As much as we love our kids, significant others, sisters, moms, etc., sometimes we just need our friends ... and no one else will do.
The health and mental benefits of friendships are many—they boost our happiness, reduce our stress, improve our self-worth and help us cope with tough times.
Moms also tend to worry more about finances (a BabyCenter survey found that 76% of moms say they are stressed about money) and wish they had sounding boards for financial advice, says Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central Consulting. "We'd like to discuss things like managing our finances and how to start saving for college, and friendships are a great outlet for that."
But overall, more moms tend to feel lonely than their non-mom counterparts.
"We've found in our research that women feel increasingly isolated after they have children," says DeBroff. "Especially for Gen Y moms, 69% of them said they felt isolated at the time of their child's birth, compared to 59% of Gen X moms who felt that way."
How Do You Connect With Other Moms?
How do you make mom friends? Have you ever heard of or been a member of a working moms group?
At LearnVest, we want moms to feel rich in both their bank accounts and their personal lives. So in this increasingly busy, technology-driven age, how can moms go about making new friends? DeBroff offered some ideas.
Make It a Party
Just because the moms you see dropping their kids off at school and playdates seem busy, don't count them out as potential friends. "If there are a handful of women you've seen on multiple occasions, try setting up a no-pressure, group atmosphere where you can feel them out and see if you are compatible," she says.
Yes, we're suggesting a group (friend) date: Try picking a Saturday to invite all the moms of the kids in your child's kindergarten class (or another activity she's involved in) over for a pizza playdate. "Make sure the women know you expect them to stay while the kids play. Talk with everyone, and you'll get an idea for who fits your personality and has the time to build a friendship," she says.
Take Your Online Friends ... Offline
According to studies, more than 20 million moms are on Facebook, and nearly 80% with kids under age 18 are active in social media. Online networks are a great opportunity for us to make friends, says DeBroff. "The trick is to bring the friendship offline, as well." For example, say you're a member of Mamapedia, a community of moms that allows you to join online groups with women in your area. Try inviting someone from that group to coffee in real life. You never know—your new best friend could be living right down the street.
Get Involved in a Group
Local, mom-centric groups, like International MOMS Club and Stroller Strides, abound in most cities and make it easy for moms to link up in person with other like-minded moms in their area. "The difference between making more acquaintances and making deep friendships is meeting women with similar interests," says DeBroff, and the specificity of these local groups (bonding over fitness, for example, or the goings-on in your town) allows you to do just that.
Covet Thy Friends' Friends
Another great way to meet potential mom friends is through the friends you already have. "Something I did that's been really powerful for me was to be part of a women's group where we were all moms, and we would meet and talk about common experiences, and whatever else was going on in our lives at the time," DeBroff says.
To start a similar group, she suggests shooting for a group of eight to ten women. Invite one or two of your own friends, and encourage them to invite a friend of two of their own. They dynamics may change over time as the kids grow, and that's OK: What started as monthly potlucks for DeBroff's group turned into meetings once every two months, then once a quarter as their kids got older and their jobs got busier. "It becomes like a sisterhood. We even take whole weekends to have get-togethers when we can," she says.
Have you felt more or less isolated since having kids? Have tips on making mom friends? Tell us in the comments.
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