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February 16, 2005

Comments

Holly

Linda, This is the absolute hardest thing about becoming a SAHM - where do you meet other moms? It sounds like you have a few good ideas, though, with the church thing and with the Y. Those are my only suggestions, actually. I have found most of the moms I click with live in some distant city and we only see each other in cyber-land. But, I do know that my girls are happiest when we have occasional playdates. So, since I have recently moved, I am also on a mission to meet some moms.

Keep us posted how that goes. And ugh. I can't believe they ate dogfood. Just ugh.

Denise

Wow, I could have easily written that post myself. I reunited with a couple friends from high school, (who were also home with their kids) but we got together once a month, if that. I ended up joinging an ECFE class, but the moms were a lot older and they all seemed so serious. It was nice to have a group of people to talk to who were in the same situation, but it ultimately wasn't what I was looking for.

We are moving into a new neighborhood in a year or so and one of the reasons we are willing to settle there and leave the city, is the potential of lots of people with kids and maybe getting to know some of them better. If that doesn't work, I guess I am looking towards preschool and seeing if that helps!

Sorry, I don't really have much useful information for you. I am interested to see if anyone else has something that has worked. Maybe you will run into the perfect couple in the crying room or the nursery at church.

Good Luck.

Moxie

I'm a SAHM with a good social life, so I'll tell you what I did.

I did *not* put all my social eggs in one basket. Meaning, I didn't throw myself into any one activity thinking it would be my big social hookup. Instead, I figured I could meet one friend everywhere I went. So I went to new moms' meetings at my birth center, I went to baby movement classes, I went to La Leche League meetings, I went to the parks by my house, I went to the cafe near me that moms sometimes hang out at. If I'd had twins or there'd been an organized group at my church I would have gone to those, too. That way, if I didn't find anyone I really liked at one activity, I wouldn't feel like the whole thing was a waste.

What I *should* have done was go to Staples and get a simple "mom card" printed with my name, my kid's name, my phone number, cell number, and email. That way, when I met someone I wanted to get together with, I could have just said, "Would you want to bring your kid over Thursday afternoon to play? Here's my info. Give me a call." Instead, it was always kind of awkward, like, "Let me rifle through my bag of crap to find a piece of paper so I can give you my number. Uh, oh. Do you have a pen?"

When I went somewhere, I tried not to prejudge people I met. One of my very best friends now is 13 years older than I am. I thought another one was extremely pushy (she kind of is, but it doesn't bug me now). Another one seemed almost hostile (later I found out she was having major problems eating enough to maintain her energy to nurse, and her daughter had major sleep problems until she was over a year) but is now a warm, funny, if introverted, friend. So you never know until you try it out for a few times.

I felt I needed to make a specific effort to push out of my confort zone for about 6 weeks. After that, I had found a few people I felt comfortable calling up and making plans with (standing weekly playgroup rotating at people's houses, for instance) so I didn't have to really think about it every time I went someplace. The friends I made also had some other friends, so now I'm friends with their friends, too.

The vast majority of these friendships are not "call up just to talk" friendships, because we make an effort to actually see each other a few times during the week. When you're spending 2-3 hours together while your kids crawl all over each other, you get your talking done then and don't have to do the same friend maintenance stuff you do with friends you don't see regularly. Our phone calls mostly consist of things like "Are we at Jackie's house or Karen's house on Monday?" or "It looks like it's going to rain tomorrow--do you want to go to the museum instead and try the zoo next week if the weather's better?" or "Turn on your TV and turn to channel 12 *right now* because the commercial for that cake pan that lets you put ice cream is on."

I tried to think of it almost like dating, in that unless you really know you don't like the person, you should probably try a second date. And you have to kiss a few mommy frogs before you find your mom friends. But doing a bunch of activities (or even just hanging out in places other moms hang out in) takes the sting out of it because you're always meeting new people. If you end up with 2-4 good mom friends and maybe 8 other women you hang out with occasionally (at the playground, etc.) you'll have enough interaction to keep you and your kids stimulated.

Good luck. Once you get the momentum rolling it won't feel so crappy anymore.

Kelli

You could always move to Connecticut. The housing prices are ridiculous, the traffic sucks and it’s slowly turning into one giant strip mall. Other than that it’s not so bad. On second thought maybe we’ll move out your way instead.

