Let’s face it…making friends as an adult isn’t easy. While meeting people can seem easy since there are so many events and things to do in Chicago, making friends is a lot harder. There’s a HUGE difference between meeting people and making friends.
Now let’s imagine trying to make new mom friends when you’re a new mom. Especially when your other adult friends don’t have kids or have older kids. For me, being a new mom (7 years ago) was wonderful and lonely all at the same time. There I was with a newborn that I adored and loved. But I was so new to this mom thing that trying to talk to someone who could understand or who is currently going through the ups and downs of motherhood was quite difficult.
I joined a few new mom groups hoping to meet other new moms to talk to. It was fun at first just to meet other women who had babies the same age as me….we were able to talk about their eating, sleeping, etc. But I never really formed real friendships with these women. You see, motherhood is not a one size fits all. Of course we’re all moms but we are different on how we see things or deal with things. On top of that, our lifestyles are different.
My expectations of making mom friends (before having Luke) was that it would be so easy. You’re a mom, she’s a mom…BAM! Now you’re friends. But in reality, that was not the case. I had a difficult time. I didn’t feel like my old self anymore. I started to get self conscious. And at times, I felt like I tried too hard or force myself to make friends when the connection wasn’t really there. Wow…this almost sounds like dating. LOL! But in all seriousness, I was a bit envious of the other moms who would meet and instantly hit it off. That wasn’t the case for me.
I wasn’t looking for someone who was exactly like me but I was hoping to find someone who can empathize with me and who may have some similar interests. I remember during a “play date” or get together and bringing up the idea of us moms taking a make-up class or a photography class. You should have seen the reaction from some of the ladies in the group. It felt as if I was saying they would look better in make-up. My intent was just to do something to pamper us as moms.
I realized that meeting new moms this way may not be for me. So I joined Instagram and stumbled upon accounts that shared about motherhood similar to the way I felt. I also found accounts that took beautiful pictures of their children or lives. (Note, this was the early days of Instagram, where the content felt and looked genuine. The app and the content has changed a lot over the past 7 years).
Slowly I started making connections on Instagram with other moms from all over the country (and world..and Chicago). We would share pictures each day with captions on what we did or how we felt. I was excited to see and hear from these moms every day. It felt good to be able to communicate with other moms on a daily basis (on an app!). I can honestly say I have made mom friends on the app. I even attended an Instagram “meet-up” in Chicago with some Chicago moms from Instagram. And somehow I started meeting other moms outside of the app…the moms at Luke’s daycare. It took awhile but I was finally able to say I had mom friends. We even had moms night out. Which is a pretty cool thing.
Last month, one of my friends from Instagram (Lauren) came to Chicago for a visit. We have been following each other for over 5 years and when we did, it felt like we had been friends beyond the app. We didn’t need to ask all the questions to get to know each other. We already did! We have kids around the same age. Lauren is a professional photographer but also takes self portraits with her daughter Maya.
I set up a fun “mom date” for me and Lauren. We attended a Flower For Dreams bouquet workshop. It was a great way to talk and learn how to make a bouquet. Afterwards we took tons of pictures of us with the bouquets since we both love to take pictures. If you’re looking for a good “mom date” idea, I highly recommend doing something similar to this!
Things I Would Tell My “New Mom” Self on How to Make Mom Friends
I’m sharing a few things I’ve learned along the way that I would love to tell my “new mom” self. I’ve given a few pointers to some of my friends who are new to motherhood, which has been received fairly well. I hope this list will help any new mom navigate her motherhood journey (especially with meeting new friends).
- Be patient. Not all friendships start right from the first meeting. We are all still figuring out this motherhood thing. So we may not all be ready to meet new people at the same time.
- Be yourself. It’s okay to show and talk about your vulnerabilities.
- Don’t be afraid to be judged. If you feel that you are judged, then it’s probably not the best fit.
- Find other outlets to meet friends that may share the same interest. In my case, I found Instagram to be a great source.
- Start the conversation first/find commonalities. After a few meetings with the daycare moms, I found the courage to strike up a conversation with them. We talked about our kids first and then the conversations eventually turned to what we do.
- Be patient. Did I mention that already? Friendships take a lot of time to form. I didn’t meet my “mom group” until Luke was 4 years old. It took awhile but eventually I found my tribe.