms. You can also check to see if there’s a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in your town. If there’s not anything formal set up at your local place of worship, introduce yourself to another mom or ask someone to help you make connections.
Once you’ve made that initial connection, you (like me!) may find yourself asking, “What on earth do I talk to her about?”
The answer: anything.
We asked some of our readers what they like to talk about with other moms, and these were just some of their responses:
- Problems and joys that come with motherhood
- Diapers and teething
- Home remedies
- Current events
- What we’re reading/watching
Moms naturally gravitate towards conversations about our kids. That’s okay…they’re our world right now.
But remember, behind each mama is a real woman with real hobbies, beliefs, likes and dislikes. Don’t be afraid to engage on those topics as well.
Tools of Encouragement
All of us have those days where we feel like absolute failures.
That’s when we need our momrades most.
How can you encourage your fellow mama?
- Shoot her a text.
- Send her an encouraging blog post.
- Be real about your own struggles.
- Point out her strengths.
- Email her a word of encouragement or a bible verse.
- Pray for her.
- Bring her a meal.
- Drop off a cup of coffee.
- Give her a care package.
- Watch her kids.
- Go grocery shopping.
- Run an errand.
Believe me, she’ll love you for it.
Tools of Refreshment
I know. A mom’s night out sounds like such a luxury when there are little people who depend on you for their every need.
But ladies, we have to make time for each other.
Go beyond the proverbial “cup of coffee” and try one of these mommy-friendly activities:
- Paint Nite
- Zumba class
- Book club
- Rummage sale shopping
- Movie Night – in or out!
- Charity walk or run
- Craft night
- Freezer cooking
- Mom’s Retreat or Conference
Tools of Trust
Relationships are built on trust.
Unfortunately, many of us have had our trust broken.
When that happens, we have two options: we can choose to build walls that keep others out or we can choose to forgive, learn from our experiences, and determine to be trustworthy in our future relationships.
What does trust look like in mom friendships?
No apologies for lack of makeup or a messy home. She should feel free to be her true self around you without fear of judgment or gossip.
In the midst of the every day chaos, it’s nice to know that you always have a friend you can count on. Try your best to stay true to your word and to be a good friend even when she doesn’t seem to deserve it.
Guess what, gals…we’re human. We are bound to annoy, offend and hurt our mom friends. When that happens, our natural tendency will be to stew, avoid, or cut off. Instead, let’s be women who are quick to confess, forgive, and communicate.
Making Mom Friends:
Time to Create
You have your art supplies. Now it’s time to get to work.
Remember, friend, the artistic process is not a quick one.
As artist Georgia O’Keeffe (aka “the Poppy Lady”) once said, “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time — like to have a friend takes time.”
Masterpieces don’t appear overnight, and neither does mamaraderie. So do what you can today, and come back tomorrow to add a few more brush strokes. Before you know it, you’ll be marveling at your work of art.
What do you appreciate most about your mom friendships? What is your biggest obstacle in making mom friends? Share in the spirit of mamaraderie!
Meet Chelsea Stanley
Chelsea is the ultimate boy mom. Whenever she's in distress, she can count on her three little musketeers and their sidekick pup, Sir Duke, to come to her rescue. If the task is too great, her Prince Charming of a husband saves the day with a magical elixir called Diet Coke from underneath the Golden Arches. Get to know her and visit her blog, Daughter Redeemed.