The (At Least Partially) Sane Mom’s Guide to Keeping Your Friends While Raising Toddlers

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Photo: Adina Voicu

For sometimes seemingly invisible moms everywhere.

We see you, Mom. The one covered in snot, poop, vomit, and breakfast from earlier today. You are at the park with your little one (or many little ones). Your hair is pulled back to hide the fact you probably haven’t showered today and your yoga pants have seen better times.

You’re letting them run out all the energy they have bottled up…because you want to survive.

And we get it. It feels nearly impossible to work around wiping noses, changing diapers, and endless nursing sessions to maintain friendships with other moms, but sometimes just one adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around boogers is exactly what we need as mothers.

Do you remember what it was like hanging out with friends back in the year 1 BC (Before Children)? Do you wonder: Is it even possible to find a friend who understands the madness that is now my life and won’t judge me when they see me wearing the same stained t-shirt for the third day in a row? How on earth does a mother of a child or multiple children ever find time for such things?

This is how.

Tips for Making Friends While Juggling Toddlers

  1. Get out of the house more often.  It IS legitimately challenging, but vow today to get outside to the park, to take a walk, to descend on the mall playground–anywhere that will put you in direct contact with other adult e humans with kids. Once you’re in the general area of other parents with kids, the little ones will surely do something that will help the adults strike up a conversation. And then those under-used social skills will come flooding back.
  2. Be brave. Make the first move. Don’t sit back and wait like you did with that boy from high school. You do not have the time for all that smile-then-look-away-business these days. All moms know that disastrous things can happen in the time it could take to make eye contact a few times. Your kids can spill three sippy cups, eat several bugs, and discover six new scrapes that “need” a bandaid in that amount of time. So don’t waste that precious time when they’re scaling the jungle gyms. Take charge, strike up conversation, and put yourself out there to talk to another mom first. Feeling nervous? Just remember this. Chances are the other is feeling the same way. She’d welcome a conversation with someone who is over 3 feet tall, but might not feel brave enough to make the first move to start a conversation.
  3. Get those digits or connect on Facebook. Once you have broken the ice, and this may take a few different attempts or meetings, ask your new mom acquaintance for her phone number. The perfect opening line for this? “We should get the kids together some time for a playdate.” Your kids may even fast forward the process for you by asking if their newfound playmates can come over to play. (Don’t they know there is laundry all over the living room?)
  4. Don’t be afraid of trial and error.  Just because you and this other mom have kids the same age or live in the same neighborhood doesn’t mean you will immediately hit it off or that you’ll instantly become best friends. Making mom friends is like making any other type of friends. There’s trial and error involved. And some people will click better as acquaintances, while others become regulars in the cast of your life. If you and mom A don’t hit it off, no worries! The world has no shortage of tired moms who’d be grateful for adult company who you can reach out to another day.

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