Obviously though I can totally relate. I know that there are other moms in my neighborhood, but other than putting up a sign on our front lawn that says, “Mom Friend Wanted. Accepting Applications.” I really don’t know how to go about meeting them.

It’s kind of like dating. I hated dating. Perhaps this is why I always ended up dating guys that I was friends with. Disasters. Anyway, where was I?

What we need is a Match.com, only for mommy friends. Pictures, profiles, that sort of thing. Skip right over that whole awkward ‘getting to know you’ phase. Filter out the weirdos.

Sorry, if I had a better suggestion I’d be drinking wine and gossiping with my mom friends instead of spending my days reading blogs while Christopher watches Baby Einstein for the 350th time!

In other news, my stats have never seen this much activity (apart from people who were looking for ways to clean puke out of their car seats, that is). Woo hoo!

Meredith

You totally stole my post. I mean it. I was just about to post a new entry about friends (or the lack of..) when I thought I'd visit all my regular blogs first. Damn you to hell.

Anyway, I feel your pain. I've been staying home with my two girls for about 18 months now, and while I've made some "contacts", I can hardly call them friends. I want a mom friend(s) that I can bitch to about my crabby kids and messy house as well as the good stuff. So many of the moms I encounter are too busy trying to act like they're super mom with perfect children. Boy, that's sounds negative. Maybe it's my attitude, ya think? Sorry I wasn't more help.

Meredith

Sierra

I'm the same way. I prefer to be at home, in my pjs all day working on little projects here and there. I'm not in to superficial social shit. I have 3 really good friends here and that's it.

When I first moved to Florida (from San Diego, CA) I joined a neighborhood Bunko group and book club. I hate(d) the whole bunko thing because it seems to be one big gossipfest and I don't really like most of my neighbors anyway. I did, however, meet one of my good friends there and we hang out outsde of bunko.

I met one of my other good friends at childbirth education classes and that has been great because we have babies the same age.

Other than that, I think if I just went on a walk around my neighborhood or mall I'd meet more people if I were interested. I have met other seemingly nice people in my neighborhood with babies Aidan's age, but i just don't make the effort to have an ongoing thing. I get exhausted with too much social interaction.

I think Moxie is right though. If you can make one good friend at each thing you do, it makes it all easier. I think it's too much pressure to go to something and expect all the moms to be compatible.

Laura K.

Hmmmm...friends...the ones I hang out with/talk to most often are from church. Maybe you'll meet some new people while hanging out in the quiet room or nursery?
I used to think, "Oh, I wish I was at home so K & I could join a play group," but frankly from what I've heard of most play groups they are not up my alley. This was confirmed when we went to "Me and My Adult" time with K at the library on Mon. (MIL usually takes her, but we are off this week)and there was one of those pretentious-type mothers there - you know, the kind that just kind of rub you the wrong way - and she just had "Yuppy Play Group" written all over her (gee, nice of me not to stereotype, huh?!). Oh, but there's another idea - check the local library for story times and stuff like that. If nothing else it'd be a fun outting with the girls, and you could most likely keep them contained in the stroller for a large portion of it.

I will say that you guys will LOVE taking the girls swimming! K has been in swim lessons three sessions now and she just loves it. At this age it teaches them absolutely nothing, really, but gets them adjusted to the water and is fun for you as well as them. And, then there's the bonus that they will be really tired when they get home, and will most likely zonk out easily for you on those nights!

Moxie

Oh, I forgot to mention that one of the things I looked for when deciding who to approach was another mom with food stains on her pants or who was rolling her eyes at the dumb stuff other people said.

Jill

Dog food - may that be the worst they find to eat.

We found the library was a great place to make friends. Here they have programs for kids starting at about 6 months - it's called Lapsit. Moms and kids sing and play together, and you meet moms with kids around the same age.

Oh- and don't look desperate. Been there, and it isn't pretty.

KatS

I was about to write a post about lonliness myself soon.
Mind if I just cut and paste yours to my blog? It perfectly describes mememe as well. Linda, I have an idea, y'all move your cold selves down here near us and you and I can be friends and hang out or ignore each other whenever we want.

