Being a parent is lonely work. If you’re lucky, you may have partners, co-parents, and other support who can help shoulder the burdens of keeping tiny, feral humans occupied and civilizing them so that in the future, they can take care of themselves. But even if you have the best folks in your life, sometimes you want to have people to whom you can complain about these very same folks.
Ideally, you already have friends and coworkers who can be a safe space for you to decompress. However, thanks to these busy modern times (and the disruption of the pandemic), your previous friendships can change drastically. People who you used to speak to every day or hang out with every week are suddenly unavailable because of their own life circumstances or can no longer relate to the trials of parenting. Or maybe you’ve had to break up with friends because they’ve become toxic.
Whatever the reason, this is totally normal — though it can be disappointing, further hammering in that feeling of isolation.
Join a local parenting group
Okay, hear me out. On the outset, this sounds rather awkward, like the parenting equivalent of a blind date speed round. However, it’s really efficient and transparent. After all, everyone is there because they want to meet other parents in their area.
Except, that’s what makes it great! Everyone knows exactly why everyone else is there: to make new mom friends.
Take advantage of your community
If that’s a little too daunting and too much like forced play, check out your local parks and recreation department, libraries, places of worship, or your children’s school for activities, classes, and social events.
The more consistently you show up to any sort of activity, the more you will get to naturally know other regulars and gravitate to the people you’d like to be friends with.
Sign up for classes
Whether it’s a parenting-related class at your local hospital, school, or place of worship, or just a class for a hobby or one you attend with your little one, these activities are a great way to meet new people. Again, it’s really about showing up and showing up consistently and then letting friendships bloom organically – which is easier when you meet while doing something you already have in common.
Join an online group
Who says everything has to be in person? There are so many parenting Facebook groups, reddit communities, and communities that have sprouted around influencers or particular fandoms that name your interest and you’ll find it! (And if you can’t find one, make one!)
There is something to be said for getting to know people online and not having to think of things to say extemporaneously. While not everyone might have kids, there are usually some fellow parents lurking around and many a deep and lasting friendship has been born and sustained through the DMs.
Start your own meetup
Can’t find anything right up your alley? Create your own! I know, it’s exhausting, and sometimes we just want to plug and play versus plan — but if you’re really not feeling what’s available around you, chances are other people are looking for something different too.
This can be as simple as setting up a playdate with a family you meet at the park, or inviting a fellow parent to meet up at your local cafe and then making it a repeat event. Before you know it, folks have invited other people and you have a regular group!
Whether you are literally saying “yes” to someone physically inviting you to an event or if it’s an online invitation, start saying “yes” to gatherings you may not normally choose for yourself. Not only will you meet moms you normally may not encounter, you may discover new hobbies that you love.
Of course, please respect your own boundaries and don’t feel obligated to attend social events that are clearly trying to recruit for an MLM or religion you don’t want to participate in. Also, make sure someone else knows where you’re going just in case.
Meet the parents of your kids’ friends
If your child is older and has friends at school, meeting the parents of their friends is a totally reasonable request. After all, it’s just good parenting to check out the families of your kid’s peers, especially if your kid is also going over to their homes. Who knows — maybe you’ll even meet a fellow parent you’ll click with just like your kids do!
You can invite everyone over for a low key gathering at your home or a local park after school or on the weekend. Or, if that’s too many new people at the same time, invite one family over at a time — or set up a time to meet at a local bakery or restaurant while the kids are in school. If scheduling is difficult due to work, maybe offer to pick up takeout and have a joint dinner, or arrange for the weekend instead.
Offer to carpool
Similar to meeting the parents of your child’s friends, this pretty much kills two birds with one stone. Not only do you make your life easier so that you don’t have to take your child to everything, you also make other people’s lives easier! Plus, due to the nature of something with lots of logistics, you’ll likely have to text each other and get to know each other well that way.
Volunteer at school
While this kind of sounds like more work (and unpaid at that), volunteering at your child’s school, sports team, or extracurricular activity is a great way to meet other moms whose kids’ interests dovetail with your child’s. Not only will you get to know your fellow volunteers, you’ll likely have plenty of reasons to contact and get to know the other parents, too.
Making mom friends is hard. But it doesn’t have to be painful.