Five Tips for Meeting Other Mums and Making New Friends

By Aimee Foster

When I had my daughter almost nine years ago, I was wholly unprepared for the raft of life changes I was about to experience. One of the many changes I had not expected was the change to my friendships.

The first of my friends to have a baby, I suddenly had lots of free time during the days. But my friends were all at work. And come the evenings when they were available, I was shattered. Plus it became evident that my new baby conversations were, at best, confusing for my friends and, at worst, incredibly boring.

The first few months of my daughter’s life were incredibly lonely for me, mainly because I spent most of my time alone with her.

Recent research by the Co-op and British Red Cross highlights how widespread the problem of loneliness  is for mothers. 82% of mothers under the age of 30 reported feeling lonely some of the time, with 43% saying they are often or always lonely.

If you are feeling lonely or isolated, please know that you are not alone. Nine years on from the birth of my first child, I now have a wonderful network of mum friends. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1) Just Do It!

You have to get out there and meet people, they won’t come to you. I know how much of an ordeal it is to leave the house with a new baby and believe me I spent many a day stuck inside because I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed, get the baby dressed and get together all of the baby paraphernalia I needed whilst making sure I timed the outing around her feeds.

But, if you don’t leave your house very often you will find it incredibly difficult to make new friends (you can meet friends online but you will have to go out and meet them face-to-face eventually). When I was a new mum, my confidence was at an all-time low and this prevented me from going out and trying to make friends. It took a year for me to find the courage.

 

Eventually, I decided that I would have to step out of my comfort zone and just get on with it. I am so, so glad that I did.

2) Find Places To Go

Local and national parenting websites have wonderful resources detailing places you can go with your kids. Toddler groups, bumps and babies groups, children’s centres and libraries are all places frequented by mums (and dads) who are looking to make new friends.

If you work full time, there are normally groups on Saturday mornings run by other full time working mums plus plenty of weekend activities available for children. If you’re not into the group thing, there is always the internet!

3) Once You’ve Found Somewhere With Mums – Start the Conversation!

Being shy, it took me a while to realise that if I wanted to make new friends, I would need to speak up (out of that comfort zone I went again!)

Baby groups, toddler groups and classes can be daunting when you’re new to them, especially if it seems like everyone already knows each other.

Be smiley, say ‘hi’ to people and start up a conversation by saying something complimentary about their child e.g. ‘Wow, I love your daughter’s shoes’. Once you break the ice by talking about the little people’s shoes or clothes, you can move on to more interesting stuff!

Another thing to bear in mind is that if you go to a baby or toddler group and don’t find it very friendly; don’t give up on that particular group. If you go a second time, there will probably be different people there who you might strike up conversation with. And once you’ve been four or five times, you’re a regular and you can help other new people to integrate.

4) Once You’ve Started A Conversation – Close the Deal!

So you’ve been chatting away for a while with another mum and you feel you would like to meet up again. Make sure you don’t just walk away without following up. Exchange phone numbers or arrange to meet next week at the same group or somewhere else.

This can be quite cringy (along the lines of, ‘please be my friend!’) but I’ve found that if you really want to see someone again you must speak up or you may regret it later.

5) Go Online

There’s great potential to meet other mums in this way. Just as internet dating became a big phenomenon fifteen or so years ago, ‘mum dating’ is now an established way to make mum friends.

Eight years ago, I posted a notice on a local parenting website and had many replies. Of the twenty or so people I met, five are now lifelong friends (two of them were bridesmaids at my wedding).

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Using the internet to make friends felt very strange at first, but I quickly got used it and felt more comfortable. I’m so glad that I bit the bullet and did it, even though it seemed unnatural at first.

To say that I’m happy I finally took action and met other mums is a huge understatement. I now couldn’t imagine my life without my wonderful mum friends. And as an added bonus, my daughter has made close friendships through them too.