Amy

Not sure if you have them there but you might want to look into it.. Here where I live in BC Canada there are Community Services run "Family Centers". You go, grab a coffee a muffin and sit amid other women who are also longing for adult conversation, tons of activities for the kids, toys, leader run story times and crafts (all free).

A life line for me when I moved to a new city with a one year old and again when I had my twin girls. I made a few lasting friendships but most importantly was blessed with a place to GO to hang out with other mothers who were no doubt feeling as isolated as I. Kids had a good time, I had a destination, and all was good.

Never got into the Parents of Twins clubs idea. I also have a son, who was 4.5 when the girls were born and did not want to go to a club that further 'specialized' twins. Having twin sisters was enough for him thank you very much!

Seek out similar resources in your community, hopefully you will find something that works for you and your girls. A mom and tot swim? (then again that means enlisting the hubby or other willing partner.. sigh, BTDT!) A baby and me course at the local gym? Story time at the library?

Amy F

Moxie's post sounds a lot like my approach. I knew very few old friends with kids pre-baby but was determined to find people once he arrived. I tried going to baby storytime at the local kids' bookstore, but my son sobbed every time they did "Pop Goes the Weasel" and it seemed like being in cramped quarters there left him with colds regularly. I attend Movies for Moms sometimes, although the ladies there have a tendency to be working moms on their 3 month pp leave who live in the ritsy suburbs and I don't have much in common with.

The winning groups for me has been a group that started with church friends who invited their friends. Having a group of Catholic women I see every other week has been great--I even dared to call one and invite her out to a malt shop last week--one of my first out-of-the-playgroup activities.

Does API (Attachment Parenting International) have groups nearby? I attend one general playgroup with API moms on Friday mornings and another on Mondays that's an API subset that does fiber arts while the kids play (knitting and felting wool balls, mostly).

I also meet up with other knitters as my "mama's evening away from the kiddo" most Wednesday nights and occasionally get together with knitting moms I run into online.

8 months ago, I felt exactly like you describe--the only group I'd met with just wasn't what I was looking for--but these days as Peter approaches his first birthday, it's much, much better.

Oh, Peter's the youngest baby in my Monday group and it works great. The other kids are mostly 18-30 months and he follows them around. The Friday group is mostly 7-13 month olds and it's a riot seeing all the crawlers. Peter's the oldest in my church group, which admittedly is a bit of a pain since we meet in their homes and most of the women haven't baby proofed yet. But their kids are 3.5 months and older, so they appreciate seeing what Peter gets into to figure out what's going to have to move. I spend more time chasing him than I'd like, but it's worth it for the friendships.

There are moms like you out there, I promise!

usako

aw, i'll be your friend! even though i don't have children (yet) but want to soon (sooner than financially possible).

you don't happen to live in Vancouver, BC, do you?

:\ didn't think so.

well then, i wish you all the good luck in the world to find someone to share your 'real-time' trials and tribulations with!

(by the way, i love the photos of your girls. they almost always make me laugh, or sigh, or tear up.)

Liz

I have a similar problem except I'm not a SAHM. I work all day and I still have no "outside of work" friends that live near me. I have lots of friends from school that I still see but they live an hour away. I don't even have a babysitter! I completely empathize with your problem. I am also a serious introvert that hates going out with new people and large groups. LIke you, I usually have fun once I"m there but I have to kick my own ass to get out the door.
I watch lots of women from afar and think "maybe she'll be my friend"... yikes I sound rather pathetic :-)
It is definitely hard to meet new young parents. it's especially hard when your baby was born shortly after moving to a new town. I don't even know how to find kids' playgroups...afterall I could only do them on weekends.
It's a good thing my husband (also friendless) is my best friend since we spend all our free time together!

Libby

Oh Liz, I'll be your friend! I am exactly in your same situation. I also work full time, but my work enviroment is not conducive to making friends. There is hardly any people my age, much less mothers with young children and it is all very stuffy and serious. I am a bit of an introvert too, although I do like meeting new people and going to new places. I just don't have the opportunity to do it. I mean, on the weekends there is so muchy to do, and so little time. It sucks.

Anyway, Linda, I feel your pain. It's lonely around here too.

