06 Sep
How to Make New Friends When You’re a Mom

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My daughter is heading off to school this fall and I’m the nervous one. Not because of sending her off or anything like that (she and I have been doing it since she was 3 and started preschool with the school district) but because I am the youngest mommy in the classroom.

I’m a single mom who lives in a smallish town and while I’ve gotten used to the looks in the grocery store and the inconvenience of becoming the town’s favorite old maid (at 24), I don’t want to stunt her popularity with the other kids. We had parents’ night and other than one mom who is a year older than I am, all the other mommies had a good 10 years on me. (It doesn’t help that the teacher has been teaching nearly as long as I’ve been alive). So my question is, how can I make friends with the other mommies and get them to see me as a FRIEND and not “that baby who had a baby herself”?

Signed,

Socially Stunted

______________________

Dear Socially Stunted,

Back when my sons were in preschool, there a woman called Uniqua (not her real name) who had two kids about the same age as mine called Tyrone and Pablo (again, fake names) (also, they weren’t blue and yellow and good at choreography). Everybody loved Uniqua’s kids, however, she always kept her distance from the other mothers. Finally one day, after being around each other for years, I had a real conversation with her. And she told me that the reason she was antisocial was because she felt self-conscious about not having as much money as everyone else.

“I always feel like the other women snub me,”ย she said.

Then I put my hand on her shoulder and said something that I remember being very Dalai Lama/Oprah-esque. But it was probably more like, “Damn, Uniqua, you a dumbass, girl. Pull yo head out, a’ight?”ย (I may not look it, but I have a plethora of “street cred.”ย) Because while nobody cared about how much money Uniqua had, we definitely cared about her not even trying to be part of the group.

And that’s where I think you’re similar to Uniqua: you’re giving the other mothers a reason to not be your friend via the big ol’ chip on your shoulder. Do they care that you’re 10 years younger? That you had a baby when you were 21? That you’re not married? Maybe, but that’s their problem, not yours.

In order to develop real friendships, you need to let go of your insecurities and just be yourself. Own who you are. Be friendly and approachable. Volunteer to help out at school. Invite your daughter’s friends over to your house for playdates and make sure she’s friendly and polite when she goes over to their houses. Give the other mothers no excuse but to like you and they’ll welcome you as a peer.

I think you and your daughter are going to have a wonderful year.

Best,
Wendi, TMH (not my real name)

19 Responses to “How to Make New Friends When You’re a Mom”

09.06.11#1

Comment by elissameck.

Excellent advice…I’m finding myself in a slightly related situation. My family moved to Hong Kong a year ago. We feel like the poor kids on the block here – my husband does well but doesn’t have a fancy expat package that most do – so I don’t have the designer clothes, we don’t take fancy vacations, etc. I was feeling really left out with the other mothers – partly for those reasons and partly because at 32 I am 5-15 years younger than most. But I realized recently that once you get past that initial conversation no one cares your age, your finances, etc. – they all need friends for themselves and their kids too. Keep an open mind about people, don’t complain about the differences (awkward!), and try not to let yourself be offended if others don’t show you the same courtesy…ignore them and move on to other potential friends!

09.06.11#2

Comment by Heather.

Dear Stunted,

My favorite quote is by Dr Suess and goes like this: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Regardless of your age and/or socio-economic status, you are part of “the club” because you have a child. You deal with tantrums, picky eating, endless questions and even more endless curiosity. Try to put aside your worries. You are just as qualified as any other mom in your child’s classroom! (in case the pep talk isnt enough, asking another moms advice on something might break any barrier on their part. It might acknowledge any “gaps” in age or years parenting)

You are doing great!

Mom of four (7,4,3 & 10 mo) at age 33.

Muffintopmommy Reply:

Love that quote—sooo true! Be yourself and I’m sure you’ll make friends. And if you don’t, to hell with them!!! (I mean that in the best possible way, naturally.)

09.06.11#3

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

Great advice, everyone! Just don’t let your insecurities prevent you from being part of the group of moms. You have as much to say about child raising as anyone else; don’t shun the other moms on the false premise that you are going to be shunned, and everything will go fine!
Plus… I’m pretty sure the other moms envy your young age! ๐Ÿ˜‰

09.06.11#4

Comment by Aubrey Anne.

I am a 26-year-old mother of three, had my first son when I was still in high school, so I completely relate to this post! I want to give this girl a hug and go have coffee with her!! Once I went to my son’s Kindergarten parent/teacher review, and while I waited with him outside the teacher’s door another mother was there. After some awkward silence she asked, “Are you Joshua’s older sister?” No, lady, just because you’re 40 doesn’t mean I’m not his mother.

Anyway, I agree with the advice above, with one exception… asking the advice of another one of the moms who clearly thinks of you as young can backfire. Once you do this, they have a tendency to give you advice you don’t need(want) because they think of you as the little one who needs to be taught. This gets awkward.

