Recently, a friend shared with me that she has felt quite lonely recently. Sadly, she's not the only woman I know who struggles to connect with other moms. Unfortunately I live many miles from most of my friends. I guess that's what I get for being new in town! Making friends as an adult, outside of college or work? That's not easy for most of us. Add in a sprinkle of my own special blend of social anxiety and awkward turtle, and it's easy to see why I might also feel lonely sometimes myself.
At the suggestion of wiser moms, I've looked into MOPS (Moms Of Pre Schoolers) groups that are local to my area. Because the internet is wise and vast, I also found a local mommy blogger that has great reviews for local kid-friendly activities and attractions. Maybe if I take my kids to the place where other kids are hanging out, I'll have a chance encounter with another cool mom and we'll become BFFs! In my mind this is not unlike a National Geographic episode where all the animals meet at the watering hole and play nice. But gosh, even just thinking about tackling an adventure like a children's museum - the thought exhausts me. Do we even have enough coffee?
As soon as I shared with my closest friends that our family was moving to another state, I asked a few of my girlfriends to put together a Marco Polo chat conversation. With just a few moments of our time, we can catch each other up on what we're doing, vent about our frustrations with our work/husbands/children/family/car/hair/weight gain. I'm so glad we have this connection - it helps me feel like my friends aren't really far away for a long time. If I'm being completely honest, I'm not sure it's settled in that we've moved to a different state. I know that it's not some sort of disloyalty, to meet new friends. Still, I feel a sort of closeness and intimacy with my friends back in Chicago that has been built over the years. That's not just something that happens in a day!
Jeez, now I'm psyching myself - and maybe even you - out! What I mean to say is this: all of this anxiety about making new mom friends? It's just that - anxiety! When I look back on all the other times I've moved in my life (9 different homes in the last ten years), I've made new friends without fail! This worry is just a fear of the unknown, and fear about something like that is just a waste of energy.
Can I let you in on a little secret? That fear - that you're going to be weird or say something wrong or look like a fool? Every single mom you see is feeling that same trepidation. I know I'd sure like to be given a bit of a break from walking on eggshells. It can't hurt anyone to break the ice and give a fellow mom a break.
A few practical tips I've found helpful in my own new-momming through life:
- Get off your phone at the park and look around. You might see a mom that looks cool and approachable!
- Join a volunteer organization for a cause you believe in! This gives you loads of personal satisfaction, builds your resume, and also connects you with people who share your interests. Oh, and um....it helps other people, too.
- Toddler gym, playgrounds, the beach, the splash pad. Get outside, get moving, and run into other moms doing the same!
- If your faith has a formal organizational structure, link up to it! Hopefully the parents you meet there can connect you to activities and events that jive with your spirituality.
Look, no one likes being the new kid. I certainly don't, but I can't seem to escape the role! Luckily, my kids are a perfect excuse to meet other moms. I only have to be brave enough to put myself out there! Can you relate? Let's be brave together!
Be brave with me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 and on Instagram @sugarpi3honeybunch. I will be your friend so you don't have to be lonely!