Saturday, June 7, 2014

How to Win [Mommy] Friends

Friendships can be tricky.  Even as an adult, we are often looking to make friends, solidify friendships, and maintain friendships.  Based on my own experiences (and pet peeves), I have a few tips for making and keeping friends when you enter the world of SAHM.

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.
                                                                                      -Edna Buchanan

Even an introverted homebody like me needs a few fellow stay-at-home moms to get together with, relate to, and chase after my kids with from time to time.  This is even more true if you do not live near your own sister or parents (I do not).

Let's start with ways to maintain new friendships:

1.  I beg of you, don't compare your children's milestones and percentiles.  No one wants to hear that your kid is in the 99th percentile of anything.  Not because of jealousy, but because it is simply obnoxious.

2.  If your friend has a baby, please visit her, call her, text her.  Bring her a dinner.  Hold her baby so she can take a shower.  She will remember it.

3.  Try not to think that the grass-is-always-greener with your new friend.  Remember that you both have challenges in your lives, even though she may be hiding hers and appears to live on easy street.  Envy makes people uncomfortable and takes away from one's generosity of spirit.

4.  Reciprocity:  If someone invites you over for a playdate, plan on returning the favor in the weeks that follow.  Playdates are easier for the mom who is the guest because her kids are so entertained by all the 'new' toys at the host's.  It can be tiring to always be the host.  (Though there are exceptions, like when my daughter still took a morning nap, our only choice was to have people over to our home for a while to play with my son).

5.  My favorite tip?  Try to get together without the kids in tow every once in a while, even if it is just a couple times a year.  You know, so you can actually finish a sentence and get to know each other.

Very new moms might read this and wonder how on earth you make some mom friends in the first place?

Here are a few ideas that have truly worked for me:

1.  Call a mom you met at preschool drop-off or pick-up who seems nice and who you think your kid might get along with and invite them over.  (Sidenote:  After being with my reserved-at-first husband for many years, I have learned that often a quiet, shy person is just that.  I try not to automatically assume someone is bitchy just because she isn't immediately Chatty Cathy).

2.  I have made new friends at the park.  Parks are for moms a what bars are for single people.  If your kids are the same age, there are many things to talk about, and you can trade numbers before you leave.  Warning:  If a mom seems competitive, know-it-all, or some other annoying trait, I have learned to never take the next step; the last thing I need is a stressful friendship.

3.  The children's sections at libraries are also SAHM hot spots.  I encourage you to approach the disheveled, frazzled mom to approach-- she will probably be funnier, nicer, and a lot more real with you.  Lesson:  the more frantic (ha!) she seems, the better partner in crime comrade she will likely be.

What are your best friend-making and keeping tips?  I'm sure I can always learn more.

~Frantic Mama

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