Let’s just cut to the chase and be honest: seeking new “mom friends” can be a bit awkward. As the new girl in town, I had many reservations about jumping back into the “friendship dating pool.” My nervous feelings about trying to meet friends seemed to bring up some of the same insecurities I had in my teenage dating days. The questions that ran through my head were abundant. How do I meet someone? What should I wear? Will the conversation flow?
Does this sound immature enough for you yet? I sure am letting my freak flag wave in this one!
Finding a Mom Date
I’ve written on my personal blog about how Meet-up groups have really been a life-saver for me. If you haven’t heard of Meet-up before it is basically an online hosting site where thousands of groups post about local group events that they are planning or attending together. I joined The New Orleans Hip Mamas and Papas and then the Metairie Moms. I am happy to say that I have met literally dozens of amazing Moms. Meet-up is like virtually checking the classified ads for friends. No one posts a classified ad if they don’t want a date, and generally speaking no one would join a meet-up group if they didn’t want to make friends. One of my greatest friend making successes is when I stepped far outside of my comfort zone and emailed a member of the Hip Mamas and Papas that I had never met. We decided to meet for lunch and discovered that lo-and-behold while we are very different we also have a TON in common. We had both just relocated to NOLA, our husbands were starting the same fellowship program, and our sons were only a month apart in age. We have now had many play dates, enjoyed girls’ nights out, visited pumpkin patches, taken a forced hurrication, commiserated over childhood illnesses, toasted over brunch and cooked our families Thanksgiving dinners together. Pushing myself to email and meet a stranger has resulted in a wonderful friendship that I couldn’t be more thankful for. Other local opportunities for possible friendships that I tried out were Baby Bootie Camp and The Parenting Center.
I often find myself prepping for a date with a new girlfriend much like I would have for my dates in high school. I hem and haw over outfits, choose one, and then I obsess a little more. I dab a bit of concealer on my blemishes (yes, I am nearing thirty and still have this issue) and blow dry my hair. Every time I go out with some new mom friends, though, I realize that the makeup, the hair, and the outfit…they were honestly just for me. The funny thing is that the friends that I truly want to make, they won’t notice my mom-o-flauge. Instead, the conversation will be so much fun it just won’t matter.
I am so glad that I became a mother before I moved hundreds of miles from home. Not because it is easy (I assure you having no family for backup when you’re sick and tired isn’t the ideal) but because I have an instant conversation starter with any mother I meet. Motherhood is a powerful bonding force and provides an instant array of topics on which we can bond. Forget the woes of worrying about what to talk about! I assure you, if you are a mom, you’ve got this one covered. If I was just to work with what Weston has given me this week I could start conversations about sleep training, toddler friendly foods, weaning, biting, and what to do when your child eats chicken nuggets out of the trashcan.
The Dreaded First Move
In high school (or if you’re reading this, Dad, college) my big worry was how he was going to make the first move for a kiss. Now days my “first move worries” involve crossing the play ground to introduce myself to a friendly looking Mama. Do you make eye contact first? Give a little wave? Who the heck knows?! All I know is that you should put your fears aside and give it a try. Put yourself out there and you may receive more back than you could ever imagine. A great example: about two months ago I spotted a pretty, very pregnant blonde, carrying a diet coke and chasing a toddler at the playground. I had been reading the New Orleans Moms Blog for a few months at this point and I thought to myself, “That sure does look like one of the co-founders of the blog, it must be her!” I gathered up my pride and made the move to introduce myself. We had a lovely talk and from there become somewhat of online, Twitter and blogging friends. Now, I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this blog and it is due in part to my putting myself out there on a playground. In short, make the first move, you never know what might happen!
If You Fall Off of The Horse…
Ok, so yes it is sad to admit, not all of my friend seeking missions have gone well. I had a date to meet an acquaintance at a local store for some shopping. Weston was going to stay home with his Dad, and I was beyond excited to have some adult time and girly chit chat. I made it to the chosen destination, at the chosen time, and started shopping. As it turns out I kept shopping, and shopping, and shopping some more ALONE because my “friend” never showed up. I had been stood up on a mom date! I couldn’t imagine what had happened. I was worried, thinking, “I hope she is ok.” I was sad, thinking “Am I that bad of a communicator?” I was also hurt and thinking, “I guess this must not have been very important to her.” I left the store a couple hours later only to receive a frantic phone call from this friend. Turns out she was newly pregnant, working night shifts, and had accidentally fallen asleep on the couch. Having been pregnant and working night shift not that long ago myself this is a situation that I completely empathize with. We have since seen each other a few times and she is a lovely (and timely) person. The moral of the story here is two things: A) If you fall off the horse get back on again and B) when things go wrong and you can’t understand why, try to see innocence because there may be a great explanation.
If you find yourself in a position where you, like me, need to date for girlfriends just remember my tips. Put yourself out there, make the first move, don’t stress about what you’re wearing, focus on what you have in common, and if it doesn’t go smoothly, try again. Happy Mom Dating, my friends!