Good luck honey. Jump in and get involved, and if it doesn’t go well, you just come be my friend. lol

09.06.11#5

Comment by Cate8.

this is funny…..as my baby starts kindergarten she is 5 I am 48!!!! {One of my granddaughters is also starting kindergarten, too. One is going to 4th grade!!!}
I had my oldest at 18 and my youngest at 42. So I have been at both ends of this spectrum. But, now, since I am so old and forgetful I chat up any mom that looks fun and not too rigid. I do avoid homeschooling moms at all costs since I cannot comprehend this. The yellow bus is my hero! and the 5 kids that still live at home will be in full day public schools….Thank you to all Massachusetts taxpayers!!!

09.06.11#6

Comment by StephanieG.

I was your polar opposite! I was 36 when my daughter was born, and I looked around at all the “young” moms and felt like I was never going to fit in.

The truth is, when you’re raising kids, you can always find common ground with another mom, even when there is 20 years difference in your age.

I think you are probably just shy and have a hard time reaching out to new friends, regardless of the situation. Just follow the advice above – be there for school functions, help out when you can, and always be friendly. You’ll eventually become more comfortable around your new circle, and I suspect they will embrace you.

Good luck to you!

Plano Mom Reply:

Same here – I was in my 40s and had a full head of hair – easily 10 years on all my peers. In addition, I live in one of the wealthiest cities in the country, and I’m firmly middle class. I decided that I did NOT want my children to pick up my insecurities, so if I couldn’t feel secure and confident, I was going to fake it.

I have started trends in natural hair color and discount store jeans. Be yourself and flaunt it fabulously, knowing that many are secretly wishing they could be YOU.

Plano Mom Reply:

Er, that was a full head of GRAY hair…

09.06.11#7

Comment by rojopaul.

As evidenced by the other comments, you can clearly see that EVERYONE ELSE has insecurities too. You’re worried about being a young mom when someone else is worried about being an older mom, or maybe it’s a financial thing, or a house or spouse thing – and hopefully realizing that, you can shake it off and just be yourself.

Volunteer in the class and have a play date or homework date. If you need a place to start, start with the mom that’s a year older than you. If you can get on a committee for something, like helping with a program or party, you’ll get to know other moms too and that can break the ice. Like Heather said, they’ll see you’re a mom just like they are and there’s common ground there!

09.06.11#8

Comment by N and Em's mom.

One of my favorite moms from my daughter’s kindergarten was a young 20-something, married, stay-at-home mom with lots of energy. I was a tired thirty-six year old divorced working mom trying to slog through every day. She was my favorite person to sit next to at the soccer games, made me laugh, had a fabulous daughter that she expected great things from, and I loved them both. Even though our girls have been at different schools for 4 years and are now freshmen in HS, we are still friends. I just called her last week to see how the new school year was for her. Give us old ladies a chance!

09.06.11#9

Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

Love this whole thread. All of it. Thanks ladies.

09.06.11#10

Comment by Cheryl.

What Wendi said. Terminal uniquity will kill your social desires quite dead.

09.06.11#11

Comment by Karin.

I was right there with you – I had my first just after I turned 22 and I’m finally evening out in age now that I have my 3rd! When I’m out with just my son (who’s now 4), other parents ask if I’m going to have more or just stick with the one. I laugh and say that I’ve got 2 school-age girls!

here’s my words of wisdom – it’s a PITA when your kids are preschoolers but once your kids go to elementary school, no one cares too much about how old you the parent are.

09.07.11#12

Comment by Lisa.

You know how to get to another mom’s heart? Compliment her kid, just make sure it’s sincere. Who doesn’t like someone who likes their kid? It’s a great ice-breaker.

I also like the idea of asking for advice, but see the other point of view about it coming across as an invite for a ton of other advice. Use your judgment on that one.

09.07.11#13

Comment by Socially Stunted.

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I plan on volunteering in my daughters classroom (once I pass that silly background check) and helping out where I can when I’m not working.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one in this situation and feeling somewhat alone in the crazy world that is elementary school. ๐Ÿ™‚

09.08.11#14

Comment by Poker Chick.

Dear Socially Stunted:

I, too, am the young mommy. Everyone is always envious of you! I had that awkward feeling too but I agree with TMH; I realized it’s my problem and not anyone else’s. Once I let go of that I made more friends and now not only are some of my best friends 8+ years older than me, but I forget there’s even an age difference.

While you’re complaining that people are too old, the other moms might be complaining that the one’s they’ve met are too mean, or too dumb, or whatever.

Best advice is get over it!

09.09.11#15

Comment by Friday Roundup: Finance, Parenting and Mom Blogs | MomVesting.

[…] fantastic (even if hidden under some jokes and funny exaggerations). This week, they address how to make friends when you’re a young mom. I’m not a mom yet (and I’m not all that young), but this still had me cracking up…and ready […]

07.11.13#16

Comment by I’m A Shy Guy, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] by nature, an extremely shy person. I have also been mugged a couple of times. I am a child of a single mom who did everything better than I did, including anything physical and I am bad with my hands. I […]

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