10 Tips for Making Mom Friends

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mom-friends

Seven years ago, I passed a mom a note that said: “Will you be my friend? Circle yes, no, or maybe.” Not really. But my palms were as sweaty as a middle schooler’s passing a note folded with origami perfection to her latest crush. But the stakes were so much higher this time. If she rejected me, she rejected my son–my perfect, new boy. If she said thanks but no thanks, she probably thought I was a bad mother or a needy mother or an (insert adjective here) mother. If she circled maybe, it meant I still had to prove myself to her, and I was just too tired to prove anything. I regretted asking her to be my friend the second the stupid words tumbled out of my mouth. But then she said, “yes.” YES!

We had our first lunch date with our little ones in tow. They were tiny and sleepy in their carriers. We all hit it off.

I had a person. A like-minded comrade. Chemistry.

When lunch ended, we went our separate ways.

What next? What were the rules of this game? Would she call? Should I? Was this exclusive?

There aren’t any guidebooks for making mom-friends, but thankfully we figured it out. In case you haven’t, here are some tips for making mom friends..

1. Use the Children. You spotted her at the playground, and you can’t stop thinking about about the way she handled her toddler’s tantrum. You’re swooning over her packed lunch in non-BPA nesting bowls. Her baby wrap was flawlessly tied. Does she feel the same way about you? Throw your child into the sandbox with her little one to find out. Now causally make mom talk. “Isn’t she adorable?” Before your love interest leaves, tell her how much your little one adores her cherub. Reel her in. And boom. It begins.

2. Practice Momogamy (at first). There is nothing more awkward than being the third wheel at a party of inside jokes. Try one-on-one play-dates until the two of you are comfortable adding another and another and another. Before you know it, you’ll be calling yourselves a book club and serving wine.

3. Be Exhibitionists. Play in public. For conversation starters there will be plenty of other moms and their children to mock. No. Do not do that. If that sounded like a good idea, this isn’t going to work. Find a public place on neutral territory. The last thing you want is to hit it off with your mom crush only to have the kids marking their territory (with urine or saliva) and asserting ownership “That’s mine!” “No! Mine!” on every surface including each other.

4. Don’t ask her about that stain. By stain I mean any stain on her person or in her home (if you made it that far). No good will come of calling attention to the baby mucus on her pocket. And if the stain is in her home, you may as well call her an unfit mother and slam the door on your way out. Don’t do it if you want another date, and you do. You want another date. These dates preserve your sanity!

5. Don’t hit her up to babysit. You’re not in the market for a caretaker here, you’re looking for a friend. A surefire way to sink this ship is to ask this mother to take care of your children. She’s got enough going on with her own. Did you notice those stains?!

6. Split before dinner. If dinnertime at your house always runs smoothly, please don’t tell me or anyone else. Your potential mom friend may not be so lucky. Scratch that, if she lives in the world of toddlers, she’s not. It’s nothing short of herding feral cats when the dinner plates touch the table. Get out before she has to explain herself.

7. Make a move. Call! You’re knee deep in laundry. The kids have been crying all day. You’ve got a mortgage payment of late fees for the library. You’re hungry. Your son scored a touchdown. Your daughter is forward-facing now. Call. A person who relates to this, all of this, is what you’re looking for. Call.

8. Use your words. Big into attachment parenting? Trying the Cry it Out Method? Vegetarian? Avoid citing the latest research or any research, really. It’s not a job interview. And while we all understand there’s an impulse to show you still have at least two functioning brain cells, save the MLA citations for another time. Use your own words.

9. Leave the Exes at the door. It’s probably not the time to hate on your previous mom fails. Unload on the hubs until this friendship takes root.

10. Know when to cut and run. Ladies, not every relationship is meant to be. The beauty of having children is that you have a built-in excuse. It’s always nap time somewhere. Is that a hive on your child’s cheek? Did you forget her favorite snack? Did you see your son’s nose run? There’s no shame in it.

Of course, when you know it’s meant to be, it is. When you enter the friend zone, and you’ve had a candlelit dinner for two or a couples massage, by all means forget the rules. Congratulations. It’s true love!

Related post: The Rules for Visiting a New Mom

Comments

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  1. 8

    Maura Conway says

    I'd also add "beware the competitive parent" who brags about how advanced theirs are.. great list. I've been a colossal failure at this but some of us just are not friend material ;)

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  2. 11

    says

    Imagine how hard it is as a stay at home Dad when you seem to be largely excluded from the online parenting club. I’m only half joking – it has become a source of personal irritation that a large proportion of online bloggers use the term ‘mum’ when they seem to mean primary care giver. :¬/

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    • 12

      says

      Jon, I feel your pain. My man is a stay-at-home dad. Fortunately, he has yet to delve into the “mommy blogosphere”, which I think was created just to make everyone else either (1) feel less alone, or (2) feel like crap for not being a shiny, happy, well-groomed parent, singing from the treetops about how rosy life is, all whilst producing Pinterest-worthy bento box lunches for their perfect cherubs. But that’s my gripe. What I really want to know is how you made the nose on your emoticon…

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    • 16

      says

      Jon, I hear you. When I say mom, I really mean me and hope it resonates (bc I can’t assume to know how all moms behave, think, feel). I’m sure it’s frustrating to share the same sentiments but feel left out because of word choice. It’s much like using “he” as the go-to preposition. Tough spot. I’m happy to have you in the SAH circle, though.

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  3. 17

    says

    I met my first, and best, mom friend when our daughters became friends in the first grade. Our girls drifted apart, but we remained close. We had a great run… almost 10 years, before she passed away almost two years ago.

    Now that my kiddos are teens, I don’t have those kinds of “mom friends”. My friends tend to be other writers. I do miss having friends with kiddos the same ages… Which is why I like hanging out here. :)

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    • 18

      says

      I think it’s a lot harder making friends when your kids are teens. After all, you aren’t just hanging around attentively watching the kids – it’s more of a drag and drop process. My blogger friends are usually my go-to resource, but it’s weird being the old grey-haired working Mom (grandma, actually!) in a gene pool of young SAHM Moms of mostly toddlers. I do like the let’s be friends – circle yes or no idea.

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    • 21

      says

      Why is that desperate cause we don’t want to be around our family 24/7? Not only that but like myself I have moved 5 times in the last 10 yrs and it’s hard to make friends when you get older. And situations change like out of my old friends, only 1 has a kid and we can relate. All the others have to much drama and I am not interested in their single life and vise versa.

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  4. 24

    says

    Sometimes you have to. If you have moved house, or moved on from your single or married but not parents friends, you cant always wait to see if a friendship randomly develops. You might not even run regularly run into the same set of parents at things like library reading hour or the school yard often enough for that to be a possibility.

    I moved last year, have joined the PTA equivalent and attended every other voluntary thing at school that i could justify, and collected phone numbers and matched mom name and face to kid name attentively. But the first actual friend of my own was the other foreign mom, because we were the two left standing alone when everyone else is talking to people they already know. They are only here this year though. :(

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  5. 28

    says

    If I find a mom that I think would be a good friend, I invite their family over for dinner. Who doesn’t want free dinner?! It’s a good chance to get to know somebody better. Or if the weather is nice (I live in the frigid North), I’ll invite them during the day to a park with a picnic lunch or something. It’s worked great for me so far!

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