Moving to a new place can be hard. Especially with kids in tow. It’s not just the logistical nightmare, it’s the isolation and homesickness that comes from suddenly finding yourself in a new place where you know no one. Being a stay-at-home mom can often feel lonely anyway, which is why a circle of mom friends is so important. Once the boxes are unpacked and the furniture’s in place, it’s time to start making new friends—for everyone’s sanity. Here are a few tips for tackling this daunting task.
1. Sign up for things
A quick Google search should give you a sense of what kinds of Mommy and Me classes, sing-alongs, groups, etc. exist in your new neighborhood. Even if nothing sounds particularly interesting, pick one or two and sign up. The idea here is for you and your child to meet other parents and children, not necessarily to find the perfect tutor for your tiny Monet. There’s probably also a local Facebook group for moms in your area. Join the group. Even if you don’t really do Facebook or worry that you’ll just get a bunch of useless notifications, you should still join. You might meet some other moms and kids that way, and there are sure to be posts on there about things to do in the area.
2. Set up play dates with people you don’t know
Sure, it can be nerve-wracking to invite someone over that you don’t actually know that well (or at all), but this is the way to begin building a new circle of friends. See someone in the park who seems nice and has a kid your age? Strike up a conversation and get her phone number. See if she wants to make a time to get together. Write a post on the neighborhood Facebook group letting everyone know that you’re new to the area and wondering if anyone would like to have a play date. (You’ll probably get so many responses your calendar will be booked from now until Christmas.) See if someone from one of the classes you signed up for wants to do something outside of class. (If this sounds a little bit like dating, it is. Just roll with it.)
3. Host an event
People love to do activities, but they’re not always so into planning them. If you have any organizational skills whatsoever, this is a great way to meet a lot of people at once. You could host a clothing swap, an arts and crafts party, a sing-along, or anything that interests you. Invite all the moms you’ve been meeting around town, post an invitation on the Facebook group, or make an announcement at your Mommy and Me class. It’s a great way to get yourself on the radars of the other moms and to meet people who are interested in activities that you and your child are interested in too. (If hosting a large group in your own home isn’t feasible, have a meet-up at a local park.)
5. Organize a weekly play group
Again, moms love to have things to do with their kids, but not everyone is big on organizing them. If you feel like you can manage it, reach out to the other moms in the groups and classes you’ve joined to see if there’s any interest in a weekly play group. This will allow you and your child to see the same friendly faces each week and begin to develop real friendships. It will also give you a guaranteed activity each week, which is always a plus. A play group can be as simple as a bunch of moms and kids meeting each week for playing and chatting. Or it could incorporate an activity and a snack if you want it to be a bit more structured.
6. Try not to get discouraged
Meeting new people can be hard. Moms are busy and probably have already settled into their own routines and have their own friends. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to get to know you, too, it just means it isn’t a priority for them the way it is for you. At first, things might feel like they’re off to a great start as you find all kinds of places to join and things to do. And you might feel like you’ve already met your five new best friends. But you’re probably going to hit a lull as the excitement of all these new possibilities wears off and life intervenes. Don’t worry if your new friends aren’t around for a few weeks, or if your Mommy and Me class turns out to be full of nannies. Life is complicated for everyone, and some weeks are going to be more full than others. Just keeping putting yourself out there and you’re bound to feel settled in in no time.