Apart from being a mom, having mom friends is another challenge I never thought I’d have. When you’re a new mom, it’s very easy to feel like you’re stretched too thin, with all your time consumed by the new little addition to your family. Having to add on new friendships, or maintaining existing friendships, can be challenging. Once I realized how special a good mom friend is, it made it all the more important to find someone that helps make my mom life even better. What is a mom friend? Well, my ideal mom friend is a unicorn of sorts. She’d have one, two, or even three kids the same age or close to my kids’ ages. All our kids would click and have fun playing together. She’d love to laugh and share all her kids’ crazy adventures and stories with me. We’d joke about our husbands and talk about how much we love them at the same time. We’d share mom fails and proud moments.
Most importantly, we’d be a collective soundboard of support and strength – through the good times and the bad.
Growing up, I never had a ton of friends. The teenage years were awkward for me, and I wasn’t part of many groups. During college, I made a few new friends, but commuting and working made it hard for me to take part in activities. Honestly, before kids, I was okay with it. But when I realized that having a mom friend was so empowering and positive for my children and me, I wasn’t as shy about trying to make new friends. Although I may not have a lot, the few very good friends I have now are like family to me, and I know they would help me and be there for me if my family or I ever needed it, as I would for them.
So how does one go about making mom friends? When I was first attempting to make a new friend, I was lost on how to start or where to go. I was a stay-at-home mom, so my oldest didn’t go to daycare. We had just moved to a new city, so the few friends I had were not around. Thankfully I had found that the library was a great place to socialize and try to make friends. Storytime at the library was our best place to find a mom friend. It almost felt like dating when trying to make a mom friend. I would observe all the kids playing together in the library to see if my kid got along with theirs and how they treated their children. Then, if I thought we could hit it off, I would muster the courage to say hello and invite them to play at the park sometime. Often, I was greeted with a happy yes, though many times plans would fall through.
On one occasion, we scored, and it seemed like we had made a great new best friend. The mom was chill, seemed to have similar values, and our daughters played well together and were the same age. It was my first friend in the new city and my daughter’s first friend. Quickly, we met up all the time and our girls even enrolled in preschool together. Although I was grateful to have this new friend, I did see some red flags here and there that made me want to step back a bit. Sometimes too much time together can be, well, too much.
Thankfully, my daughter and I met another new best friend. One day, I was running with my kids in our jogging stroller and saw another mom running with her stroller and kids. We both stopped at the same rest area and let our kids out, and they all played together happily. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I asked her if we could jog together sometimes with the kids? She happily agreed, and we had some great playdates. Her daughter even ended up at our preschool, so the three of them all played together and became the three amigos. It helped to have another friend, and my daughter was so happy to have two best friends.
When the pandemic hit, things changed dramatically.
My oldest was 4, her sister was 2, and I had just announced to them that I was pregnant with their brother and that we were moving back to Martinez. It was a good move for us, but t was hard to take my daughter away from her existing world. Preschool was closed, her friends were further away, and sadly when COVID was happening, one of the moms and I clashed on our views. So much so that we stopped communicating and even stopped being friends. I had tried to contact her a few times, but she rarely ever replied. It made me think, “Why would I try if she wouldn’t?” Sadly, our feelings got in the way of our daughters’ friendship. Thankfully, the other best friend did stay in contact, and we still meet with them to this day. It helped because we are both on the same page about dealing with the pandemic, but most importantly, she fully respects my views.
When we moved back to Martinez, we reconnected with my old friends, which saved me when I felt very alone. But my middle child was old enough to make her own friends, and my oldest was also ready to meet new friends. I needed to figure out how to make some more friends during a pandemic when socializing is not what it used to be. I knew more about what to look for when choosing our friends to play with, but this was a new challenge. I had to step out of my comfort zone by posting online and asking if any COVID cautious mamas might want to do a playdate outside. We got lucky and made a great friend whose children were the same age. We did many outdoor bike rides together, which turned our kids into taking outdoor classes together. I even lucked out when we got a free toy from our Martinez mom Facebook group. The mom and I struck a convo online and found out both our older daughters would be going to the same school and were the same age. We even had our girls FaceTime so they could meet when we weren’t comfortable meeting in person. We eventually started a POD dance class together.
While it is scary to put yourself out there, I think part of being a mom is that we are willing to do anything to help our children.
When other moms reached back out to me, they felt the same way. I will do anything for my children, and even during a pandemic, I wanted to do my best to find friends. I’ve learned so much since becoming a mom, and I know that I will continue learning and growing. The pandemic has been such a challenge to navigate and figure out what is the best and safest choice for my family. I owe a lot to my mom friends for helping me voice my concerns and also helping me see the light when things go dark. Having friends for support is so important, especially as a mom, and it also teaches our children that they can get through life’s challenges with support from their friends. We are not alone. I hope this gives you the courage to find your own unicorn mom friends or be reminded of how lucky we are to have them.