Mom dating. It can be rough out there. Since becoming a mom and having my whole world, schedule, activities and mental health flipped upside down, I’ve been on a fierce hunt for mom friends. But it’s a tricky endeavor. Most will agree that finding a boyfriend, husband, life partner, etc. was easy peasy compared to the task of finding a single, solid mom friend.
It’s not because there are slim pickings. I moved to Jacksonville last summer, and it is swarming with rad moms I want to hang out with. But my list of wants/needs has just quadrupled since my non-platonic dating days. Before having kids, my ideal friend would have been someone who shared the same interests as me, maybe watched the same shows, and was always down to go to the beach. Now that I’m a mom, my wish list looks something like this:
1. Has a child in morning VPK.
2. Doesn’t work during the day.
3. Has a child who won’t hurt my kids but is outgoing enough to engage with my social butterflies.
4. Lives within 15 minutes of me.
5. Doesn’t have a ton of family living close by that always keeps them busy.
6. Likes spending time with me.
Does this person even exist??? Now that I’ve made it sound impossible, I’ll admit that I have slowly started to acquire some friends. And this is what I’ve figured out:
Be open minded about who could be your next friend and always say “yes.” When I first moved here, I was fortunate to have access to a few groups of moms through church and my husband’s job. I was invited to some playdates and moms’ nights where I developed a few mom crushes. I made an effort to develop a friendship with these particular women, but it didn’t quite work out as I hoped. Surprisingly, two of my best mom friends that I spend the most time with now are women who I initially didn’t click with. Because I was never opposed to being their friend and always accepted invitations to get together, it paid off and gave me two solid friends.
Toss the list. I never found the one specific friend who checked off all my wants and needs on my ridiculous wish list. That list above is actually composed of things that complicate the friendships I do have, but still work. If you find someone who has ONE thing you really like, snag her! So what if her kid is the one who spits on your kid at preschool? If she’s cool, hang out with her. I have the best neighbors, and they don’t even have kids! But they tolerate mine. So we do dinner together and go on occasional walks whenever they’re available. I have actually discovered that I enjoy having a variety of friend “types.” I have the friend who I love to workout with and spend time with, despite the fact that our kids don’t get along. I have a friend who has spiritual beliefs that I ignorantly didn’t know even existed, but I am fascinated by her and think she is exceptional. By ditching the idea of the “perfect” friend, I have found so many people who have enriched my life.
Put yourself out there. This can be the hardest part and can take work and even some research. But you must FIND THE MOMS! I mentioned I had a good start with church groups personally, but here are some other hot mom spots:
- Jacksonville Mom’s Blog: Hi! Welcome. I went to some of the park hop playdates last summer and immediately found myself with 15 new Facebook friends after ONE HOUR! Also, as a scared newbie to the area, the JMB team made me feel like I was going to be just fine here in Jacksonville. I have found amazing friends and support through the blog — and one of the best places to start is with the Neighborhood Facebook Groups! Join a couple and introduce yourself, and also be sure to hit up some of the Moms’ Night Out events and Family Nights.
- The Peanut App: If you secretly wish you could try Tinder, then this is for you. Peanut is basically online dating for moms. You get to create a profile, which requires some healthy introspection, then get to swiping! I tried this out, and it was really fun. I didn’t make any lifelong friends, but I met some sweet moms and discovered new places for future playdates.
- MOMs Club: I haven’t personally tried MOMs Club myself, but it comes highly recommended. It’s a neighborhood support group of moms (many stay-at-home) who get together and partake in monthly activities, fun playdates and Moms’ Night Out gatherings. With a variety of local branches from Intracoastal to the Beaches to Mandarin, click here to find a MOMs Club group in your area!
- Bay & Bee: I actually had one of my Peanut dates at Bay & Bee. It’s definitely geared more toward children aged birth through 5 years old, but with two locations (one in Jacksonville and one in Bartram Springs), a variety of classes, and an open play space, it’s a great place to sip your coffee and meet other moms.
- School/Daycare: Duh! And you can always use the line, “Little Kennedy has been begging to set up a playdate with (insert name of your mom crush’s child).”
Be a friend. I whole-heartedly believe you can make someone be your friend by being a good friend to them. Offer to help with something. Insist when they say no. Say hello when you see them. Bring them cookies. Invite them with you to IKEA (they have daycare, and that in itself is a good enough reason to go). Be the kind of friend you are trying to find!
And most of all, don’t give up. You are a wonderful mom deserving of friends!
What are your best tips for finding mama friends?