Having your first baby automatically fast-forwards you into a new stage of life. All of the sudden priorities that had seemed important may become much less so, and vice versa. Relating to friends without children will become more challenging. Whether you are on temporary maternity or staying home indefinitely with your baby, many of your existing friends are at work and have organized their lives around a work-driven schedule. Until you start to build a separate circle of friends for whom naptime is non-negotiable,this phase of entering motherhood and can seem very isolating.
When I first moved to Philadelphia 8 years ago, I knew few people and it’s not always simple to make new friends as an adult. Pregnancy and the fatigue right after having a baby created a barrier to meeting new people or even going out. Then I became pregnant with # 2 and gave birth to my second 13 months after my first. Phew! I won’t sugar coat it – it was trying and I felt alone. So here I was with two babies, no additional childcare, trying to figure how to get myself out of the house and be part of the world. Most moms I knew were at work with their kids at daycare or with nannies. One day, I was out chatting with another mom who had a newborn about the same age as my second daughter and I gathered the courage to offer up my phone number and email address and we became friends. I realized that, as a new mom (particularly if you are accustomed the unwritten social rules of urban living), you have to purposefully set out to shed your protective façade of self-sufficiency and just put yourself out there to make new friends. If we look at how children make friends, we can learn a whole lot. They simply approach each other and start playing. Your children offer you a great advantage when it comes to making friends. You automatically have a lot in common with people who you may have had little in common with before – just by having kids the same age – hence playdates become more for the parents that the children. Motherhood can offer new friendships. As my children grew, my social network expanded just by opening myself up and offering friendship. Below are nine enjoyable ways to meet people as a new parent.
- Visit local playgrounds – Even if your infant is not mobile yet, just sitting and relaxing watching kids play can be a stimulating activity for your little one and provide opportunity for adult conversation for you.
- Attend a Mommy and Me Yoga / Pilates Class
- Visit an art museum – Your peanut may enjoy the art best in a face-out carrier such as a Baby Bjorn after 3 months of age.
- Volunteer for a charity or neighborhood group
- Get involved in an organized activity
- Enroll in a new moms support/discussion group – Ali’s Wagon (2017 Fairmount Ave.) www.aliswagon.com http://www.aliswagon.com and the Nest (13th and Locust) www.nestphilly.com http://www.nestphilly.com are my favorites in the Center City and surrounding areas.
- Attend a Moms Night Out Event
- If you bump into a neighbor that you don’t know well but has a young child, chat them up!
- Join a neighborhood parents listserv or online discussion board – This will put you in the loop for local kid or parent related events.