Labor Pains: Making Mommy Friends Is Like Dating All Over Again

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I moved to my new Brooklyn neighborhood two months before my son arrived. In the weeks leading up to his arrival, I didn’t do much friend-making: It was July it was hot, and meeting new people was low on my to-do list during those last nesting days.

Besides, I had plenty of friends with kids in the greater New York area. Hoboken, Upper West Side, Park Slope – they seemed so very close thanks to public transit. With all these new moms in my life, I knew I’d have plenty of playmates for my son and me.

But then Noah showed up, and I could barely make it to the grocery store without one of us having a major meltdown. Hoboken was out of the question. It became clear that I needed to find some new friends after all – that is, if I wanted to talk to someone other than my newborn during the day. At a couple of months old Noah may have been adorable, but a sparkling conversationalist? Not so much.

Having met my husband in college, I never had to brave the city dating scene. But here I was, sidling up to friendly-looking women with strollers and trying to score digits.

My first friend broke my heart. I met her in a mommy-and-me yoga class, but after three months of bestie bliss, she returned to work, leaving me to fend for myself in the cold, hard winter.

Another low point: Telling the teacher of a kids’ music class that I was on the prowl for mom friends, then realizing that she had no game – and would unwittingly interfere with mine. After working up the nerve to ask another mom to grab coffee after class, I was interrupted mid-sentence by the teacher sharing a video of a dancing cockatoo she had saved on her iPod.

And one more: Inviting three mothers over for a play date, and having all three cancel at the last minute (one ear infection, one baby cranky from teething, and the last taking a late nap). Stood up by three people – six if you count the babies! Ouch.

Finally a neighborhood listserv posted information about a wine tasting for local parents. Knowing that my husband would never be home from work in time to go, I invited my pal from Hoboken, who I knew would make an excellent wingman.

We got to the event, scoped out the room, saw two women about our age and decided they would be my new friends. We snagged the two bar stools next to them and started talking. One of the women lived around the corner from me, had a daughter the same age as Noah, and was even from my hometown. Love at first sight!

With one good friend came confidence, and any dating maven knows that confidence is attractive. By the time spring rolled around, I had a crew of fellow mothers in my neighborhood with whom I could laugh, commiserate and otherwise share the emotional ups and downs of new motherhood. These are the women who I can depend on: They’ll gladly have Noah over for a couple of hours if I have a last-minute work assignment, and they’ll tell me if the headband I’m wearing looks dorky.

Now Noah is three and will be starting preschool this week in a different neighborhood. We don’t know a single other family in this nursery program, so I’m dusting off some of my friend-making skills and hoping that it’ll be a little easier this time around. And, if not, I’ve got a core crew of mom pals back at home, any one of whom will gladly serve as my wingman.

(Photo: Hemera)