15 Ways To Make Mom Friends

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1950s moms at the beachI don’t know why it’s so hard to make “mom friends. I know what you’re thinking, why do you have to make “mom” friends? Just make “friends.“ I totally agree with this. I agree with it so much, that basically none of my friends have kids.

Since we moved I’ve made more of an effort — not just because I need friends, but because my kids do, too. Maybe parenthood hasn’t affected your ability to be a social butterfly, but some of us have been a little more isolated than we thought we would be and may need some social “brushing up.” Here are some tips for getting other moms to speak to you at the playground.

1. Pretend your iPhone doesn’t exist.

There’s nothing harder than striking up a conversation with someone who has their face buried in their phone. Somewhere in the last five to seven years, people stopped looking outward at the world and started looking inward at their electronic devices of choice. I’m not pointing fingers – I’m as addicted as the next person; but there are people out there and they might want to be your friend.

2. Smile.

Nothing breaks the ice better than this. It’s simple. It says, “I see you and I can occasionally be a nice person.”

3. Bring cookies.

I don’t want to make it seem like I have to bribe people to make friends, but… Let’s just say this is a good idea.

4. Never string the words “breastfeeding” and “weight loss” together.

Seriously. Don’t do it. Unless you’re trying to make friends at a new moms marathon training group. Do those exist?

5. Don’t compare your kids to anyone else’s.

…unless you’re pointing out how advanced someone’s child is. Listen, we all have milestone hang-ups whether we like to admit it or not. No need to rub your genius child in everyone’s face.

6. Have a sense of humor about the terrifying shit-show that is parenting.

Maybe it’s just me, but there is nothing more endearing about a mom I don’t know at the park or Gymboree who is willing to make some kind of self-deprecating parenting joke.

7. Talk about things other than your kids.

How refreshing is it to realize that you have other interests besides the gorgeous children you care for all day? Bring up something besides your kids to remind everyone there is life outside of parenting.

8. Invite someone out for a “kid-free” play date.

Is there a mom you consistently see at the park, that you really like, but have never exchanged names or information with? Ask her out. Okay – that sounds a little creepy, but you get my drift.

9. Go to one of those stroller exercise groups everyone makes fun of.

Think about it. If there’s 10 moms there, then there’s got to be at least one that you want to hang out with.

10. Don’t talk to parents through their kids.

Isn’t weird when you are at the park and a mom or dad addresses you, but through their child? For example, “Say thank you to the nice lady for giving you your ball back!” If you want to make friends, acknowledge people as separate entities from their children.

11.  Bring toys.

Again, it may seem like I have to bait people into talking to me, but whatever works. Bring extra toys to the park. There will be enough for other kids and this interaction alone may make it easier to strike up a conversations with other parents. Also, you’re the awesome parent that brings enough toys for everyone.

12. Don’t shy away from moms that don’t parent like you.

So what if that woman is breastfeeding her 4-year-old? So what if that other woman is feeding her child Ho-Ho’s for lunch? When trying to make friends, it’s best to be the opposite of a judge-y sanctimommy.

13. Follow up.

Did you connect with someone? Actually make the phone call, send the email, whatever. I’ve been emailing back and forth with a mom I met on a comment thread in one of my stories. Okay, so I haven’t gotten my shit together to actually meet this person yet – but it will happen.

14. Always be yourself.

Be yourself. That way you never have to try too hard. You’ll gravitate toward moms like you.

15. Don’t obsess over the kids.

Don’t spend playdates following your kids around.  Have them in earshot and leave your kids alone to play while you speak like an adult. Kids like to play with each other – they don’t want their moms following them around all day. Kids need to hurt themselves and be mean to each other and figure out how to play. Right?

(photo: sparkleneely)