Mastering Mommy-Dating: Tips for Finding Your Tribe

Whether you are a new mom or have moved to a new place, you need to find your local Mom Tribe. It’s always hard to make friends an adult, but once you have kids, it can get even harder. You will want an extensive mommy network, but for your tribe you are looking for other moms who understand you, who have your back, and who you can talk over parenting, relationship, career, health, and household issues with. Of course, these are also women you can have fun with—whether it be family vacations, bunco nights, playdates, long runs, family game nights, or movies out.

But where can you find these women? First start making mom acquaintances. If you are new to town, start with you neighbors, the moms at your local park, or co-workers. If you are a new mom, neighbors, co-workers, gym friends, and other acquaintances may all become part of your mommy network, and you might even find some people for your tribe among your current friends.

But how and where to find the tribe of moms who get you?

Really—Facebook is a huge part of the mom scene. Search for and join local moms groups. These might be based on any of many different factors: neighborhood, parenting style, lifestyle, hobbies, health concerns (of moms or children), career, employment status (working outside the home, SAHM, working from home, self-employed), languages spoken, and more. Join those relevant to you and make a plan to attend an event or two with each group. It can be intimidating, but remember everyone there has been in or is in your position. Meet people you like or get along with? Ask their names, get cell numbers, and send friend requests. Find people you share interests with, don’t focus solely on those whose kids get along with yours (though that can be important too!).

mom date

Be sure to also check Meetup for parenting and moms groups in your area. You can also look for groups just for you: book groups, knitting groups, gardening groups, service groups. There will be people who happen to be moms in those groups as well. Join a group or two (or more) and commit to attending at least one event for each group. Depending on where you live and the types of groups available, you might meet the same people as at Facebook events or a completely different set of people. Again, get numbers and names of people you meet and like—you might not run into them again!

moms meetup
Parent Ed or Childhood Ed Classes
To meet more moms, hang out where moms congregate. If your budget allows, sign up for parent/child classes that strike your fancy (swim, yoga, stroller strides, music). Many parks and rec departments offer reasonably priced parent ed classes, or become a regular at library story time or the local parks. If you attend a church, see if there are any classes, events, or activities designed for families. Churches might also host MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) chapters, or there might be a Mom’s Club chapter in your neighborhood or town. Hospitals also sometimes host new parent classes.

If your kids are older and you are in a new town, be sure to attend parent ed nights at their schools. Let people know you are new to town, it can be a great conversation starter. Whether your kids are in sports, music, drama, magnet programs, or scouts, there will be fundraisers and volunteer opportunities to meet more moms.

Now comes the hard part! You have gotten yourself to an event, signed up for a class, or made plans to attend story time. When you go, chat when there is an opportunity (before, during, or after). If you meet someone you click with, get her number or name on Facebook. Follow up within the week with a friend request or call or text, and set up a playdate at the park or a local museum or your home. Don’t wait until “the next time” you run into people you connect with—you might not run into them again, even if you are in a scheduled class.

When you have your first mom “date”, be kind and friendly and learn more about her. Don’t talk only about your child—talk about you, and ask about her. Listen. Don’t monopolize the conversation talking about your child (and she shouldn’t either!). Expect some awkwardness, but you don’t need to keep it to small talk. Eventually you will want to discuss deeper topics, and if the news or other events warrants it on the first “date”, go for it.

In any case, don’t be discouraged. Some mom dates won’t work out, some people won’t respond, some will cancel. Don’t take it personally, and keep trying. You will meet your tribe.