Fact: It’s hard to make mom friends.
Also a fact: We don’t make things any easier on ourselves.
You’ve probably been in this scenario before: You’ve gathered all of your courage to go out and meet some new moms on your own. A feeling of nervousness and excitement overwhelms most of your senses as you walk into the meetup. You scan the area hoping you don’t engage the wrong group of ladies. Tension builds as you find the group and begin the process of introductions.
Down the rabbit hole we go.
It is human nature to talk about things you have in common with strangers in order to establish a bond. So you talk about where you live, how you met your husband, and the final nail in the coffin, your kids.
Ashley brings up how she’s in the middle of potty training and is just so over it. Diane read a book on how to organically teach potty training through the art of the rain stick. Sarah tells an anecdote about her cousin’s kid who was just a dream and was potty trained in five minutes. You, feeling obligated and semi-comfortable in this situation, add your own tidbit of toddler bathroom knowledge. The whole group is getting along swimmingly.
Before you know it, you’ve spent a couple of hours with this new group of mom “friends,” and realize you know absolutely nothing about them. You can easily rattle off their kids’ shoe sizes, likes and dislikes, and bedtimes. But what about the actual individual you’ve been chatting with? Who is she?
By trying to make these connections through the bond of motherhood, our conversations become superficial, and primarily not about us. The truth is we are smothering any chance of making real friends by talking about anyone other than ourselves.
Think back to a simpler time when you had to make friends in elementary school. Did you walk around with the other kids comparing stories about your parent’s housekeeping habits? No! You talked about your sticker collection. It was all about YOU and who YOU were as an individual. Otherwise, how was anyone supposed to know you preferred Barbie to Cabbage Patch?
Who are we?
There are so many wonderful and interesting things that make us who we are, and our kids are only a slice of our lives. We spend so much time talking about them; it’s time to start talking about ourselves again. Start thinking about it right now: what are your hobbies, interests, and favorite things? If you’re struggling to think of some answers to those questions, then girl, go find out!
Here’s my challenge to everyone: the next time you’re going out of your comfort zone to meet some new mom friends, skip the mommy small-talk. I’m not saying you have to spew your entire life story during the first meet up. Be brave enough to talk about who you are outside of being a mom. Remember that lady? She’s pretty awesome.
Think about your interests and get excited about them. Your enthusiasm and positivity will automatically draw people into the conversation. No one wants to miss hearing about the all the cool things you do when your kids aren’t wiping boogers on your pants.
If you’re still stuck on what to talk about, here are some conversation starters to try:
- We have our anniversary coming up and would love to try a new restaurant. What’s your favorite Italian restaurant around here?
- I just started reading Radium Girls, are you reading anything fun this summer?
- I have to bring a dessert for a picnic this weekend, what’s your go-to quick dessert?
- College football season is my absolute favorite, do you have a favorite sport?
- I’ve been binge-watching season 2 of “Riverdale” on Netflix, what are you watching right now?
I know it’s scary to be open and honest in real life. But if you truly want to cultivate deep and meaningful relationships, you have to show who you are. Be a little selfish and a have the courage to talk about yourself. Being vulnerable in front of others is the reason friendships are formed, and we all could use more mom friends in our tribes.