Ever since becoming a mom five years ago, I've been lucky enough to find some fabulous mom friends. I can message them with dumb questions and get patient answers; freak out to them about my child's fever (that I was stupid enough to Google) and get reassurance; share as many photos of my kid as I want without judgment. The twist? My mom friends are probably 90 percent online. I wanted to ask other moms where and how they met their mom friends, as I've always bee somewhat awed and mystified by mothers who have a plethora of mom friends in their not-online lives. In asking, however, I found that I was not alone: lots of those moms I surveyed said the majority of their parenting community is accessed long-distance through social media. Oh, internet. Is there anything you can't do?
It's not that I'm not interested in making mom friends in real life, it's just that, well, I feel like I have the friends I need already (for the most part). It just so happens that those friends, by and large, have not had kids yet or do not want kids ever. Obviously we're still friends and hang out so their procreation choices (and mine) are no reason to end cherished friendships. The truth of the matter is, however; I am a mom and I am compelled (and want to) do mom things pretty frequently. I love my child-free friends and I know they would do anything for me, but it's because of that unwavering loyalty and unparalleled friendship that I would never in a million years ask them to do parent things, like go to a stage show of a children's TV program with me. I'm not a monster, after all.
Who would ever dream of doing that to someone without kids? Still, that doesn't eliminate my desire to be able to attend such an event with another adult to whom I can talk and commiserate. This is where mom friends come in super-handy. So I reached out to my online mom tribe to see where they discovered their mom friends (IRL and otherwise).
"I joined the newcomers group in my town. Since we are a short distance from NYC a lot of folks get pregnant and move to the burbs! (Like us.) We all bitch about how much we miss our old lives but love the space we have."
"I was so lucky in that my core group of friends all had babies at the same time. I also met them at Gymboree and through preschool. And of course, my Birth Month mom group."
The interwebs, yo. Obviously [my] birth month group, but then I joined local parenting groups and tried play date meet ups. But, as a working mom, all those playgroups failed me once my maternity leave was over. The best parenting friends on a local level have come from the daycare and preschool where my kids go. And then those people introduced me to their people and the group widened. Something about finding parents who made the same choices in child care made it an easier bonding experience, I found I enjoyed a lot of the other moms and we had a lot in common. Since I'm working all week, I needed parents who were also weekend only kids of people. Found them.
"Work. When I started at my current workplace, my office was next to two other women my age with kids my daughter's age; we also had a few other moms in the department and bonded quickly. Preschool, old friends, and my birth month mom group, of course!"
"An online mom group on Facebook, a few I have I met through work a few years ago, and another because our husbands are best friends and always wanted to hang out. Now we hang out without them."
Old friends, former coworkers, Mommy & Me classes, and (eventually) the kids' school. My closest mom friend and I met at a random park outing. Well, I met her husband at a random park outing and he set us up on a play date.
"My best mom friends I met on the web. I used to be sort of coy about sharing that, but now I scream it from the rooftops to new moms. I've also been a part of a really cool group of moms at my office. We meet for play dates and also get to talk about growing our careers. I met a few moms in a breastfeeding support group at the hospital. Also my neighbors are awesome."
"I thought it was really hard to meet other moms. I met a few through a mom's group I found out about at the hospital, and eventually I joined MOMS Club International. Tried to follow up with a few of my kids' friends' parents from daycare/preschool as well. Now kids have lots of friends, and mommy has lots of acquaintances, but still not many close friends. Some of my closest mom friends have been people that I've seen maybe once or twice (or not at all!) in the past year, and we talk primarily through emails. These have been friends from high school, college, and pre-baby life that all live far away but have been going through this stage of life with me. I have found wonderful support through these connections, but face-to-face friendships have been tougher to establish."
My daughter was born with a congenital heart defect, and I met some wonderful fellow 'heart moms' through our hospital and Facebook groups, and I consider them some of my closest friends.
"I think it's luck — in Pittsburgh I had the best mom friends in the world. We were all in the right place at the right time (the Jewish Community Center) when our babies were little. We moved when my oldest turned one. She's five now, and we're in this area to stay, and I haven't found friends like that at all."
"I have to say that I am super lucky that I have had friends and co-worker friends going through parenthood around the same time, so that has been amazing for us to share tips and have play dates. Also, my online mom group for babies born around the same time has been amazing for emotional support and just talking about random non-child related things; bonus being able to meet a few of them in 'real life.' Now that my five year old is going to Kindergarten, I might try to meet some parents of kids she's become friends with eventually."
Since I moved to the U.K. [from the U.S.], punkymoms.co.uk. They have a U.S. branch, too, which is the original. I've made incredible friends that way. I think I'm really open to online friends because I picked my husband up that way, back in '99.
"I guess we met like two or three couples with similarly aged kids at church, [but we haven't really] met anyone new as a mom friend. Most of our mom friends are friends who happened to become moms at the same time. Though I will say that we have reconnected with friends we had drifted away from simply by virtue of them becoming parents."
"Through my husband! He was a stay-at-home dad for the first two years and, when we moved to Boston, he joined a local German-Moms meet-up group and took our older son to the library a lot for singalongs. Between those two is where we met most of our local family friends. I have a few other 'mom' friends who are really just friends who also happened to become parents at similar times, but most of them are online friends at this point, since we moved away from NYC."
The Bump FOREVA! It morphed into many different groups.
"I am lucky that I have a lot of my school friends and friends from my twenties that still live local to me. Most of us have become moms in the last seven years or so, so most of my mom friends are also my friends from high school and friends from my twenties that happen to be moms. I also the best birth month board for my daughter and consider them friends that I met solely through motherhood."
"The internet, of course! But in real life, story time, classes, and school. Hmm, I didn't really maintain those IRL friendships once the scheduled activities were done, though."
A local mom board — we started a playgroup for the nannies and eventually had some meet ups on the weekend. It was a great way to meet other working moms. Also met some through lactation support groups.
"Baby groups, the internet, swimming lessons, and pre-school."
"My birth month mom group of course and then outside of that has been preschool and neighborhood friends."
Online or mommy networking (I know this person, she knows that person, etc... we had a weekly playgroup going for a while).
"Most of my IRL mom friends came from my bible study group. And obviously, my online mom group moms!"
"My son's preschool. I'll be honest: I did not click with most of the other moms there. But there is one woman who has been my friend for a while now and the funny thing is, on paper, we are so totally opposites. Like, if we had seen each other on, like, a Mom Tinder or something we totally would have swiped left. Goes to show you just never know who you'll get along with.
Oh, and also online mom groups: that's probably the biggest one. Even though I have never met most of them, they're still 'my mom friends.' It's actually weird to think of parenting without them there."