Making friends as a mom is tough. You don’t have the kind of free time you once had. Plus, many of your existing friends may not have kids (yet or at all).
I love all my friends—and some of my dearest friends have no children. But when you’re knee-deep in diapers, teething, and sleep deprivation, sometimes you really just need a mom friend who knows where you’re coming from because they’ve been there too.
Plus, research shows that loneliness among mothers is quite high. One study showed close to 2/3 of moms reported feeling lonely. Another survey in the UK reported that number as high as 90%. And those screenings were done before March 2020, so I can only imagine what they’d find now!
So how can you make mom friends?
The biggest challenge to making mom friends is that many of the things you used to do to make friends are no longer available to you.
For example, if many of your friends were colleagues at work, but now you’re a stay at home mom, that can be a major adjustment. If you used to make new friends when you’d go out for drinks, dancing, concerts, etc., the shift to mom life can be dramatic.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do any of these things anymore, but it certainly becomes a lot more challenging.
Plus, you’re way less likely to meet moms in these places because so many of them are in their own homes or shuttling their kids from place to place. Even if you work, it can be tough to make mom friends at your job because you’re often darting straight from work to daycare, without a lot of extra time available for socializing.
So what can you do to connect with other moms?
1. You need to go where the moms are.
This may not be what you want to hear, especially if you’re very introverted. Still, the fact is mom friends won’t just come to you. If you want to make friends with other moms, you’re going to have to make an effort to find them.
That means joining some local playgroups, Meetups, Facebook groups, etc. I don’t know if Meetup.org is still a thing, but it was huge for me when I first became a mom and knew hardly anyone with kids. I ultimately met some dear friends through one of the local Meetup groups in my area.
(I also met some crazies—more on that later.)
Another place you could meet mom friends is the local playground or parks. If your neighborhood or subdivision has one, hang out there. Go regularly at the “right” time for your kids’ ages. If you have school-aged kids, go in the afternoon between school dismissal time and dinner. If you have toddlers, go in that 9-11:30 AM range before naptime.
If there isn’t a playground right in your neighborhood, hang out at the closest one(s).
Your kids’ activities are also a great place to make mom friends. Soccer games, dance practice, toddler time, story hour—all of these are a great way to meet moms who have kids the same age(s) as yours.
2. Sometimes, you have to make the first move
It’s not usually enough to just go to these places. You have to actually talk to other moms to make a friend. That means putting your phone away (unless you’re exchanging phone numbers/contact information!).
Say hello, introduce yourself, and strike up a conversation.
If this comes easily to you, great. If it doesn’t, force yourself. If you can’t find anything to talk about, just talk about their kid. Moms looooooooove to talk about their own kids.
“She’s so cute! How old is she?”
“Wow, she talks really well for her age!”
“Oh my gosh, that Mickey shirt – my kid is OBSESSED with Mickey.”
You get the idea.
Is it a little forced? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It’s not fake — it’s friendly.
3. Ask for their contact information
If you hit it off with another mom, don’t be afraid to ask her for her contact information.
I know it can feel awkward to put yourself out there, but just think: if you end up becoming friends, it’ll be worth it. And if you don’t? Well, you’ll probably never see her again, so the awkwardness will be one-and-done.
Ask for her phone number and text her right there with, “This is _____” so she’ll have your number too. Then mentally commit to following up with her.
That follow-up is so important because you know what happens if you wait too long: it’s awkward.
Instead, a few days later, say, “Hey! We’re thinking of heading up to the playground today or later this week. Would you guys want to join us?”
4. Don’t be too picky
Remember, you’re looking for a friend, not a soulmate. This isn’t the time to get hung up on how someone dresses or their opinion on kids climbing up the slide vs. only sliding down.
Exchanging phone numbers and offering to meet up at the playground isn’t a lifelong commitment. If it doesn’t work out, if you guys end up not being well-suited for one another, no big deal. So don’t write anyone off too quickly.
If you can’t find any mom friends, anywhere, perhaps you’re being too picky—or, dare I say it– too judgmental. What are you using to decide another mom isn’t mom friend material?
Sometimes, we are quick to make snap judgments instead of waiting to see how things play out.
5. Judge what matters
This is really the continuation of #4.
I’m not saying be desperate. You don’t have to befriend anyone who comes along and it’s okay (even good) to have standards.
If you notice a mom putting down other women or speaking to her kids (or yours) in a way that’s not okay with you, by all means, don’t ask for her phone number.
And definitely pass on the mom who tells you she doesn’t “believe” in allowing any screen time for kids. You don’t need that kind of crazy in your life!
6. You need to be a friend to make a friend
Friendship doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional about it. If you want a closer friendship with another mom, you have to work on being a closer, better friend.
A few examples:
Want to make a mom friend you can share playdates with? Then you need to invite her and her kids over for a playdate.
Want to have a mom friend you can meet for drinks or coffee? Then you need to invite this mom out for drinks or coffee.
Want an invitation to parties or Ladies’ nights? Then you may need to host a party or a Ladies’ night.
You can’t just wait for someone else to invite you or befriend you. It’s great if that happens, but you may very well need to be the one who extends the invitation.
7. Acknowledge that mom friendship takes work
The fact is, ALL friendship takes work. But once you become a mom, it takes that much more of a concerted effort because your time is more limited and your responsibilities are greater than ever.
Before I had kids, it was so much easier to be a good friend. I had so much more time and energy.
Now, I have to consciously remind myself to make the effort. When the kids and my husband are out of the house, my first inclination is probably to catch up on chores or a TV show.
Instead, I choose to pick up my phone and call or text my mom friends because keeping up with them is super tough amidst the day-to-day grind.
When one of your friends is having a tough time, make a point to reach out to them. Try to help, even in a small way, so they know you’re thinking about them and they’re important to you. Bring them a meal. Send them flowers. Take their kids for the day.
You have to show up for your people.
8. Don’t be too easily discouraged
As I mentioned earlier, I met some precious friends through a mom’s Meetup group years ago. But before I met them, I ended up at a very uncomfortable playdate with one of the strangest moms I’ve ever met. I almost canceled my Meetup account the second I got home, but I’m so glad I stuck with it and tried some other events.
Trying to make mom friends is a lot like dating. Sometimes, it’s just not going to work out. It’s not them, it’s not you—it’s just not a good fit.
People can be really weird about this. They’ll keep trying to force a friendship that’s never going to pan out. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not telling you to actively exclude anyone—and I’m definitely not telling you to be rude about it.
Instead, when you realize your personality or lifestyle just doesn’t mesh well with another mom, start shifting your focus elsewhere.
Be friendly. Be kind. But be realistic too. Not everyone is going to be your cup of tea and vice versa. As the saying goes, you might be the sweetest peach in the orchard, but some people just don’t like peaches.
9. When you finally find your mom friends, keep the circle open.
There are generally two kinds of women: those that invite others and those that exclude them.
Is this an oversimplification? Probably. But the fact is, you have a choice.
When you see another mom on the outside, you can choose to invite her in. You can choose to be inclusive.
–Or, you can choose to do the opposite. You can make it clear the circle is closed and the mom friendship roster is full.
You don’t have to become best friends with everyone–that’s neither practical nor desirable. But leaving the door open to new people and new relationships benefits everyone.