Building friendships when you're a busy parent is not always easy, but it's essential for a well-balanced life. Mighty Mommy shares 5 fun ways to connect with other parents who are in the same boat.
I’ve always been a very socially active person, so when I decided to stay home to raise my 8 kids, I was not prepared for how lonely and isolated I would feel.
Granted, most people don’t start their journey into parenting by having 4 kids under the age of 3, but this reality definitely made having a social life that much more challenging. Even once I had a good routine going in my household and managed to contain the chaos, I desperately missed grown-up interaction.
The great news is that no matter how busy a parent you are, you don't have to do it alone. That's why today, I've got 5 ways to form new adult friendships..
Tip #1: Bond Before Baby Arrives
One of the things I loved while being pregnant was chatting it up with other expectant moms who I met in the doctor's office, the baby section of department and grocery stores, at church, in restaurants, and at work. Even if you’re on the shy side, striking up conversations with women who are in the same expectant situation is a great place to start.
Ask questions about how the other woman is feeling at this stage of pregnancy, who her doctor/midwife is, and at which hospital/birthing center she will be delivering. You never know who you might meet this way.
I met one of my very best friends in the NICU unit of the hospital where my adopted daughter was born. The same day my newborn arrived, a woman gave birth to triplets who were nearly 2 months premature. We were in the NICU when these 3 little miracles were brought in. Because the babies were delivered by an emergency C-section, the new parents didn’t have a camera with them to document the moment. (After all, this was 21 years ago before having a cell phone was the norm).
I introduced myself and offered to take photos of their babies with my Polaroid camera (remember Polaroids?). We quickly became friends and although she lives in Colorado and I live in Rhode Island, we have stayed in touch for over 20 years. Since our kids are so close in age, we have had the opportunity to support each other throughout all the trials and tribulations of parenting.
Tip #2: Join Online Parenting Groups or Events
Today’s parents have major advantages in staying connected with their friends, or meeting new ones, than parents even 20 years ago. Social media makes it easy. Most schools, community centers, libraries, and other local organizations post information about family-friendly activities on their Facebook or Twitter pages. This way, you can check out what's happening and plan to attend whatever suits your needs.
During the past year, my local community has organized numerous vents for parents. These were posted on our Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, as well as our school PTO's Facebook page.
See also: How to Get Happy Using Facebook
One such event that I attended this past fall was a paint-and -dabble fundraiser. The cost of admission covered a lesson from a local artist, as well as the canvas and materials needed to paint a holiday scene, which we completed within the 3 hour lesson. Appetizers and wine were also served.
The turnout was terrific, and the best part was that it was attended by a group of women I normally wouldn’t have had the chance to meet. We have another evening like this planned for late spring because we all had so much fun!
Tip #3: Visit Family-Friendly Spots
If you want to hook up with new parenting pals, head to the spots where they congregate on a regular basis. The playground is always a sure bet - but once there, don’t feel intimidated if you see other parents already hanging out together. We can all use new friends, so bring your child over to where the other kids are playing and introduce her to the group. Then you can smile and give a hello to the moms and dads that are gathered around and see where it goes.
I used to go to the park at around the same time every day because I started seeing a pattern of some of the other parents going at that time, too. By the time a couple of our kids entered kindergarten, we were all good friends.