One of my biggest sanity savers is my arsenal of mom friends. After Emma was born, and I finally woke from the haze (well, let's be honest here—I'll never fully recover from the lack of sleep), I knew that if I was going to survive this thing called "motherhood," I needed to get me a posse of mom friends. I'll be the first one to say it, there are only so many rounds of peek-a-boo and hours spent roaming the aisles of Target that a person can take.
If you are finding yourself in the same situation, it's time to take action. Now is the moment! C'set la vie, or whatever.
Here are some of the best ways I have met other moms. And yes, I have done every single one of these.
Check out the playgroup. Babies up to 12 months can participate, and it's a great way to meet moms with babies that are the same age as yours. This is not the time to be choosy. Maybe some of the moms are older, younger, or have a funky style. The most important thing is that your kids are similar in age and they live within 5 miles of you.
While your babies are rolling around and drooling on each other, this is the perfect time to spark a conversation. Popular topics include:
- How and when to start solids
- Anything related to sleep deprivation
- What to do about a nasty case of diaper rash
Whatever you do, do not discuss the following:
- How hot you and your husband are for each other since becoming parents
- How easy it was to lose the baby weight
- The fact that your baby started sleeping through the night at birth
Pro tip: As the class draws to an end, suggest that you keep the giggles going by starting a playgroup during the same day and time. A local park is a great place to meet.
While Spreckles Park is not necessarily my favorite park in Coronado, it is undeniably the most happening place to be. It's easy to get intimidated by the swarms of children and tight mom cliques. Have no fear! If you look closely, there are moms there that are just like you (meaning: desperate for social interaction).
Again, you want to choose moms that have kids the same age as yours. I cannot stress how important this is. Not only will you have more to talk about, but your kids will likely be on a similar nap schedule, which is a make or break requirement for any lasting playdate.
The best way to approach a mom at the park is to:
- Compliment her on some part of her outfit.
- Compliment her (notice a trend here?) on how advanced her child seems. Even if this is not necessarily true, flattery will get you everywhere.
- Finally, ask her advice on something local: good restaurants to take kids to, the best schools in town, where to find a good babysitter ... anything.
You may not make a new friend right away, but keep showing your face and make sure to say hi to anyone you recognize. You'll know when the time is right to exchange digits or suggest a park playdate for next week.
Pro tip: Introduce some of the moms you already know to each other. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship (or at least a few hours of adult interaction).
3. Story Time at the
I just love at the library. I'll be honest and admit that neither one of my kids has ever been able to sit through an entire session, but that doesn't matter. It's what happens afterward that's important. All the kids come barreling out of the Story Time room and hit the puppet theater and stacks of puzzles. That's when you want to make your move. Here are a few suggestions to keep the interaction going:
- Tell your possible mom friend that you are going over to Spreckles Park to play after Story Time. Invite her to join you.
- Suggest a post Story Time playdate at the for next week. You can up the ante by pointing out that the walk over there is great exercise, too.
- Invite her to join you on an outing to when the kids are done playing. I know that from my experience, no kid or mom can resist the delicious fun of self-serve frozen yogurt.
Again, you may not make a love connection right away. Consistency is key. Keep going to the same Story Time, and again, make sure you say hi to every mom you know.
Pro tip: DVD rentals at the library are only 50 cents for an entire week. Even if you don't make a friend that day, you can take home some entertainment to get you through until the next Story Time.
This is perhaps the best way to meet other moms. You are all there with the same goal—to get in shape and make friends. It's a winning combination. Also, you all have kids that will tolerate sitting in a stroller for more than five minutes. This will certainly come in handy when you and your new friends venture out for playdates at places like the Zoo and Sea World.
Some great conversation starters (assuming you will have enough breath to converse) are:
- Which strollers are best for running or walking
- The pros and cons of Weight Watchers vs. Jenny Craig vs. Nutrisystem (I prefer Weight Watchers, btw)
- Any approved topics from the above list
Pro tip: Suggest that you and the other moms start a weekly playdate and/or exercise session.
5. Start Your Own Playgroup
This is probably the hardest option, but will yield the best results. I highly recommend using Meetup.com to start your own playgroup. I'm part of a few playgroups on the site, and I've been really impressed with the quality of moms that I have met. That being said, the part of this option that is the hardest is finding the right mix of moms. There will be a bit of trial and error, and things may be slow to start, but soon enough you will get in a groove. Here are some ways to make your playdate successful:
- Bring lots of snacks. Kids love to eat other people's food. Just make sure you get approval from the child's mother first.
- Bring lots of toys. Kids also love playing with other people's toys. Make sure you leave your child's favorites at home. You'll want to avoid any potential battles.
- Ask the other moms lots of questions and introduce everyone to each other. Don't worry if you are bad at remembering names. You can just blame good old sleep deprivation.
As important as it is to set yourself up for a great playdate, you also want to avoid certain things. Under no circumstances are you to:
- Refer to your child as a "biter."
- Make any reference to a recent illness or bout with head lice.
- Mention that your child is "gifted." Even if it's true, you will want to wait until more trust has been established before you reveal that little tidbit of information.
Pro tip: Start a Facebook page for your playgroup. You can make it private and by invite only. This would be a great way to encourage other moms to invite their friends to join.
That's it, moms! That's the best I've got. Follow one or all of these and you will be on your way to filling your social calendar and hosting the hottest playdates in town.