Being a mom is a hard journey to navigate alone. There are so many aspects of parenting that really benefit from sharing your experiences and comparing notes and being able to laugh about the insanity of it all, with others who can completely understand. There are things nobody says about trying to make mom friends, though; Things that can make it a far more challenging process than you might initially think it to be.
I have gone through a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding my mom squad. I have a group of friends who are also moms, but our kids are quite different in age. These women are amazing, but it can be hard for them to remember what it was like in the early years. Then there are the moms that I met during various playgroups, that were nice enough to chat with at the time, but we didn't really connect enough to remain friends as our kids grew older. Now that my daughter is in school, there are the moms of my daughter's friends, some of whom are nice enough, and others I have completely hit it off with. It's complicated, you guys. So complicated.
In the end, I really think the most important part of finding mom friends is finding those who share similar values and, at the very least, a few of the same interests. You can only talk about your kids for so long and having the ability to be real with someone is the best way to cultivate your friendship. Ultimately, you want your mom friends to actually be friends, right? So, with that in mind, here are 10 things no one will tell you about trying to make mom friends, but I will:
Just Because Your Kids Are The Same Age, Doesn't Mean You Will Have Anything In Common
This is actually the worst. You meet another mom and you think, "Perfect! Our kids are just a month apart, so we can hang out together all the time now." Then you find out that this mom is basically your polar opposite, and your conversations are awkward and stilted and you cry a little inside.
You Will Wonder If Your Parenting Choices Are Being Judged
You will see that your new mom friend cuts her kid's grapes still, and wonder if she judged you the last time she was over and you served uncut grapes. You will hear that her daughter no longer uses diapers at night, and wonder what she thinks of your daughter still needing diapers. All. The Emotions.
It Can Feel Like High School All Over Again
You will have a visit with another mom during a playdate and think, "She was great, I hope we do this again soon!" and you invite her over next week and she says she can't. Then you'll wonder whether she thought you were as awesome as she is, and question your life choices and eat a pint of ice cream. (Or maybe that was just me?)
You Will Judge Their Parenting Choices
You will tell yourself that this person is your friend, and you would never judge your friend but, eventually, they will do something that makes you raise your eyebrows. You will think to yourself, I would never do that. Of course, this will inevitably mean that you will need to reconcile those feelings with your budding friendship.
It Can Be Hard To Really Connect With Anyone
Making friends is hard pretty much all the time, if you ask me, but making friends with moms who are also trying to take care of their kids all the time (which is super demanding at even the best of times) is even harder. Real, grown-up conversations are a challenge, and when you're trying to get to know someone better, it can feel like there's just little-to-no opportunity to establish an authentic and meaningful connection.
Your Kids May Not End Up Getting Along
Clearly this isn't a problem when your kids are babies, but as they get older, it's entirely possible that they will end up hating each other. Bye bye, playdates.
Many Moms Come Across As Stand-Offish, But They're Really Just Shy
I mention this because I am one of these moms. I suck at small talk, and I suck even more at thinking of some way to start a conversation, so I generally bury my head in my phone or pretend to be deeply engrossed in what my child is doing, so as not to appear too awkward.
Admitting Something Embarrassing Is A Great Way To Connect
I remember when my daughter started kindergarten last year, and drop off and pick up were incredibly awkward with the other parents. I am all about embarrassing myself in the name of making others laugh, though, so I started sharing stories of my ridiculous parenting moments. Pretty much across the board, the responses I got were of the "thank god I'm not the only one" variety.
Wine Makes Everything Easier
I'm not advocating alcoholism here, I'm just saying that having a glass of wine while your kids play can relax both of you enough to laugh and joke, instead of exchanging facts about your kids. Playdates without wine are a travesty, if you ask me.
Pretending To Be Perfect Just Makes Other Moms Feel Inadequate, Because No One Is Actually Perfect
If you look around at all the "mommy blogs" out there, you'll notice that a major theme is "getting real about motherhood." Why, you ask? Well, because for some reason (society's unrealistic expectations), moms everywhere feel like they don't measure up to other moms. Every time I go over to another mom's house to drop my daughter off for a playdate, I berate myself for not keeping as clean a household as the mom hosting said playdate. If you're going to be friends, be real with each other and stop trying to impress them (or anyone else, for that matter).