It’s like with most things – easier to enjoy when you have someone to share it with.
There is no denying that becoming a mum is a major event for all of us. Probably the most lifechanging thing any of us will ever go through, to be honest.
And to many, navigating this new life can feel lonely, especially if you find yourself being the first of your friends to have a baby – or even the last. If your ‘old friends’ are either yet to settle down and have babies, or have gone through all this and are now out of the baby years, becoming a new mum can really make you feel rather isolated at first.
But trying to make new friends as an adult can feel a little bit daunting – trust us, we know. But every mama needs a mum friend – heck, make that a mum tribe. So how do you find yours?
Having been there and done that twice, once because I had a baby long before any of my friends did, and the second time around because we moved to somewhere I knew no-one when my youngest was only weeks old, I’d like to think I now know a few things about making mum friends – and here is what I have learned:
1. Use social media for all its worth
A lot is said and written about the negative effects of social media, but the reality is that it can also be an amazing tool for connecting with your community and even making new friends. Start following local venues and organisations on both Facebook and Instagram, sign up for newsletters about events taking places, such as book clubs at the library, mum and baby yoga classes at your local sports centre or even parish hall. Look for different groups you can join too, I can pretty much guarantee there are baby massage classes, baby music classes, walking groups – you name it, there is probably a group for it in your local area, and you’ll find out about on Facebook and Instagram.
2. Get out there
Yes, I know getting out of the house with a baby is hard, but nothing is going to happen inside the walls of your house when it comes to making new friends. Put your baby in a stroller and hit up your local park for a walk, visit the farmer’s market on a weekend morning or simply stroll around the neighbourhood.
Note: Try to not be glued to your phone at all times, as it is much harder to strike up conversations with someone if you can’t even see them as you walk past them to sit next to them at the side of the playground.
Heck, even finding a new local coffee shop and stopping by every morning might result in meeting some other mum also on the hunt for coffee and a new friend!
3. Don’t be afraid to make the first move
I know it makes many of us uncomfortable to be the one to initiate a conversation with a stranger, but this might just be what gets the ball rolling when it comes to finding your mum tribe.
If you see another mum with a little one, be it at the local library one morning or sitting beside the swings in the park, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. Ask about her baby, find out if she comes here often, ask if she knows of any other good places to go with babies or children in your local area – mums are often keen to help other mums out – because we all know just how crazy and sometimes lonely motherhood can be.
Another great idea can be to get your child to make friends with other toddlers or kids – and that again can sometimes lead to you making a mum friend too. Bring a ball to the park – kids love balls, or, even better, soap bubbles you can blow and the kids can chase. The more fun your kid is having, the more it will attract other kids (and mums!) too.
Ultimately, making mum friends can be a little trial and error – and we have to approach it with both a positive, yet also realistic attitude, I think. So you mightn’t meet your soulmate mum that first week, but you will slowly, but surely, start building your circle, your tribe, and even though none of these mums might feel like your very best friend – for now – friendships will grow and evolve. And so right now, just having someone who you can head for coffee with and complain about how tired you are and how flipping tough potty training is, might just be enough.