Melanie

I worked up the guts to go to a local homeschooling playgroup that meets weekly & ended up with most of my friends that way. I had tried others before and was glad to find one that clicked. It's a big enough group that there's always someone to chat with but there's probably only 3-4 that I talk to with any regularity. (And then there's the two that decided to paint the twins room for us-- WOOOOT! )

I think it's probably easier when the kids get older and ages matter less-- at 7, Steven will play with 4 yr olds and 10 yr olds, but it's a little harder to get a 2 yr old to "play" with a 9 mo old.

Sarah

ah, babe, I hear you. I could weep bitter tears at all the times I saw mommie couples walking by with their strollers and kids happily chatting away and I sat holding a crying baby looking out my window. Believe me--I was that close to running out of my front door to offer them cookies. Or whatever.

I feel worse for Thomas than I do for myself at this point. Just this morning (how timely your post is!) I went to the local coffee shop "trolling for mommies", as I like to tell my husband, and there was this moms' group meeting there. There were a few other toddlers Thomas's age. He kept smiling and making faces at them and they would start toddling towards him only to be reigned in by their moms. He's so friendly and outgoing I just die when I think that there are no other children for him to play with.

I think I'm going to spend today following up on some of the suggestions the other posters left. As much of a non-participator as I am, I think I really need to do this for Thomas, if not for myself.

And I would totally be your wino friend if we were in closer proximity than just cyper-space.

Katie

Linda,
It is like it was written for me. I work in an office all by myself and friends don't live in the area and don't even have kids themselves. I have tried a church group but they meet during the day and are all SAHM.
At the same time I don't mind the time to myself and would much rather just sit in with a movie and scrapbook on a Saturday night than anything else.

I thought it was because I work all week and don't want to spend what time I have with Ellie sharing it with someone else.

Moxie

Sarah, what made the moms' group at the coffeeshop special so you couldn't just walk up and ask if Thomas can play with their kids? If it was my group of friends and you walked up to us we'd let your kid play with ours and then tell you where we'd be the next week so you could come, too. I think most moms are more cautiously friendly than bitchy, so don't be afraid to say something like "y son seems to relaly want to play with yours. DO you mind if we sit down?"

Anna

I'm late to this topic but I completely get it: I WORK at home also, so I'm never out of the damned house. One thing that saved my butt was the New Mothers' Group at the hospital where I delivered. You don't even have to have delivered there though; it's a free group that meets once a week and where you can talk about your issues for the week and any questions/rants you may have. I've made ALL my mother-friends through it, and I'm a shy introvert with no friends also. I don't know what I'd have done without this group; you may want to see if a hospital in your area has one like it.

Another thing we do, also free, is go to "Parenting Class" (basically Mommy & Me) at the local community college. I haven't made so many friends through this, but some of my hospital group friends are also here, so it's one more thing we can do together. It works.

good luck to you...if you lived near me I'd love to hang out and snark and wine with you. (although after reading my blog perhaps you'd rather back slowly away from me...)

Nicole

Linda!! I'm so excited I found your blog. I frequently read Summers blog and I saw in a recent reply that you go to Mars Hill. I live pretty close to there and attend there as well. I'm JUST now starting to read your blog tonight so I have a lot to catch up on, but I see that you are a nurse. I'm an RN at "the local Catholic hospital" in ICU and work the weekend alternative plan on nights. I commiserate with a lot of your same issues on meeting others and that whole deal. I'm not sure if its been posted yet but I really like matchingmoms.com. There are several moms in our area that are looking for playgroups. I'm ashamed to admit that I loosely started talking to some of the moms on email trying to organize one, but whimped out from going any further. (I guess I wasn't sure I'd find too many moms interested in a late afternoon/early evening playgroups...ok really just anything other than 9 or 10AM when I'm still so groggy I look like I've been stealing my patients narcotics. Yeah, I'd like a moms group that meets at 11pm for dinner..ya know when my stomach starts to get hungry 7 days a week no matter if I'm working or not.) Oh, and just so you don't feel bad my daughter just turned TWO and has never been to a playgroup, nor is she in daycare, so I really need to get my butt in gear and socialize her a bit (and I need it too).

Email me, I'd love to chat, at least to commiserate and complain about work, if nothing else! And if by chance you work at the same hospital, feel free to stop by Friday or Saturday night....I'll be there (unfortunately)! That sounds kinda funny, so I hope you don't think I'm creepy. (I REALLY hope you don't think I'm "creepy, creepy" either) ;)

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