Making friends as a mom is hard. Real hard. Hard like trying to go to the bathroom while holding a screaming newborn, hard. Hard like trying to walk your dog and push the stroller, hard. Hard like trying to eat and breastfeed at the same time, hard. I think you get the picture, it is pretty stinkin' difficult.
Up until you became a mom, friends have been handed to you on a silver platter. When you were a baby, it was your caretaker's responsibility to make friends for you. Then, you started kindergarten and you became friends with all of the kids in your class, or at least at your colored table. After completing elementary school, you entered middle school where there were tons of clubs to join. As you started high school, you probably had a few best friends. Since most high schools combine with other middle schools, there were also new people to talk to and eventually hang out with, outside of class.
Next, there was college. Drinking made making friends a whole lot easier: liquid confidence. After college, you probably got a job and had drinks with a few acquaintances during happy hour. This probably turned into a couple real friendships after you felt comfortable making work jokes in front of them.
Then you had a child.
I am hoping, for your sake, you were able to keep friends you already had, pre-baby. But now it is your turn to make friends for your child so that this crazy cycle of friendship can continue. And so begins the hardest stage of friend-making: mom friend-making.
After the first couple months of being cooped up in the house, only leaving when you have to, you decide it is time to figure out how to make friends with other moms. But then you think, "Where do I meet people with babies? The park? Target? The library? Organized mommy play groups?" I can honestly say I have met people at all of these places. I have considered making business cards to hand out to other moms I meet saying, "Hey, you're cool and your kid doesn't suck. Call me!"
If only it were that easy.
That's the problem with making mom friends, not only do you have to like the other mom, but you also have to like their kid(s). In return, they have to like your kid(s), and the kids have to like each other. Sounds complicated, right? But wait, there's more. You also have to find someone who has a child around your child's age. To put the cherry on top, the parent you become friends with has to have their child on a similar eating and sleeping schedule. Honestly, the schedule is the most important part. Kids nap and eat at all different times. If your kids are on completely different schedules, hanging out becomes more of a chore than a luxury.
Now it is your turn to make friends for your child so that this crazy cycle of friendship can continue. And so begins the hardest stage of friend-making: mom friend-making.
I'm telling you all of this because one day you will decide to put real pants on and leave the house. And if you come home without any new friends, you won't feel like it was a waste of makeup. It took me a long time to have the courage to even introduce myself to another mom, let alone give them my number. Fact: It's harder than dating, and, unfortunately, they don't serve wine and beer at library time. Sure, I had a lot of bad "first dates": I didn't like them, they didn't like me, their kid was annoying, my kid was annoying, etc. But, eventually, I met a few keepers. Someone needs to come up with a platonic dating website for moms. It would be a hit, I swear.
Now you are wondering, "Is it even worth trying so hard to make a friend for my kid?" My answer is: YES. Your child needs friends and so do you. I truly believe all moms are desperate to make friends and need to make a connection with someone else who is going through the same situation they are in. Yet, we are all scared to take the first step; no one wants to look weird, needy, or creepy. But in order to survive motherhood, mom friends are a must. And if you stay at home, like me, hanging out all day with just your kid eventually gets boring and lonely, for both of you.
So get out there, Momma! Put on pants, brush your hair, try to look like a normal human being, and go make some friends. You got this!
A similar piece was originally posted on Rosie's personal blog: Life, Army Wife Style. Rosie regularly blogs about books and babies.