Being friends with other moms of like-aged children is one of the best side benefits of having kids. You have someone with whom to commiserate about sleep battles, picky eating, and tantrums. You have someone who can look out for your little one in a pinch. And you have ready-made entertainment for your kids every time you get together as they get to experience someone else’s toys and playthings
If you’re a new mom, if you just moved to the neighborhood, or if you’re simply looking for some companionship, you probably want to meet other moms. But where are they, and how do you connect with them?
The good news is, there are plenty of other moms out there, and they’re probably looking for you too. The most likely place to meet other moms is at your local park. You can start up a conversation with another mom doing something as simple as waiting for your little one’s turn on the slide. (“How old is he?” “Those little boots are adorable – where did you get them?” “It looks like your little guy likes trucks about as much as mine does!”)
Some moms complain that even though they meet other moms at the park, they never see them again or never make a strong enough connection to set up a playdate. That’s why it’s also a good idea to look for recurring activities like story hours or classes through which you’re likely to see the same moms week after week. You can find story hour times at your local library or at your local book store. You can also meet moms through kids’ music, swimming, gymnastic, or “Mommy and Me” classes, either sponsored through the city or at private facilities. Depending on where you live, you may also have access to a local chapter of the MOMS Club or another similar organization. These groups often coordinate gatherings at each others’ homes, or regular playdates like outings to the zoo.
These days, many moms “meet” each other on the Internet through online communities or support boards for moms who share similar issues. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you check out JustMommies.com’s social networking community and message boards. When you feel like you have a good connection with someone who is geographically close to you, it is helpful to meet them in person. That way you can get to know them and share your experiences in “real life,” and your kids can get to know their kids as well.
Sometimes it seems like you see moms everywhere – at the shoe store, at the doctors’ office, at the grocery store – but you aren’t quite making good enough connections to sustain a close friendship. Or you may get along with another mom but your kids don’t play well together. Have patience. Chances are you won’t find a perfect “match” immediately and you just have to keep circulating and getting to know plenty of other moms before you find a comfort level with someone. (Does this sound like dating? In a way, it kind of is.) When you do feel like you’ve made a connection with someone, reach out and offer them an opportunity to get to know you better: “We are going to be at the park on Monday at 10 am – Would you like to join us?” Before you know it, you’ll be chatting and sharing stories like old friends – and with any luck, your kids will hit it off and entertain each other in the process.