I had no idea about the importance of mom friends before I had my daughter, Ophelia. I thought I would spend days busily bonding with my baby, enjoying walks around the block in a fuzzy warmth of contentedness.
But while I enjoyed the odd hour or two every day of this contentedness, I was shocked to be hit with a different feeling too. I wasn't depressed or sad; I was just in a sort of daze that compounded the sleep deprivation of those first few weeks. I became someone I couldn't recognize.
I would look wistfully out the window as my husband went to work. I would look forward to my trip to the market just for some adult interaction;. I was so not used to speaking with other people that when someone struck up conversation with me, I would stumble over my words and feel embarrassed. The whole new mom thing started to feel overwhelming and unmanageable… until, that is, my first awkward exchange with another mom at the playground.
I asked her what her baby's name was, and then her baby's age. I then made a comment about her hat, and suddenly we clicked. It really was as simple as that! Two hours prior, I was crying to my husband about the sleepless night I had spent rocking our baby; and there I was, head-back laughing with another mom about the same sleepless night I had spent rocking my baby.
It was transformative—having someone to share the experience with left me feeling restored and myself.
It was then that I realized the importance of surrounding yourself with mom friends. Our husbands and partners are wonderful and supportive, but other moms understand what you're going through and can help you laugh through the inevitable tears. So meeting and interacting with other moms became my daily mission. It took some time, a lot of research and a few awkward moments, but I eventually found incredible resources that have helped me build a support system.
Here are three ways you can make new mom friends and create a village for you and baby.
1. Local Facebook mom groups, list servs and meetups
After a quick search online, I turned to Facebook and found a group that moms in my neighborhood had started. This local group became my portal to being social again: it allowed me to engage with other moms online and to meet with them in person once or twice a week.
The first time I joined the group's park meetup, I was apprehensive, but boy, am I glad I went. As our babies napped, fed and rolled around, we talked about everything from sleep training to the latest Hollywood Gossip, and I became very good friends with a few of them.
2. Mommy and Me classes
The idea of sitting with a bunch of moms in a circle, singing “Wheels on the Bus" with our babies way too young to understand what's going on originally felt really cheesy to me. But it turns out to be a great way to meet other moms. And if singing classes are not your thing, there are plenty of other options out there for you to choose from.
Yoga meetups and stroller workout classes, for example, kill two birds with one stone. Whatever you like to do on your spare time, there's something for you—whether it's music classes, story time at the library or being active.
3. Your phone
Not to call someone, of course, but to connect. There are apps to help you find a date and make new friends to hang with when you move to a new city. And believe it or not, there are apps that connect you with other moms in your area who have similar interests and babies of the same age group as yours. A few quick clicks, and you'll have playdates lined up for weeks.
Being a new mom is brilliant, but it can be tough, too. Mom friends tip the balance—a problem shared is a problem solved. It takes a village to raise a child (and a mom!), and quite frankly no mom should do it alone.