I have struggled off and on since college to make close female friends. My boyfriend/then fiancé/now husband and I moved around quite a bit and it was hard for us to meet people once we weren’t in school.
We were in Georgia for around four years before we had Finn. I had met some people through my work as a teacher, but still hadn’t found new friends to really click with. I missed the kind of friends I had had in high school and college, but I was busy working and I had my husband to spend time with on the weekend.
Then I had Finn. And after I emerged three or so months after his birth from my nursing/pajamas/couch daze I realized I needed to make some friends. My husband travels most weeks for his job and my high school and college friends don’t have kids for the most part so I knew I needed to meet some other moms quickly.
Easier said than done, I discovered. I then spent months looking for friends. I was a dog with a bone. I joined groups on Meetup.com. I joined national mom’s groups. I went on messages boards. I joined local groups. I went to group after group, meeting after meeting, all with a refluxy baby who I cried everywhere we went.
And it was hard. Now in a friend I needed not just someone I clicked with but someone who’s parenting philosophies were at least a little in line with mine. There was a group of local moms I went to who told me I need to go in the other room to nurse…I felt so uncomfortable after meeting them that I cried in the car on the way home. The mom who told me that she waited to answer her two week old baby’s cries because she didn’t want to be manipulated by him? Not someone who was going to be my new BFF.
Finally, I met some women I liked in a group that seemed nice. After one meeting the group’s organizer stepped down. I was so close! I could not let these women escape! So I did the only logical thing (at least to my sleep deprived and desperate mind) and stepped up to be the new leader.
That was about a year and a half ago. I consider myself a shy person, but I now run a mom’s group of about 40 women. A lot of them are friendly acquaintances, but some of them have become my best friends, who know me and my son inside out.
I can’t imagine being a mom without these women. They give structure to my day and provided well needed adult conversation in a sea of Elmo and toddler shrieks. We have fun together, and I have people who are experiencing the same things I am when I need advice or a shoulder to cry on. Finding friends as a parent is almost more difficult than when I was single. Do our kids get along? Are our schedules compatible? I have found that it was worth all the missteps to have finally found my tribe.