My Secret to getting through my first year (and beyond!) of being a mom
I moved to a new city when my firstborn was 3 weeks old. Everybody was concerned for me – that I would hate the new city and that I would have no friends because I would be at home all day with a baby. But it ended up being a great year with many friends around that would continue into more wonderful years.
It turns out, it’s incredibly easy to make new friends when you have a baby! Like ridiculously easy. And these friends are vital not only for emotional support for what you’re going through but also for the sanity of having somebody else to hang out with while the rest of the world is at work.
I swear many moms and especially new moms are practically begging you to please come and talk to them. Just look at them – it’s not hard to catch their eyes or a smile and strike up conversation because like you, they have been home all day with a baby and are in desperate need of adult conversation. And you have so much common ground! Think about it – you go to a party and are introduced to new people. Possible small talk questions include: What do you do for work? Are you from this city? What do you like to do for fun? And then the awkward silence. But with new moms, you have a plethora of topics with many questions oozing from them:
Conception – First try? Accidental pregnancy? Difficulties getting pregnant? Natural conception? In-vitro? Fertility drugs?
Pregnancy – Were you sick? Moody? Tired? What did you crave? What did you eat? Did you use a midwife? An OB?
Labour – How long was it? How brutal was it? Did you have back labour? Did you use pain meds? Was it vaginal? C-section? How was your recovery?
Breastfeeding – Are you breastfeeding? Do you feel like a human pacifier? How well did your baby latch? Are you formula feeding? Are you pumping? Does your husband help with feedings?
Sleep – How does the baby sleep? How are you sleeping? What are the possible reasons for the baby not sleeping? Is your baby colicky?
Activities – What do you do with your baby all day? Do you want to take the babies swimming next week? Do you want to go for coffee? Perhaps a walk in the park?
Tips – This section can open up a whole can of worms as you tell your mom friend a problem you are having and ask advice for it. The list is endless…
Planning – Are you going back to work? Did you already register for a daycare? How difficult is it to get into a daycare? Do you think you’ll have more kids? How close together do you want them?
Yes, some of these questions may not be appropriate at first, but as you spend more time with your new mom friend, you will likely discuss all of these topics (and more!) because you can both relate on some level to almost all of them. It’s hard to run out of things to talk about!
There are definitely a few rules of thumb for meeting new friends that it’s always wise to heed.
1. Trying not to judge – We’re all trying to do the best we can with our babies, please don’t judge the choices other moms make. And if you need to judge them, keep your judgements to yourself. And that means body language too!
2. Giving advice where it’s not asked – If I ask for advice, please give me all of your solutions, but many times, I’m not asking – I’m just venting. Try to know the difference between the two.
3. Tommy Toppers – We’re always excited to talk about our kids. When I tell a story about something my baby does, good or bad, it’s great if you can make an effort not to top my story. Go ahead, relate to what I’m saying, complain about your situation, brag about your situation — but I don’t need my story topped every single time.
Although it can seem like a difficult task to find mom friends, it’s actually incredibly easy! All you have to do is figure out where moms are, be friendly, put yourself out there and you will begin to connect with other moms. I met mom friends at a “mommy/baby” yoga class, at a local pool for “infant/mommy” swim, and at government sponsored programs such as prenatal classes and Early Years Centres. I even met one of my great mom friends at the elevators of my condo building. It was like “Hey, you have a baby, I have a baby – let’s be friends!”
No matter your situation, whether you already have lots of friends or not, if you don’t have mom friends with babies around the same age as you, I encourage you to find them – they are out there and they might need you as much as you need them. It makes a world of difference – and the bonus is, your child gets a playmate too!!!