By Jennifer Lubell, GalTime.com
'Mom Friends' Many of us have been there: you move to a new town, you don't know anybody and you're at home with young children all day.
Try as you might, you just don't bond with the other "mom cliques" in your neighborhood, or even the mom groups you try to join.
After she had a baby several years ago and began staying at home, Lainie Gutterman, founder of Me, Myself and Baby I, realized that she had to find a whole new set of friends.
"I discovered that being a new mom is the equivalent of being back in high school or jumping back into the dating pool. I tried to remain positive and upbeat about it," reminding herself that she had an "adorable wingman," her son.
She ended up making a lot of her closest mom friends on the playground. "But I also struck up conversations with many moms and families that never reciprocated and they never made any effort at all," Gutterman says.
Making new mom friends can be difficult, but as Jennifer Austin, a mom and author of Utah Mom Blog points out, you can't always take these things personally. Moms will sometimes avoid play dates - not necessarily because of you or you child - but because they are exhausted, she says. "So don't get overwhelmed or be too hard on yourself. Unless this becomes a normal response! Then you may need to adjust your approach," she says.
Mom groups are a great idea, Austin says, "but a lot of times you meet other moms in random places: the grocery store, the car wash, the children's clothing store. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation."
Austin contends that some of the best mom friends she's made have been at coffee shops.
"Sometimes moms stop there for a break, even with their kids, and our children will naturally begin talking to each other. Or I'll strike up a conversation with a mom about my age if I think we might have something in common. 'Oh how cute that dress is on your daughter! Where did you get it?'"
Other ideas for expanding one's social life include:
Hosting a rotating "mama and me" movie night, and inviting some of your child's friends and their mothers over for popcorn and a movie, says Lauren Miller, vice president of public relations at LeadershipGold4Women, which offers life and business coaching for women in Frisco, Texas. "The kids will enjoy a fun activity, while moms can slip into the kitchen and share some appetizers and girl talk. At the end of the night, suggest continuing the event on a rotating basis, and throw together a quick calendar of who's hosting when."
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Volunteering at day care, school, charities and church, which can be a great way to meet other like-minded mommies while "working toward providing value to a good cause," Miller advises. But you can't just do it once, she adds. "Commit to a few hours a week, and commit to striking up a good conversation each time you help out."
Bond at birthday parties. Shawn Ledington Fink, author of the Web site Awesomely Awake, an online village for busy mothers, says she doesn't drop her kids off for birthday parties.
"I stick around. I chat up the other moms. I seek out people who seem just as eager to connect."
More from GalTime:
- How to Help Your Kids Transition to a New Home
- How to Fight Fair with Your Best Friend
- Three Kids-Inspired Lessons to Live By
- The Dreaded School Project and the Over-Competitive Parent