The day I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was sitting in a hotel room in a city I’d lived in for precisely 18 hours. I didn’t know a soul other than my husband let alone a good OBGYN. I hadn’t even decided what house to buy but you can bet it would now be based on the best school district in the area. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. I felt pretty alone at one of the most monumental times in my life.
Fast forward 10 months. I have a new house and a new baby an now I know about 3 people. I am still alone wandering through my days with just my daughter. It seemed impossible to reach out and make friends. All I wanted to do was talk to another adult but it seemed impossible to reach out and make friends. The random person at the grocery store would probably have been a little freaked out if I asked her to have coffee with me.
The beginning of parenthood can seem a bit lonely even if you are living in a city full of all your family and life long friends. The reality is we all move at different paces through our life. When you get pregnant you may be the very first of all your friends to venture down this path. If so you’ll find that you don’t see each other as often because your lives are completely different. Maybe you are the last of your friends to start a family and you suddenly find that your old friends come around more often.
Parenting alone is no good and it is actually very unhealthy for both mom and dad. It is especially taxing on stay at home moms who are home all day long rarely talking to other adults. It is very important that you reach out and create a niche of friends and family that are also parents. It sounds easy to do but I know it’s scary to walk into a new group of people and try to insert yourself into their circle.
The good news is children act as a fantastic icebreaker with other parents. You can simply say “Your daughter is so cute. How old is she?” or “Are you at stay at home mom or working outside the home?” These questions often spark additional questions and conversation. Just remember to ask follow up questions.
There are many activities you can do with your little one to help promote finding new friends.
1. MOPS – Mothers Of Preschoolers is a worldwide woman’s group. They typically gather one time a month for a couple of hours and child-care is provided. It gives you an opportunity to mingle with other moms and hear people speak on topics that are relevant to parenthood.
2. YMCA – This is a nationwide program but there are many other agencies like this across the world. The YMCA has swimming lessons, mommy and me classes, youth sports, day care and a gym for parents. The mommy and me classes definitely allow for relationship development.
3. Mommy & Me classes – There are a variety of mommy and me classes such as music, exercise, art and yoga.
4. Playgrounds & Parks – Take your child to your local park. The more you go the more likely you are to run into the same parents making it easier to forge a relationship. You can simply start by saying let’s meet again here next week at the same time. This can lead into a more meaningful friendship.
5. Story Hour – Most libraries have story hour a couple of times a week.
I have personally attended all of the above activities with one or both of my children. They were all excellent bonding experiences with my children and they provided me with some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had. Remember that your first time to a new group may be a little daunting but the more times you attend the more likely you are to create new friends. Be patient. Smile. Say Hello. You may have just met your life long best friend.
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