Mums guide to Making Friends
So you have children now?
It is a common issue these days, you get married and decide when the time is right, that you’ll move out to the country and have a couple of children. Or you stay where you are, have children and suddenly find that you’re no longer in touch with your childless friends from your pre-mummy past. This situation leaves many new Mums feeling isolated and for many, lonely for the first time in their adult lives.
Don’t despair! There are plenty of other Mums in the same boat. Whether you’re a first time Mum or you’ve recently moved to new area, there are many ways to connect with likeminded Mums where you are. Just because your child attends a nursery or school doesn’t mean that you’ve made friends at the school gates. Some Mums are facing low self-esteem after leaving the working world and not quite sure how to break into the world of play dates, birthday parties and baby groups. All Mums have their reasons for seeking out friendship from other Mums in similar situations, whatever the reason this guide should help you on your way to making more friends as soon as you’re ready!
Unlike the dating game, finding and making new Mummy friends isn’t nearly difficult. Some of the best friendships are built around children, common interests and family. A far cry from the club-hopping, bestie days of your youth. You are looking for someone who understands family life, has been there through the late nights with a sick child, the weaning, the nappies and the untidy house. Your new friends will come in all shapes and sizes, you may even surprise yourself as you discover how first impressions mean nothing as you find yourself making friends with Mums you may previously have felt you had little in common with.
All of this sounds wonderful however, this does not make it any less scary when it comes to diving in head first and heading out into the world of making your very own ‘Mum friends’. From the time you are pregnant and for the foreseeable future, you’re living in the ‘parent zone’ and you want to share your experiences with others in a similar situation. From birth classes to mother and baby groups, school playground to clucking your way into your child’s PTA at the local school – it’s going to be full of hurdles and triumphs. So what can you do to make the whole process as painless as possible in the hopes that you may find your ideal Mummy friends? Take these tips into account and you’ll be well on your way to making some lovely new Mummy friends.
Top tips for meeting other Mum’s
You certainly won’t meet any new Mums if you never leave the house! Set a target for yourself to get out and about, join local Mum and baby or toddler groups and get socialising. If you don’t particularly fancy one group, don’t go back, there are not rules stating that once you go, you have to keep going. Find the group that suits your personality and where you feel most comfortable.
New friends won’t come looking for you, you need to seek them out in places where you can all relax and chat in neutral surroundings without the fear of being judged on how tidy your home is or how well you host a coffee morning. Once you have met a Mum or two who you feel you would like to get to know better, then you can arrange get-togethers in each other’s homes.
The more regularly you attend your favourite groups, the faster you’ll become seen as a regular. That means that when new Mums attend and look like a fish out of water, you know how they’re feeling and can take the opportunity to make them feel welcome creating an instant connection that you may be able to build on.
Plan a week or so in advance, if you’re still at home it can be good to make plans to get out and about, to meet other Mums as many days in the week as you can manage. The more you do it, the more Mum’s you’ll meet and the greater the opportunity to meet your ideal Mummy match.
If you work, you may feel as though you’re missing out on the traditional weekly meet up’s that other Mums are taking part in. If you work part-time, make socialising with other Mummies a priority, if you don’t you’ll never get out of the house. If you work full time, look into weekend baby or toddler groups, there are some that have been set up specifically for working Mums, a great place to meet and talk about balancing work with family life, you’ve got things in common already!
If you feel that you’re lacking in confidence and are not sure what to say to a new Mum that you meet along the way, it can be good to start practicing your conversations skills. Talk to all those you meet during your day, the post office clerk, the nursery worker, the checkout guy or the deli counter staff, it is all good practice.
If you do happen to meet a Mum that you’re getting along well with, why not ask her right then and there if she will be attending again next week or if she’d like to meet up at another venue for a cuppa and a chat. She may be hoping that you’ll ask but may not feel confident enough to do so herself. If she declines then that is one less Mum to worry about. You may want to have some ‘Mummy cards’ printed with your name and number on them, perhaps your child’s name too. That makes it easy to exchange contact details and if they want to pursue the friendship, you’ve given them the opportunity to make the next move.
It may seem strange at first, approaching another woman with the hopes of striking up a friendship based simply on the fact that you both happen to be mothers. The process gets easier and easier though each time you do it and with practice you’ll ooze confidence and an approachable manner. Try to find a way to remember the names of the Mum’s you meet and equally as important, the names of their child or children. This demonstrates that you have made an effort to connect with them, they may be more open to exploring the friendship further if they feel welcomed by you.
Finally, be prepared! Nothing is more uncomfortable than introducing yourself and then lacking the follow through to continue the conversation. Here are some great little conversation starters to build on.
✔ Compliment a Mum on her baby/child
✔ Ask about her baby or child, age, siblings etc…
✔ “Do you like coming here” or “how long have you been coming”
✔ “What other places do you like to go to, I am a little stuck for ideas….”
✔ Ask about other children they may have and how old they are
✔ Ask for a recommendation for other groups or places to go
✔ Encourage your children to interact, that may encourage another meet up
✔ Ask about childcare, nursery or school – does the Mum work?
✔ Ask the Mum’s name and introduce yourself at the same time
Eventually your baby will start school and you’ll be in that same situation again or if your child is already at a school and you want to be more sociable, get started and good luck.
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