A Little Help From Your Mom Friends
Making friends as an adult isn’t easy. After becoming a new mom, friendship can become even trickier. Motherhood can change your life in every way imaginable, and it can be hard to find time to stay in touch with old friends, let alone make new ones. But having a support group is good for not only your social life, but also your health—especially when navigating your new life after having a baby. Research has shown that people who have strong connections with other people actually live longer than people who don’t. Psychologists at Brigham Young University concluded that feeling lonely and isolated can pose a health risk double that of obesity and equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Other studies have found that people with strong friendships may have a lower risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. They are also happier, cope with challenges better, and are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. For new mothers, especially stay-at-home moms, having friends who can relate to the challenges of taking care of a newborn can make the transition to motherhood easier and less isolating.
How to Make Friends As a New Mom
Making new friends can be difficult at a time when you are learning how to take care of a newborn and spending most of your time changing diapers and tackling sleepless nights. If your child is a little older, it might feel like parenthood leaves no energy left for socializing. It will take some effort, but the rewards can be more than worth it. Try the following tips for sparking new friendships and expanding your social circle beyond you and your child:
- Join a group for new moms at your local hospital or clinic.
- Take your child to the park and strike up a conversation with another mom.
- Chat with other moms in an online network or support group.
- Make an effort to talk to other parents at playdates.
Getting yourself in the right mindset before you are in a situation where you will be meeting new people can improve your mood and make you feel more comfortable. For example, before going to the new moms group you joined, put on some music that makes you feel good or do some exercise. Then think about all of the qualities you like about yourself, and tell yourself that others will be excited to meet you and talk to you. Then make it happen!
The Art of Conversation
It might be easier than you think to start a conversation with a stranger, especially when you know from the start that you have something in common: being mothers to kids of a similar age. Try commenting on your surroundings and asking the other person a question. For example, you might say something like, “I didn’t know there would be so many people here. It’s good to know there are so many people in the same boat as me. Have you been to this group before?” But how do you build on the connection after the initial conversation? Remember to exchange contact information, and then follow up. You might begin by sending a text about something related to the event you attended or asking for a quick piece of advice related to your baby (“What brand of diapers do you use? I’m thinking about switching.”) Then move on to asking if they would like to meet up sometime. Keep it casual and friendly.
Friends Disappearing After You Have a Baby?
Just because you have a child now doesn’t mean you can’t continue to nurture your existing friendships as well. But sometimes, it can be a challenge for new moms to stay in touch with old friends, especially when those friends are not parents themselves. After all, you just don’t have the time to socialize that you used to, and your friends might want to do things that are not baby friendly, like go out for drinks or to nice restaurants. But there are still ways to make sure that these friendships don’t fall by the wayside.
- Plan ahead for low-key get-togethers, like a dinner gathering where everyone brings a dish.
- Invite a friend for an activity with you and your baby, like going for a walk to the park or going to the zoo. Your friend might appreciate the chance to spend some time with your little one.
- Ask friends for advice, even if they do not have kids. They might be able to give you a fresh perspective you hadn’t thought about.
- Remember to talk about old interests as well as new ones and make it clear you are still interested in your friends’ lives.
- When you are ready, find a regular babysitter for some grown-up time with your friends.