Staying at home with your kids full time often means your social circle shrinks. Your coworkers and college friends move on as your focus shifts to your new role as mom. Even connections with other moms can fizzle over time. Making new friends is crucial for your mental health. But putting yourself out there isn’t always easy. Here are some tips to help you expand your social network and make meaningful connections.
Check out Local “Mommy” Groups
A great starting point is looking for local moms groups. Search Facebook and Meetup.com for ones in your area. You can also ask at your library, community center, gym, or places of worship. Many host free activities, meetings, and play dates. These groups help you meet moms with kids around your child’s age. Having this shared experience helps you bond quickly. You’ll likely find some kindred spirits.
Some popular nationwide groups include:
- Moms Club – Includes daytime and evening chapters to accommodate work schedules.
- MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) – Christian-based group with programs for moms with kids under 6.
- MOMS Club – Welcomes stay at home moms of any background. Matches members by location and kids’ ages.
Check their sites to see if they have groups near you. Your community might also have more specialized groups like twins clubs, special needs parenting groups, or cultural groups. Don’t limit yourself to just one group. Try out a few to meet many moms.
Set Up One-on-One “Play Dates”
After attending some group events, suggest meeting up one on one. Exchange numbers and set up a casual play date at home or a kid friendly place. Gymboree, the zoo, and parks work well. This gives you more chance to talk and connect personally. Pay attention to who you click with right away. Set up repeat play dates with those moms. Meeting regularly helps you become real friends.
Offer to host the play date sometimes too. That way they see your house and you can truly relax. Make it fun for the kids but focus on getting to know the mom. Share your stories and see what you have in common besides motherhood. Don’t be afraid to try new things based on their interests. Having quality friend time makes the play date a win for both of you.
Join Family Activities
Look for regular family activities that fit your schedule. Ones that repeat weekly or monthly are best. They give you a chance to bond with the same parents over time. Here are some good options to try:
- Story time at the library – Typical age range is 1-5 years old. Includes songs, books, and games.
- Music or gym classes – Lots of franchises like Gymboree, My Gym, Kindermusik offer classes for babies to age 5.
- Mommy and Me Yoga – Relax and connect with other mindfulness focused moms.
- Indoor playgrounds – Great year round option for toddlers to school age. Many hold open bounce hours.
- Kid art classes – Gets messy but builds creativity for ages 3 and up.
- Swim lessons – Key skill that helps toddlers up through early elementary.
Attending weekly makes it natural to chat while kids play. Compliment their child’s progress or milestones. Ask questions to learn more about them. Then suggest getting the kids together outside of class. Turning activity buddies into real friends takes effort but it’s worth it.
Join a Playgroup
Organized playgroups offer regular chances for kids to play while moms socialize. They usually meet at members’ houses, parks, or activity centers. Planned activities, crafts, and snacks keep kids engaged. Check sites like Meetup for local playgroups. Ask at libraries, preschools, and kids stores too.
Some playgroups allow drop-ins while others require membership. If joining, look for ones with rules about hosting and attendance. More structure ensures regular participation. Also check the target age range matches yours. Then visit in person to see if it seems like a good fit. Joining Playgroups gives you an instant social circle. Be outgoing, offer to help, and participate consistently.
Reach Out to “Alumni”
Remember moms you connected with at past groups or kid activities? Even if you’ve lost touch, they likely need mom friends too. Look up that Gymboree mom from last year’s class. Or text the one you chatted with every week at the school bus stop. Remind them who you are and suggest catching up together sometime.
Reconnecting takes effort but usually pays off. Alumni already have shared experiences with you, so you can pick up where you left off. Set up a casual coffee date or park play date. Ask questions and find out if your lives still have things in common. Let them know you value their friendship. With some care, these old connections can become strong again.
Bond with Neighbors
Don’t underestimate the potential of nearby friends. Start by introducing yourself to neighbors with young kids. Have your kids do sidewalk chalk drawings and bike around the block together. Offer toys or kids clothes you’ve outgrown. Ask about fun places to take kids locally. Show interest in their lives.
Also get to know families at neighborhood parks or playgrounds. Chat while your kids play together. Ask their opinions on schools, kids activities, etc. Compliment their kids and parenting skills. Swap phone numbers so you can coordinate meetups. Proximity builds opportunity for friendship.
