The plush over-sized chair doesn’t feel as comfortable as it used to but at least the mocha is still oh so satisfying. You lightly massage your aching shoulders as you sit in the corner of the coffee shop, eagerly anticipating your long lost friend to show-up. You didn’t mean to lose touch with your friend, it’s just that between work and the baby and this and that well, you’ve lost touch. But this is going to be great, this catching up over coffee, just like the good old days. You look down and your sweet little one is sleeping peacefully in their infant carrier. You know that you have 30 minutes tops before the peace ends. Your friend shows up and after she properly ooh’s and awe’s over the baby, the two of you start conversing and it goes something like this:
You: “So what have you been up to? I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages!”
Non-mom friend: “I know, I don’t even know where to start! Well last night I went to a new bar that just opened and I met this guy! He is so-so looking but he has a great job! We hung out until 3am. I think maybe it could go somewhere. We’re supposed to go to dancing tonight, I can’t wait! I’ll tell you more about it later but first I want to hear about you! How is being a mom? I can’t believe that you are a mom!”
You: “It’s amazing. I mean, being a mom a lot of work but it is one hundred percent worth it. The pumping is the worst though. I literally feel like a cow. And then there’s the middle of the night feedings and all those diapers!! I didn’t know little people could poop so much!”
Non-mom friend: “hmmmm Yeah, crazy.”
You: “In just a few months though I’ll be able to switch the baby to cow’s milk and I can’t even put into words how much I’m looking forward to it!”
Non-mom friend: “That’s exciting.”
At this point you notice that your friend has a distant, slightly repulsed look on her face. You are losing her with all the baby talk. You start to completely change the subject but are interrupted by your baby whimpering and within seconds your little one is wailing like a mandrake. You decide to seek this as an opportunity to win your friend back so you take your baby out of the infant carrier and hold her out to your friend to say hello. And although you have good intentions, this turns out to be a futile move. In the blink of an eye your baby has projectile vomited all over your friend’s ensemble. You meekly try to clean her up with a burp towel while apologizing but there is no hope in salvaging the situation. You exchange an awkward good-bye and offer to meet up for dinner soon after you’ve arranged for a sitter.
As time goes on and you grow more accustomed to being a mom and doing mom things you realize that you are irrevocably different. This change causes you to relate to the world in an new way and it is through this paradigm shift that you find your relationships with others altered. It’s good to keep the old friends but you realize that you need some new friends that you can share your mom side with.
You need a mom friend.
A lot goes into making mom friends. Not only do you have to like the other mom but it helps to have your children be around the same age or at least the same sex. It also helps if the kids get along with one another. It’s no good if a prospective mom friend’s child pulls a Mike Tyson on your kid. In other words, there’s a lot of match-making going on when trying to establish a mom friend. It takes not just effort but compatibility. Here’s a prime scenario to score a new mom friend:
The sun is shining and it’s the kind of day that is practically singing “Go to the park! Have some fun in the sun!” It’s the perfect day for a play date but for whatever reason, you don’t have anyone to call up but yeah, you’d like this fact to change pronto. Your child walks like Frankenstein and wreaks havoc on a room like a Tasmanian devil. Nothing in the house is safe. If you turn your back for a second your kid has either cleared off the bookshelves like they’re on Supermarket Sweep or they have developed a new kind of body art where they stick their hand in their diaper and paint all over the floor with their feces, a.k.a. bodily function art. So you grab your little person before they can cause mayhem and head out to the nearest park. You’ve driven by it a million times and seen loads of kids playing it up. You know what park I’m referring to; it’s the one where you’ve seen those mom’s casually visiting with one another. They know one another and their kids play together. You want to be one of them, but how? Here’s how, and be sure to pay attention closely because every step is crucial in scoring a mom friend.
1. Scope out the situation. Your little tyke heads straight for the swings and this is actually perfect because you can push your kiddo while scoping out the prospects. At first inspection you see a mom sitting on a bench giving a kid around age 6 or so some crackers. This is a no go because your children are too far a part in age. You are not to the point in motherhood where you can sit on a bench and relax; you are on the go, go, go! and if you look away for even a millisecond your child may start eating wood chips and wouldn’t that make bodily function art time even more fun! So you keep scanning the area and over by the toddler slides you see an affable mom with a child around the same age as yours, going down the slide repeatedly. Perfect. It’s time to move in.
2. The conversation starter. The best way to start a conversation with a potential mom friend is to compliment their child. Find something that you like about the kid. Don’t lie, it’s unnecessary; for the most part all kids have some complimentary trait that is easily noted. Go for saying something nice about the child’s eyes or hair. Clothes are a good choice too because then you’re basically complimenting the mom for how they dress their kid. If you can’t zone in on one thing then just pick something all-encompassing like he/she “is so adorable!” . Every respectable parent thinks that their kid is the cutest little person in the entire universe so trust me, throwing out a compliment to start off with really gets the friendly vibes flowing.
3. Nonchalantly ask probing questions. Now it’s time to get some information. Introduce yourself and your child and you will surely get their names in exchange. From there you can start asking some questions but make sure you do it in a friendly and considerate manner; you don’t want to interrogate your potential mom friend. Ask things like: When is your child’s birthday? Do you live nearby? Do you come to this park often? But don’t start bragging about your kid and how they are already doing this or already doing that. Who wants to be friends with a one upper? While you are talking you must also be simultaneously paying attention to the children. Encourage your child to go down the slide with the other kid. Parallel play is key. Before you know it the kids are having a great time and you are participating in some healthy adult conversation. You are safely on your way to making a mom friend.
4. Get some digits. It’s time to seal the deal. You like this mom and your kids get along well. You can’t let this mom get away!! At this point you know that she goes to the park regularly and you’ve found out that she takes her kid to the pool a couple times a month. You have to be bold now. Tell her you would love to have a play date and sweetly suggest that the two of you exchange phone numbers and get together SOON!
5. Follow-Up. How long do you wait to set-up a play date? I don’t believe that there is a socially acceptable amount of time to wait with play-dating a mom friend. I only think that you shouldn’t wait too long. So yeah, how about a day or two later you call her up and schedule a play date at the pool during family swim time. Your kid is excited to see their new friend again and you?
You have a mom friend.
You can follow Ellie Angove on her Twitter.
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