This week, I'm lucky enough to have a fire-dancing, baby-wearing mama (not at the same time!) teach me how to make mom friends. A guide I sorely need. Thank you, Farren Square.
Mom friends. Every mom needs at least one mom friend, another woman with children who can be there for you through the ins and outs of life with kids. Mom friends give us an excuse to get out of the house, a reason to drag babies to the coffee shop or a walk to the park. Mom friends listen to us vent, they understand there is love underneath all that sleep deprivation. Mom friends can be even more important for a Stay at Home Mom - they give us a connection to the outside world, another grown up to laugh at our jokes and understand why we complain about not being able to go to the bathroom alone.
It took me personally about two months as a stay at home mom to go completely insane from the boredom. Don't think that life was a breeze or anything, but I'm just not the type to watch TV much and since sitting around was my favorite pregnancy pastime, I was pretty over it. Did I mention this was in the dead of winter and I live in a frozen northern tundra land (aka Canada)? I needed an excuse to get out, I needed someone to talk to during day light hours, and I needed to be able to tend to my kid without guilt -- I needed other mom friends. I went on a quest, and I was lucky enough to find some truly amazing women, who also happened to be moms. Here is my story of how I found success as a new mom befriending other new moms to maintain my sanity:
-I started looking online. Blogging has been an incredible source of support, friendship, information, and entertainment. There is an incredible network of intelligent women who are sharing their points of view on parenthood out there. They have powerful things to say, and for the most part, are incredibly humble and supportive. Twitter was another amazing source of online mom-friends. We share pictures in real time, live blog the ins and outs of our sometimes hectic sometimes monotonous days, and support each other in 140 characters or less. Twitter is like mass-texting a huge group, so often your questions "Omg, my kid just swallowed a pound of glitter glue - what do I do?!" get answered right away.
-I stalked the coolest library with the coolest children's section. It doesn't matter that my baby doesn't understand story time or has no recollection of the library 10 minutes after we leave. What matters is that I get to hang out in an area downtown where crying babies are totally acceptable, he gets to stare at other kids, I have brief moments of intellectual conversation with moms who read books, and there is a trendy local coffee shop near by. Plus they gave us a free book when I signed my kid up for a library card.
-I remain open-minded at all costs, and I do not try to offer advice unless it's clearly being sought. I'm passionate about many things in life, but some of those things are only in my life. I talk about them openly, but I support all mothers and the choices they make. If you are looking for positive and supportive mom friendship, I think it is vital to both display and seek these qualities. You won't be disappointed.
-There are playgroups out there to be found. Sometimes you can find them through local health centres, through support groups like the LLL, or you can use great online resources like www.meetup.com When I simply typed Mom and my area into meetup.com, I found over 15 different groups I'd be interested to try out. Or you can make your own meetup and see if you get any biters!
-You have to Step outside your comfort zone. You have to be prepared to be the one to strike up a conversation at those playgroups. You might need to be the mom that marches up to that other mom at the playground with the great shoes and the awesome bag and say hi. You might even have to be the one that says "Here's my number, text me later - let's get coffee." Because why the hell not! Let me assure you, I'm not generally the type of person to be so open and brash when meeting strangers. But I've done it. I had some random mom send me an e-mail about my blog, noticed she was local and arranged a day to meet with her at the library. Another day I was out for a walk and ran into another mom with the same idea. I said her baby looked cute, she complemented my baby carrier - it was mom love at first sight. How could I let that go without a phone number? If we decide to meet and the mom friend sparks don't fly, it really doesn't matter. But if the mom friend sparks DO fly, I won't have regretted my brazenly asking for her contact information.
The fact of the matter is that sometimes you just need someone, anyone, to fill that adult-time hole in your life. Chances are most of the mom friends you meet won't change your life or become your new BFF, but I'm willing to bet that you'll laugh a little, talk about your baby a lot with absolutely zero remorse, and feel better knowing your days aren't just a repetitive baby-centered affair. And if you really put yourself out there, look in the kind of places where you want to spend time, and keep an open mind - you might just meet a new MFF. Mom Friend Forever. Oh yes. I went there.
Farren Square. Go check her out. It's one of the best-written blogs I've come across!
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