Approaching another mom in hopes of becoming best buds can make you clammy.
You’d THINK you and other moms would naturally flock together in search of solidarity and crying sessions, but unless you’re in a formal mommy & me setting or using the Peanut app (the Tinder for moms), you often need to “hit on” someone first before a friendship can happen.
We all know how important it is to surround yourself with a village of other moms. So in those moments when you meet fellow mamas and you have a “connection,” take the opportunity to exchange digits and arrange a play date.
Here are four methods you can use to reel in those hot (mess) mamas you’re checking out, no matter where you “fall” for them.
(And always remember: chances are, that other mom really wants (or wouldn’t mind) another mom friend, too, so she probably won’t think you’re weird.)
1. The “my kid is crazy too” method
You’re at Target. You see another mom strolling down the aisles and you can tell she looks like The Walking Dead version of her normally polished self. Also, her tot just ransacked the bra aisle like he’s Jesse James.
Seeing her bloodshot eyeballs are about to pop, you wait until the coast is clear (i.e. she isn’t occupied by her babe in a frenzied manner) and casually mention a time your baby went off the rails too.
“I once tried breastfeeding mine in a Ross dressing room. It was like playing Twister!”
“Another time she threw herself on the floor flailing like a wild octopus!”
Something simple like that will do the trick. (Extra points if you use animal analogies.)
If you feel brave enough, let that mom know you’re happy to meet up for drinks or coffee sometime if she wants to exchange more horror stories. Offer your number and let her make the next move.
2. The no-shame digital stalking method
The nice thing about finding other moms online is you can disappear into cyberspace if anything awkward happens.
But to avoid that, do a little digging around on their profiles to learn more about who they are and what they’re interested in.
If you come across something you have in common with another mom, send a message and be VERY direct about your intentions. Something like “Hey! We’re both active in the Mom Hair, Don’t Care group. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind my boldness but I noticed you also live in the Beverlywood area and I’m honestly a bit desperate for some mom friends because I’m the only one I know with a baby. Would you care for a coffee sometime (with our without kids)? My treat!”
Better yet, if she commented on a public post, reply to her comment before “sliding into her DMs,” as they kids say these days.
Not too scary, right? If you can handle poop blowouts, teething, mastitis and sleep regressions, you can handle sending a quick message on Facebook.
3. The question-compliment method
Malls, parks and local museums are always full of moms (which is strange because none of those places serve wine).
Anyway, on those days when you just want to sit down and relax while your child runs amok, head to a public play area.
Whatever you do, do not feel guilty for sitting on the sidelines. (University of San Francisco psychology professor Jim Taylor, PhD, who’s famous for his work on parenting, says children need independent play to gain a “sense of competence, security, and independence within themselves.”)
So while your kid attempts a triple axel off the monkey bars, smile at another mom and ask her a question about her child to initiate a conversation. Make sure you don’t ask her a question that takes too much brain power or causes stress (“So what college do you think she’ll get into when she’s 18?!”). Simple answerable questions are good, such as:
- “How old is he?”
- “Is she your first?”
- “Do you guys come here often?”
After she responds (God I hope she responds to you), follow up with a positive observation. Again, keep it simple. “He loves to laugh!” is a great one. Don’t get all smarmy, like: “She’s beauuuuutiful!” She will take her child and run for the hills to get as far away from you as possible.
4. The child-pawn method
Most local libraries host weekly story times divided by age group.
Kids love going to story time because they get a chance to play with other bite-sized humans. Moms love going to story time because they can post cute videos of their kids on Instagram and pretend like they’re watching as their tots shake their uncoordinated booties. This is how you earn major mama cred on social media.
If you get lucky and meet another mom whose child seems to be getting along with yours (until it’s time to share, of course), suggest having a play date one day. Many moms go to story time on a regular basis and often live nearby.
You can also subtly flirt with your potential new mommy friend by asking your kid “What’s your new friend’s name?” or “Do you want to play with your new friend another day?” in a very enthusiastic manner. Using your child as a pawn works like a charm.
So, mama, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone. Motherhood is a scary, uncertain place, but it’s much easier when you’ve got fellow mom friends by your side. It may take some time to find a core group of other “mombies” you can rely on but you will meet them. If you can bear, birth, adopt or have a baby any other way, you most certainly have the strength to start up a conversation with another mom. You got this!
By: Leena Kollar