Say Yes to School Friends
Once your child starts preschool or elementary school, whole new social channels open up. Get acquainted with parents at school events, pickup/dropoff, or class parties. Find ways to compliment their kids’ talents or progress. Ask their advice on kindergarten readiness, teachers, pediatricians, etc. Look for common interests to bond over.
When they invite you to join a school group or activity, say yes. School mom friends make juggling parent duties easier. You can trade off school pickup or help each other when kids are sick. Become the mom that organizes class play dates, coordinates teacher gifts, or volunteers for field trips. Taking the lead helps you get to know parents well and makes you someone they want to be friends with.
Try a New Hobby
Brainstorm hobbies you’ve been wanting to try, like scrapbooking, hiking, or sewing. Look for local classes or meetup groups related to your interest. Sign up and commit to attending regularly. Pursuing a hobby just for you helps you carve out a social outlet beyond just mom friends.
At the group, introduce yourself and ask about others’ experience levels. Bond over being newbies together. Offer encouragement to classmates and compare progress. Bring your kids to show off what you’re learning if it makes sense. Use the hobby as a natural way to connect. Arrange to practice together between classes. Social hobbies enhance your life on multiple levels.
Join a Gym or Studio
Gyms and boutique fitness studios help you stay active and expand your social circle. Look for ones with a community vibe, drop-in childcare, and fun group classes. Show up regularly and you’ll start recognizing friendly faces. Chat with members as you work out and find out what draws them there.
Try out different classes until you click with one. Become a familiar face there, saying hi and learning names. Consider social activities like walking or running groups too. Bond with members who share your interests and fitness passion. Arrange to take classes together or meet up outside the gym. A shared healthy lifestyle creates common ground.
Volunteer through Your Kids’ Activities
Kids’ activities like sports teams, dance classes, and scout troops all need parent volunteers. Choose activities you’re excited about and sign up to help often. Take on visible roles like team mom, carpool coordinator, troop leader, or party planner. This gives you repeated chances to connect with parents.
Ask how you can best support them and their kids. Look for ways to bond over the activity itself. When working concessions together, chat about game highlights or rehearsal milestones. Your shared pride and purpose will shine through. Then suggest getting the kids together for playdates or celebrating victories together. Volunteering builds community and lasting relationships.
Join a Book Club
Book clubs offer stimulating discussions along with friendship. Search sites like Meetup for mom focused book clubs nearby. If nothing specific comes up, start your own. Promote it through local parenting groups and library bulletin boards.
At meetings, balance book talk with personal sharing. Take turns hosting and look for ways everyone can pitch in. Suggest potlucks or crafts related to the book. Bond over characters and their experiences. Open up about how themes relate to your own lives. Book clubs nurture conversations that feed your mind and friendships.
Try a New Church or Synagogue
Places of worship provide ready-made communities. If you want to get more involved in one, try a few out. Look for ones with robust programs for kids and young families. Show up consistently and come early to chat with other parents. Compliment little ones and introduce yourself.
Ask about opportunities to help out with childcare, teaching, outreach, events, etc. Say yes when invited to social gatherings. Reach out personally to parents you connect with. Bond through your shared faith and family values. Active participation, service, and vulnerability help friendships take root and grow.
Join Informal Social Media Groups
Facebook groups let you connect with like-minded moms online. Search for ones focused on your town, kids’ ages, hobbies, etc. Introduce yourself right away. Comment often to become part of discussions. Share personal parenting wins and struggles when appropriate.
When conversations sound appealing, suggest meeting up in person. Turn online acquaintance into real friendship. You can also join parenting forums like CafeMom or Reddit. Just be sure to take relationships offline eventually. Social media paves the way for meaningful in-person bonds.
Have Realistic Expectations
Remember friendship takes time. Not every mom you meet will become your bestie. Focus on being open and friendly to all. Find moms you genuinely click with and make repeated efforts to connect. Accept invites and reciprocate. Follow up and keep interacting. Don’t get discouraged if some don’t work out. Patience and persistence pay off as you build relationships.
Staying at home with kids can be isolating. But putting yourself out there opens up a whole new social world. Follow your interests to find like-minded moms. Invest time and care into burgeoning friendships. Before you know it, you’ll have a strong support network. The social connections you need are within reach. Stay positive and proactive as you make mom friends.