Being an expectant mum at the time and fairly new to the area, I had high high hopes for making friends on my prenatal course. I was told time and time again by some well-meaning very experienced parents that “This group will be your support network”. Other phrases included “We still holiday with our lot 8 years after the course” and “You make local mum friends which are invaluable. ” Naturally, I thought my prenatal course was where I was going to meet my mum tribe and I’d be texting them all at 4am when my child wasn’t sleeping, and we would be yummy mummies together pushing our buggies in the local parks while on maternity leave, and they’d be my lifeline when I returned to work. Like I said, I had high hopes.
It didn’t deliver.
My group only met up a handful of times. Everyone in the group is perfectly nice, but for some strange reason in a group didn’t mesh. What’s worse, is that some of the other mothers I know see their lot frequently, actually went to classes as a group, strong friends a year on and have found their tribe.
Having mum friends is so important during the early months, and even beyond. Loneliness is so common among new mums and it’s easy to feel isolated. Long days and short nights, can be wearing when there’s no one to share it with or can truly understand what it is being a mum. Mum friends know what you’re going through because they’re going through the same. They make you feel sane, and eat as much cake as you do so you don’t feel bad when you’ve had a crap night.
But fear not, fellow reader, I am not disheartened or lonely. I have made some wonderful mum friends and we’re not just friends because we happen to have a child the same age. We hang out sans children.
If you’ve experienced the same thing with your prenatal group or just want to make some mum friends, then hopefully the tips I’ve put down below will help you find your mum tribe.
Go mummy dating
Mush, has been described as tinder for mums. It connects you to mums a stone throw away. Don’t be shy about messaging anyone. Everyone’s joined up to the site with the same intention. Don’t get upset if someone doesn’t reply, just move on to the next connection.
One thing I’ve learnt while mummy dating is not to extend the conversation. Set a meet up a couple of messages in – once you’ve done the niceties of hello how are you – otherwise you can go on chatting over the app forever. You can get to know the person over a cup of coffee rather than behind a screen.
Take up hobbies
Join those baby classes, groups and get some hobbies. The number of people you will meet is extraordinary. It’s like being back at uni again but with a kid, 10 years older and no booze… Hmmm come to think of it nothing like that but you do meet tons of people.
Also, those Mush mates you’ve messaged? Ask them out to one of these classes, as it’s the perfect non-pressurised setting to get to know them better.
Put yourself out there
You’ve got the app and you’re going to the groups but still haven’t met anyone? Sometimes you have to make the first move. Send that first message, be the one that suggests a meet up, suggest a coffee to the person next to you after the class. They can’t make it, or they’re busy? Try one more time, or ask them to set a date when they can. Most mums are in the same position of wanting to make more local mum friends, and will be receptive.
Repeated contact is what makes friends – so be the one that says let’s go for coffee after class, or do you want to go for a walk this week. It may be you always suggesting it to start off with, but if you guys get on, it soon will become a two-way thing.
Don’t forget about your pre-baby friends
OK so they may not be your mum tribe, but they are important. They knew who you were pre-baby and sometimes you do lose the grounding of who you are once you’ve had a baby. You are a mum, but you’re also so much more. Not only will they fawn over your baby, but it will remind you that you can have conversations other that the colour of your baby’s poo/sick/snot.
Some of these pre-baby friends also may have babies as well. They suddenly become a valuable fountain of knowledge for you and give you some much-needed support, especially in the early days.
Prenatal classes isn’t the be all and end all in making mum friends. There are lots of opportunities out there.
How did you make your mum friends? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Maybe I could try a few out 🙂