You’ve made it through the first couple of months of motherhood. Congratulations, high fives and celebratory coffees all around! But what now? Chances are that unless you’ve coordinated your fertility with your inner circle of friends, most of your crew will be at work in the daytime. Or you could very well be in a new ‘hood, city, state or – as in my case – new country. And as cute and cuddly as your new bundle of joy is, they’re not great at conversation.
It’s time to get out of the house and join the dating scene. No, I’m not suggesting an amorous connection. But finding your new mom (or dad) crew can feel just as pressurized as those first dates that ultimately led to your precious bundle. And just getting started can be tough if you’re not feeling your sparkly best when you’re sleep deprived and focused on keeping your tiny human alive.
So here are my tips for finding your new tribe; whether that’s one special person who is your perfect mom match, or a whole crew for endless play dates for you and your little one.
Get out of your house
You’re not going to meet people sitting at home. So put on outdoor clothes — yes, yoga pants and your comfy sweater are acceptable — and go outside. It is perfectly okay for your baby to wear PJs at any time of day, so don’t worry about getting them into the perfect outfit.
Join a parent/baby class that you will enjoy too
For me, it was Wiggleworms at Old Town School of Folk Music. I was singing nursery rhymes all day anyway, so it was a great opportunity to learn some new ones. While you’re there, try and strike up a conversation with the other parents. They’re mostly in the same boat as you. Not sure what to say? Think about some conversation starters before you go. Yes this really is like the dating game — pick-up lines and all. How about the craziness of Chicago weather, the Cubs’ chances this year, or what happened on “The Bachelor” as some ideas to get you started.
Don’t be afraid to make the first move
Once you get outside you’ll likely start running into the same people with babies in tow – coffee shops and grocery stores are great places for spotting a familiar face. Stop and say, “Hi.” Chances are they’re craving adult conversation, too. Your ‘everywhere person’ could turn out to be a new friend for you, and their kiddo a lifelong pal for your little one. I said, “Hi” to my own ‘everywhere person’ in a Starbucks when I thought she’d given me a wave of recognition. Turned out she was waving to the person behind me. Oops. But almost seven years later I’m particularly glad I did, as our eldest boys are still best of friends. So be brave!
Use your professional skills
Whatever your career before baby arrived, you probably had to talk to people. And when you met new people you’d give them a business card so they could get in touch with you again. Now I know we all have phones at our fingertips 24/7, but consider getting a few cards printed to pass out when you’ve made a hot new connection. It’s so much easier than juggling a phone, crying baby and trying to remember your own number. And don’t panic if the person you thought was ‘the one’ doesn’t call right away. Or even at all. You’ve gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince(ss) Charming.
Say yes. A lot.
It takes the coordination skills of a logistics expert to get out of the house sometimes no matter what age your children are, but if you get invited to join a play date or mom meet-up, then go! Build your network, keep exchanging numbers, and soon your days will be jam-packed with park play dates, kiddie classes and coffee (or wine) plans with your new tribe.