You have surely heard bloggers and the like use the phrase "find your tribe." When I first heard people say this I thought smugly, "what do they mean? I am a grown woman with a ton of friends, why would I need to find new friends?" Ha! Well once we moved to the suburbs and had a baby I understood real quickly. As of now, I am on the hunt for my mommy tribe.
The transition from being you, a solitary being, to being mommy is a radical shift. At first and even at times now, motherhood can feel terribly isolating. I talk to my long time friends daily and rely on family to feel less alone. I have found something uniquely comforting about spending time with women who have children around the same age as Mary Clare.
First and foremost, my friends from growing up and from college are my OG tribe. I ask them for advice, share my successes and go to them when I need help with my failures. Sadly for me, my best friends live in other towns and cities between and hour to several hours away. So while we talk regularly, sometimes even daily, the distance makes it hard to get together as often as we'd like. In addition to my friends, I have my family. Many of whom are local or not more than an hour or two away. I lean on my family as much as I need and I am incredibly grateful for that.
However, I have felt something is missing. So over the past few months, I've started to actively seek out women in my area that have young children. Oh dear, even saying that sounds so awkward. The whole process is awkwardly funny because making new friends as an adult is totally like dating. You meet someone, you introduce yourself (and your kid) and try to make conversation. Much like picking up a cute guy (wow it's been a while), you meet some duds and some winners and then there are those that seem like they're awesome but turn out to be duds too! I wonder who thinks I'm a dud??
Then you have to make your move and ask if maybe she might want to meet for coffee or a drink. Then maybe you'll even ask for her number? Have I found my new bestie yet? No, but I have met some really nice women that I connect with and want to spend more time with. I'm basically playing the field right now.
I want to share the specific steps I've taken to make new friends.
1. TAKE TO SOCIAL MEDIA!
I'm a member of a Facebook group for Moms in my town. Another mama posted in the group that she was looking for a class to take her infant to. Tons of moms replied that they were also interested and someone said "why don't we all get together?" The rest is history. We now meet up weekly at each others houses. We are a group of 25 women. We are never all there, moms come when they can. This week we are having our first kid free cocktail party! I'm still getting to know the ladies and I can feel already some moms are more "my people." Regardless, I love having a standing date to get together with some new friends!
**Most towns or neighborhoods have Mom Facebook groups. For example - search: Upper West Side Mom's. Just search for it and then join.**
2. LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS: Look into what your community has to offer to new mothers. Check out mommy and me programs or music classes. Many offer a free trial! See if your town has a welcoming club. It's pretty likely that your church or rec center has a program for new moms. Get on your laptop and get googling! I go to a weekly playgroup at a local church. Through this group of moms, I have met some really nice women and we have had a few girls nights already!
3.PEANUT APP: Peanut shows you likeminded mamas near you and makes it easy to meet. This app is very similar to the recent dating apps like Hinge and Bumble but...it's for mamas! I just joined a few days ago so I haven't met anyone yet but I am excited to see where it takes me.
4. REACH OUT: Who do you know that lives in your community? I know a lot of women that are older than me by like 3-6 years. Some of my best friends had older sisters in town. My sister in law introduced me to people. I had to step outside what felt comfortable and reach out to meet up with people.
I have either forgotten how to make friends or I just never had to try this hard when I was younger. Either way, the whole process is far outside of my comfort zone. It's strange because I feel like I'm totally exposed and putting myself out there when I text someone out of the blue or walk up to a stranger. Yet every single time I've done it, I have been pleasantly surprised. Here is what's been very relieving...adult women I have met are <GASP> warm and kind. Have I found my new bestie? No, or maybe I have and I just don't realize yet. What is for sure is that I have met so many women I'm really enjoying spending time with.
So make a point of it to step outside of your comfort zone. Ask that mom you always smile at to grab a smoothie. Introduce yourself to the woman you see at the park every week and see if she wants to go for a stroller walk. You are awesome and we would all be lucky to have you as a friend! Take a deep breathe, smile and remember, she is just as nervous as you are!