Motherhood can be a wonderful time in a woman's life, and it can be one of the most challenging times in her life, too. This is when women need the most support, not only from their partners and family, but from that elusive tribe we hear so much about. That tribe of mom friends that women yearn for, but sometimes have difficulty finding.
If you tend to be shy to begin with, branching out and finding your own group of moms can seem like an incredibly daunting task. For one, you're so busy with your kids that it's often hard to find the time to go searching for that tribe. For two, if you're shy, you'd likely rather go for a root canal than approach a fellow mom and try to strike up a conversation. If you're lucky, you already have some mom friends that you can turn to. Yet, sometimes, be it a result of distance or time, it can be hard to connect with them regularly. So, how do you find that mom tribe that you can really turn to on a day-to-day basis? Here are 10 tips for shy moms looking to make new friends.
But joining a Mom & Tot class, you increase your chances of meeting some fellow moms who are at a similar stage as you, which can certainly help to increase your choices of conversation topics. Is your baby sleeping through the night yet? No? Mine isn't either! Let's go grab a coffee and try to survive the afternoon together! Can you picture it? It could work!
There are so many wonderful Mom & Tot classes out there these days that it's easy to pick one that you'd enjoy as much as your little one would. From music classes and art classes to swimming and gymnastics. Take your pick, sign yourself up, and make an effort to meet some of the moms in the class. Who knows, your future BFF could be signed up for that class too!
You want to consider proximity when you're trying to meet new friends because you're already super busy raising your kids. It makes things a lot easier if your tribe is close by. That wonderful vision of neighborhood children all playing outside together while the moms sit together chatting over *insert drink of choice here*. Or, when you're really stuck and need someone to help you out, knowing your pals are close by gives you great peace of mind.
One way to get to know your neighbors would be a have a neighborhood BBQ in the summertime. Everyone loves getting outside to enjoy the summer weather, and nothing says friendship like BBQ hotdogs and watermelon. Buy some hotdogs and burgers in bulk, grab some watermelon and drinks, and invite some of your neighbors over. You never know until you try!
Chances are, you're going to be stuck with these moms for the duration of your child's education years, so you might as well get to know them. Hang around a little longer in the car lineup before or after school, and perhaps *gulp* try striking up a conversation with a fellow mom there. Look for one who's looking as shy and awkward as you're feeling, and they'll likely be grateful to have someone to talk to.
Join the PTA, volunteer in your kid's class, or help out at events at the school. Get to know the school community, and work on establishing some friendships there.
To keep it simple and not let yourself feel overwhelmed by this new venture, keep your meeting relatively short. Let your new friend know that you're able to meet for coffee for an hour and then you have an appointment/errand/etc. That way, you know there's an endpoint in sight and you don't need to feel awkward about needing to leave.
It takes the pressure off both of you, kind of like a first date, if the timing is kept rather short. If it a great time and you're enjoying yourselves, plan to meet up again soon. But, if it's not a great fit, at least you're not stuck there for too long.
This is something that can be hard for introverts to do. Your inclination is to say no to most invitations because you know the emotional toll going to the event will cost you. But, if you are an introvert who is feeling lonely and wanting some new mom friends, you need to put yourself out there and say yes to the invitations, even if you don't really want to.
Say yes to the Tupperware parties, the makeup parties, the coffee meetings. Give it a try, and go to these events with an open mind and a positive attitude. You never know who you might meet or what might come of it.
This can sometimes be a bit challenging if you're not overly fond of your kid's friends to begin with. But, again, go back to that open mind and positive attitude. If there's a friend that you think you might mesh well with their mom, try inviting the kid over for a playdate with your child, and invite the mom over for a coffee while the kids play.
If that is a bit too intimidating to start with, try suggesting that you guys meet at a park for an outdoor playdate. That way, you've got the distractions of the park to keep you busy ("Mom, can you push me on the swing?"), it's in a neutral place, and you don't need to worry about your home being clean before someone new sees it.
If there are families who carpool at your school, try signing up to carpool with a few families. It can make your mornings easier on the days when you don't have to drive your child to school, and it's a great opportunity to meet other families.
By driving a few kids to school on a rotating basis, you get to know the kids, and you get to know their families. Stay a few minutes when you drop the kids off and chat with the parents for a while. Possibly suggest that good ol' play-date-at-the-park idea. The carpooling gives you those opportunities to meet the families and work on establishing some new friendships.
This is a big one for introverts. It really does sometimes require you to take that deep breath, square your shoulders, and just go for it. Approach that mom you've seen around the neighborhood the next time you run into each other at the park, try to chat with the other moms in the mom & tot class, host that coffee morning.
People who don't tend to be shy or introverted often find it hard to understand how challenging it can feel to put yourself out there and initiate a conversation. It really does sometimes feel like you have to give yourself a little nudge to move those feet forward and to voice that greeting. Once you do it, however, it can feel so great to have made a new friend.
There are so many different groups of Facebook these days, that it's easy to find groups that you can connect with. Look for mom groups in your geographical area and groups based on different interests and passions. You could find some great women in your area that have similar interests as you, already starting things off on a good note!
Find moms who babywear, co-sleep, breastfeed, formula feed, love to run, love to scrapbook, whatever! Join a few Facebook groups, chat away online, and eventually see if some would like to meet up at a local park with the kids, or set up a moms' night out event at a local pub, whatever you prefer!
Besides joining some Facebook groups online, you're not really going to meet new friends if you don't leave your house. If you're at home with a baby and tend to be an introvert as well, it can seem a bit daunting to leave the house at times and just easier to stay home and hang out with your little one.
Those days are you own accumulate though, and eventually you are left feeling rather lonely and craving some adult contact. Try to take some small steps toward getting out there and making some new friends. Frequent the local parks, it's great for baby and a great way to meet local moms. Take that deep breath, square your shoulders, and just go for it!