True Parent 5
When I first became a parent, I was struck by how alone I suddenly felt. I needed to make new mom friends, and fast. It was kind of desperate, actually—I found myself stalking new mothers at the park, the grocery store, or even public transportation. While not every parent shares my blind desperation, having the support of others in your situation is necessary—so how do you meet new parent pals, while ensuring your kid and theirs will have enough in common?
1. Make the Most of Meet Ups
Find out where other new parents congregate near you. “I met numerous people through First Weeks (a parents of infants group—check with your local hospital),” says my dad friend Eric. “Later, my kids attended a co-op preschool which requires lots of parental involvement, (so) there were numerous opportunities to socialize.”
2. Scan Your Neighborhood
“My new dad friends are my neighbors,” says dad Elijah. “Turns out we have awesome people on our street with awesome kids.” He points out the convenience of having kids so close: “Why load everyone into the car when you can just hang out on your stoop and play with the neighbors?”
3. Find a Common Interest
I invite new friends to join us on short family hikes. (We find out quickly if our companions can handle dirt and bird watching.) For Elijah’s family it’s their older son’s soccer team that supplies new buddies. “We really enjoy the other parents involved on our team,” he says. “You can tell a lot about a parent when you watch them at a soccer game—the good and bad sides.”
4. Newcomers (Might) Make Better Friends
Parents new to the area might not have found their “group” yet and may be more open to hanging out with you. Elisa put out a toddler-age “blind” play date call on a local parent listserv and met two mothers new to the area, who were interested in connecting regularly.
5. Missed Connection? Whatever!
Eric cites a lack of chemistry as one reason a match doesn’t work out, noting, “The whole package has to work; the kids and parents have to like each other.” Ultimately your limited time as a busy parent will reveal the BFFs from the lackluster contenders in your quest for family friendship. If it’s not working out, trust your parental gut and move on!
In the end, parent friendship is about what you need, and finding the right match. Just like when you were dating, it’s best to jump in and make the first move. Trust me, it will only get easier. Plus the ratio of rejection is a lot lower than real life dating, and besides, there’s always someone to thank (or to blame) for the outcome—your kid!