Friends come from all walks of life. You’ll have friends that have lasted from your school days. Friends that you’ve made from work. Friends you’ve made through other friends and so on.
But the hardest time to make friends is definitely when you feel most isolated, and for many mums that’s after the birth of a child.
It’s frustrating because the desperation seeps out of the pores of many new mums looking to find some comfort in the open arms of another sleep deprived individual with a reflux vomiting baby.
But the reality is those arms generally remain closed. Not because people are mean, but because it’s hard to let a stranger suddenly into your life even if you both so desperately need it.
And so the isolated mother continues. Lone walks pushing a pram to the park. Texting the friends that ‘were’ just to keep a line of communication with anyone open to not feel quite so lonely.
Making friends as an adult is hard.
But it’s not impossible.
And it’s not just mums, many new dads must feel the same pressures.
I’ve listed a variety of ways to make sure you don’t feel that isolation ever, because some of the things you can do can begin during pregnancy.
But if you find it’s too late to turn back the clock, I also have some ideas on making new friends with a baby in tow.
Hopefully you’ll find some of these ideas useful. But don’t stress too much if you’ve tried everything and it still isn’t working for you. The best friends you’ll make fall into your life at the right time and in the right way. Just be open to receiving that friendship when it appears. It may take months or years to nurture, or it could be an instantaneous spark.
One of my huge regrets is not joining an antenatal NCT group, but then again when I had my first-born we were moving so I knew making friends in the area we were in was pointless. I did consider it again when I was pregnant with my second baby, but Mr London Mum was working abroad and lack of childcare in the evenings meant it wasn’t something I could attend without neglecting my son. But I know from loads of friends that have joined the antenatal NCT groups that they’ve made lifelong friends. Whether that’s with the whole group or just a specific person from that group its been successful for them.
The cost to join the group does seem quite steep ‘just to make friends’ but it’s a great place to gain some invaluable information as well. And honestly the cost is worth it if you come out of that group and begin your journey as a parent with other parents alongside you.
Friendship apps are the new dating apps. Many people now turn to the online world to find their perfect partner, so why not turn to the online world to find your perfect friend? After all many friends last longer than husbands or wives 😉
Pal is a newly launched app which can help you find connections close to where you live. You can search through activities and connect that way, or if there’s an activity you really enjoy you can create your own and let other people find you. Chat can be in groups or one on one, so it’s up to you really to make the connections that suit your lifestyle.
While using an app might seem strange now, I think we can all safely say that times have moved on. And it’s a great way to reach out to other lonely parents stuck at home.
3. Play groups
Every town or city has a play group which is open to all parents. Usually there’s a small fee but it’s worth that to just get out the house and often have a hot cup of tea or coffee (which is normally a complimentary feature). I went to a great one where we used to live that cost £2 per child, and they’d provide tea, coffee and biscuits for the parents and a light snack for the kids- which actually worked well as a lunch for William because they always had quite a lot of food!
Because the kids are busy you’ll be able to strike up conversations easily. After a few meets you could even mention a trip to the park or the duck pond?
4. Birthday parties
If you feel like after years of trying you’re still lonely don’t fret. Once your kid is eligible for their free nursery hours (if they don’t attend a nursery already), you’ll be inundated with birthday party invitations. We didn’t start getting them until our son started the pre school part of his nursery. This is the time when I feel like real friendships are forged between the kids and little friendship groups start to form. It’s at this age as well that children are more aware over what their birthday means and so parents feel like they have to throw bigger celebrations. My son has a social life that’s far superior to mine, but I don’t mind. I’m starting to get to know the other mums at nursery because I’m bumping into them at the various parties most weekends. And some of those mums I’ll be bumping into at the school gates come September! We’re all connected now by phone and where possible we arrange play dates giving us all the chance to get to know each other better.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post