5 Tips to Finding Your Mom Tribe
Having a new baby can be amazing. And exhausting. And lonely. You’re going through a lot of emotional changes and physical transformations. If there is anyone who can relate, it’s a fellow new mom.
When you’re recovering from birth and overwhelmed by caring for a newborn, the last thing you want to do is to go on a hunt for new mom friends. But hear us out. We promise you’ll #findyourtribe before you know it.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that parenting is much easier when you do it with friends, and it doesn’t matter whether those friends are online or in person—both can be the difference between a stressful day and an awesome day.
Read on for our top 5 tips for finding your Mom Tribe.
Be Real. Don’t be afraid to tell the new mom you’re standing next to in line for your double shot latte how you’re really doing. Maybe you’re having a great day because your little one slept for four hours straight for the first time, or maybe you’re feeling tired and frazzled because you can’t tell if your baby is getting enough milk since he seems to want to eat every 1.5 hours.
You don’t have to say “everything is great.” If you say what’s really on your mind we almost guarantee that the other mom will immediately open up too. And when that happens, both of you will walk away feeling rejuvenated, with a weight lifted off your shoulders.
Another benefit of being real is that you’ll find out sooner rather than later if the mom you’re talking to is someone you want to spend your time with. Did she smile awkwardly when you said your baby is having trouble latching or did she jump right in? Trust your gut and if you like her, keep in touch (see #5, below).
Don’t judge. We know this sounds obvious, like when your parents told you everyone doesn’t have to dress the same or have the same hobbies. People are going to parent differently, and that’s okay. If you listen with an open mind, you may walk away with new ideas or at least a new perspective on what it means to be a parent. You also don’t know much about a new mom’s circumstances, so it’s better not to speculate.
For example, the formula or breastmilk decision isn’t always black and white. We’ve heard from one mom who pumped 20 minutes eight times a day only to get 5-7 oz of milk. Another mom breastfed her child for two years because she enjoyed it and felt strongly about attachment parenting. We say to each, her own. When you keep an open mind, you may open yourself up to friendships you wouldn’t otherwise have made.
Take Your Baby to Classes. The first few times you take your little one to her first music class she may be sleeping the whole time or taking a bottle or breast and you may be wondering why you even showed up!
Hang tight. Before you know it, your little one will be swaying to the tune and you’ll be wondering how she developed so quickly and equally sweet, you’re surrounded by other parents or caregivers going through something very similar to you. You’ll be chatting it up in no time (see #4, below)!
What’s better than a baby music class? A free one! Check your local library for sing-a-longs, music classes and story times. These classes are usually educationally oriented, organized by age group and are free for parents and kids. Your little one will enjoy some important socialization, and YOU can too.
After the class, hang out, say hi to another mom or walk to the nearest park.
The hospital you delivered at may also offer a weekly support group where you can get advice from lactation consultants, listen to speakers and interact with other new moms and babies.
Work full time? Many local libraries offer Saturday morning classes where you can meet other parents!
Say Yes to Coffee and Birthday Parties. Did another mom casually suggest you get together for a playdate or grab a coffee? That was a big move on her part, so follow up! We know it can feel like a dating game, but it doesn’t have to.
Meet up a few times with your baby in tow. Babies provide lots of natural icebreakers because there is rarely a dull moment! It's okay if the plans fall through often and you need to reschedule.
Things come up a lot when you have a small baby (and toddler) so it's important not to get discouraged and know that the other mom won't mind you canceling last minute. I texted with one of my new mom friends for a YEAR before we finally met up and now she's a good friend. I have another mom friend that I met through an online moms groups (see #5) but have never met in person, yet we text pretty regularly.
Another surefire way to meet similarly situated parents is to say yes to birthday party invitations. The first year birthday circuit can be a lot of fun if you reframe your idea of a Saturday social life!
You can take the lead by inviting your babe’s peers from his music class, playdates or daycare to your child’s first birthday! I met some of my closest friends this way!
You can also schedule a regular meetup with mom friends (see #5). Ask them to meet at a nearby park, pool, or play place every Saturday at 9am or once a month. Having a consistent meetup will also give you something to look forward to each week/month.
Join a virtual and/or in person moms’ group on ellie. With today’s ability to stay connected, no one has to parent alone. You can download ellie, the new app for parenting groups and join or start a moms groups today. When you download the app on iOS or Android, you’ll automatically be a part of the ellie group, where you can talk about Sleep, Baby Products, Health & Development and so much more.
Don’t be shy. There is likely a new mom who wants to ask the exact same questions you’re thinking about. Make her life easier by going for it. You can also use ellie to create in-person meetups. Invite a few friends or your whole moms group--the app makes it easy to collect RSVPs and see who’s coming!
And that new mom friend you met at the coffee shop? You don’t need to get her number. Just add her as a friend on ellie and chat directly with her on the app!
About the author:
Hayley Nivelle is the Co-Founder & CEO of ellie, the new app for parenting groups. Originally from Kansas City, she lives in the NYC area with her husband and two boys. She has relied on her moms groups for everything from breastfeeding supply tips to dealing with the fun and challenges of a two year old! Sign up for parenting tricks, tips and inspiration at www.myellie.com and follow @elliemoms for a bit of daily love!