I’ve Struggled to Make and Keep Mommy Friends


emptypark

Some days we go to play at the park and it’s just empty like this. I have to work hard here to find people to play with.

By Alicia Barnes,  liciabobesha.com

In my rural, southern town there aren’t any of the meet ups I hear moms going to. There is a MOPs chapter about 20 miles away, but they meet during the work day. If I had that time of day free, I’d just go to the park when I knew stay-at-home moms would be there.

Yet, with my husband in school and without family close by, I have to meet people for my two year old to play with or else I’d go crazy. I mean this mommy can only sing “Do you wanna build a snowman” so many times.

Meeting people here before I had a child was challenging. Now with a toddler, it’s more so. I have to find parents and a child who we both like, available when we are, and with compatible enough interests. While things have not been as successful as I’d like, I have made some progress in making, meeting, and keeping mommy friends by focusing on the following areas:

1. School – My son goes to a child development center while I’m at work. When I’m dropping off, picking up, or attending an event, I make sure to talk to the parents of his classmates. If I see them around town, I stop and talk and suggest we should get the kids together some time to play.l did this at the grocery store once and got invited over for a playdate that very afternoon. I particularly focus on the classmates my son mentions the most at home. Many parents want nothing of socializing with their kids’ friends from school, but some of our best play friends have come from this.

2. The Park – I go to our community parks often. I started seeing the same families again and again. We ended up becoming friends on facebook so we could coordinator our park visits ensuring we wouldn’t have to be the only ones riding down the slides with our kids. What I didn’t anticipate from this was in the winter, these meets ups moved indoors and we had people to play with still on the coldest days.

3. Community events – Arts festivals, college football tailgating, outdoor concerts, and the farmers’ market have offered chances to meet other people while letting my two year old run around. Sometimes after running into the same people at different locations and our kids playing well, we’ve exchanged contact info to plan future playdates.

Despite my limited resources, I have been able to build some small playgroup resources. Not as robust as I’d like. I haven’t found any other black moms to play regularly with, but I’m always looking for the opportunity. I know my life would be enriched if I could find friends for both me and my child who shared more than just a similar schedule.

Most of my problem is most of the time when I’ve met moms who have kids the right age who I think I could be friends with, they are on a stay-at-home schedule and/or they move away. Such is life in a college town. People come and go in masses as the semesters end.

In a lot of ways, becoming a mommy has been a lot like starting at a new school. There are existing cliques, some of which I know I’ll never be accepted, not that I want to be. There’s a lot of awkwardness while trying to figure out exactly who I am as a mom. There’s more loneliness than I expected. There’s a lot of putting myself out there without lots of solid returns. I get discouraged sometimes, but then I have a weekend like this one: a birthday party, a farm tour, two conflicting playdate invites with one reschedule, and plans for tomorrow with potentially two different families. Things are looking better and better. I just have to keep looking.

Have you had trouble meeting, making, or keeping mommy friends? What tips have helped you build your tribe?

Alicia lives in a small college town that often challenges her resolve to live as simply and as stress-free as possible. When she’s not working, rereading the same children’s books, cooking, or wondering how crunchy she’s become, she’s busy updating her site,  liciabobesha.com. You can follow her on facebook.

About Alicia B

Alicia lives and took a semester of photography in a small college town that often challenges her resolve to live as simply and as stress-free as possible. When she’s not working, rereading the same children’s books, cooking, or wondering how crunchy she’s become, she’s busy updating her site, liciabobesha.com. You can follow her on facebook.


  • http://www.DearDumplin.com Joey

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have no mommy friends close by and usually have to drive at least an hour to visit my friends or the other way around. I never thought about going to the neighborhood park regularly to meet people. I am going to try some of these tips. Thanks again!

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  • http://puffpuffpoof.wordpress.com Puff

    Alicia, I just came to say your articles are some of my favorite! You are so honest and forthright and I appreciate that so much.
    My husband and I are talking about when we start a family, so I’ve started reading more and more mom blogs. We’re isolated from both our families right now and it is hard for me to imagine how we would make friends with kids & also find support through those friends. Currently we live in a downtown neighborhood that we love but there aren’t many families and so far there aren’t any black families with kids.

    You touched on the lack of Black moms you have access to. Do you have anymore insight on to how to connect with Black moms? My husband is white and it is important to me that my child be around black people because I know they will struggle to identify since I have very light skin and I’m sure they will be practically translucent (I have hope for the hair since I have lots of coarse kinky hair :P). Overall I wouldn’t mind connecting with all sorts of interracial and/or non-white families. There’s so much children (and adults) can learn by being around children that aren’t exactly like them. Any thoughts on how to seek diverse families?

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    • Alicia B

      Oh thank you so much. I’m so glad to know you’re enjoying my posts.

      My biggest challenges I’ve found with connecting with black local moms is our interests and lifestyles not matching up. The ones I’ve met have mostly been through child care and community events. While we’d never be besties I definitely keep those connections going to make sure my son grows up seeing and knowing a variety of people.

      To seek diverse groups, don’t be afraid to be the one offering to host.

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  • http://butterflyhomeschool.com Donna Marie Johnson

    Wow, what a loaded question, Alicia! LOL! I have always had a challenge with this… but for me it is not just because of circumstances, it is because I am just one of those folks who has few close friends. I have always been that way. Nevertheless, I do try to reach out because I am a natural extravert, but have some introverted ways at times, too.

    Lately, since all of our kids are now tweens, I have been letting my kids connect with teens and adults who have big vision and strong character and are leadership / business minded. I stopped focusing on trying to find other kids in the same age range. This has been proving to be an awesome experience for them and for me. These folks definitely are a better fit for me and for my kids, moreso than just connecting with folks just because our kids are in the same age ranges or grade levels or are homeschoolers.

    I hope this helps you, too. Let me know what you think… oh, and if you’re ever in Atlanta, I’d love to meet up with you, even though our kids are older than yours.

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    • Alicia B

      I look forward to that stage very much. Right now I’m trying to focus on enjoying what we can learn from the people who make time for us and want to play. Not always perfect match ups but something always to be gained from it.

      ATL is great. So many resources. I’ll have to let you know next time I spend a few days there.

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  • http://blackmothering.com Yardyspice

    I used to have a problem and at the time I thought there weren’t a lot of black SAHMs but we’re out there so I started my own black mommy group and met some moms that way. I also befriend other moms of color so my son and I would always have people to play with.

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