MARKET DATES

Bedfordshire

29th September, Dunstable, The Vale Academy - 2pm - 3.30pm
LU5 4QP info/map

Berkshire

15th September, Burnham, Burnham Park Hall - 1 pm to 2:30 pm
SL1 7HR info/map

22nd September, Bracknell, Bracknell Leisure Centre (Main Sports Hall) - 2 pm to 3:30 pm
RG12 9SE info/map

06th October, Ascot, Charters Leisure Centre - 2pm - 3:30pm
SL5 9QY info/map

07th October, Newbury, St Bartholomew's School - 2pm - 3:30pm
RG14 6JP info/map

13th October, Maidenhead, St. Piran's School - 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
SL6 7LZ info/map

20th October, Woodley, Woodford Park Leisure Centre - 2:30pm - 4:00pm
RG5 4LY info/map

18th November, Tilehurst, Reading, Meadway Sports Centre - 2.00pm - 3.30pm
RG40 4BZ info/map

Cambridgeshire

15th September, St Neots, Priory Centre - 10.30 am - 12.30 pm
PE19 2BH info/map

23rd September, Cambridge, Cambridge Regional College - 10.30 am - 12pm
CB4 2QT info/map

14th October, Huntingdon, One Leisure - 10.30 am - 12pm
PE29 7DG info/map

Cheshire

15th September, Macclesfield, Prestbury Village Hall - 1pm - 3pm
SK10 4BW info/map

30th September, Upton, Chester, Cheshire County Sports Club - 3pm - 4:30pm
CH2 1PR info/map

21st October, HANDBRIDGE Chester, Queens Park High School - 10am - 11:30am
CH4 7AE info/map

Devon

25th August, Torquay, Riviera International Conference Centre - 9am - 11am
TQ2 5LZ info/map

08th September, Bideford, The Big Sheep Family Attraction - 10.30 am to 12NOON
EX39 5AP info/map

15th September, Exeter, St James High School - 9:30 am - 11:30 am
EX4 8NN info/map

22nd September, Tiverton, Moorhayes Community Centre - 2pm to 3.30pm
EX16 6TN info/map

29th September, Paignton, Torbay Leisure Centre - 10am - 12pm
TQ45JR info/map

06th October, Honiton, Honiton Leisure Centre - 3pm to 4.30pm
EX14 1QW info/map

East Midlands

01st September, West Bridgford, Nottingham, Rushcliffe Arena - 12pm - 2pm
NG2 7HX info/map

02nd September, Mansfield, The Towers - 2pm - 3.30pm
NG18 5NG info/map

08th September, Littleover, Derby, Derby Moor Community Sports Academy - 12pm - 3pm
DE23 2FS info/map

09th September, Sheffield, Handsworth Grange Community Sports College - 12pm - 2pm
S13 9HJ info/map

16th September, Chesterfield, Queens Park Sports centre - 2pm - 4pm
S40 2NX info/map

22nd September, Belper, Derbyshire, Belper Leisure Centre - 2pm - 4pm
DE56 0DA info/map

23rd September, Long Eaton, Long Eaton School - 12pm - 2pm
NG10 3NP info/map

29th September, Quorn, Leicestershire, Rawlins Academy - 2pm - 4pm
LE12 8DY info/map

30th September, Thurmaston, Leicestershire, Roundhill Academy - 2pm - 3.30pm
LE4 8GQ info/map

06th October, Derby, NEW Big Baby and Children’s Market - 3+ Yrs Derby Moor Community Sports Academy - 12pm - 3pm
DE23 2FS info/map

14th October, Chesterfield, NEW Big Baby and Children’s Market 3+ Years - Chesterfield Queens Park Sports Centre - 2pm - 4pm
S40 2NX info/map

20th October, Tibshelf, Alfreton, Tibshelf Community School - 2pm - 4pm
DE55 5LZ info/map

27th October, Chaddesden, Derby, Lees Brook School - 2pm - 4pm
DE21 4QX info/map

28th October, Newark, Magnus Church of England Sports Academy - 12pm - 2pm
NG24 4AB info/map

04th November, Mansfield, The Towers - 2pm -3.30pm
NG18 5NG info/map

10th November, Belper, Derbyshire, Belper Leisure Centre - 2pm - 4pm
DE56 0DA info/map

11th November, Sheffield, Handsworth Grange Community Sports College - 12pm - 2pm
S13 9HJ info/map

17th November, Quorn, Leicestershire, Rawlins Academy - 2pm - 4pm
LE12 8DY info/map

18th November, Long Eaton, Long Eaton School - 12pm - 2pm
NG10 3NP info/map

Essex

15th September, Basildon, Pitsea Leisure Centre (The Place) - 11am - 1pm
SS13 3DU info/map

23rd September, Colchester, Marks Tey Village Hall - 2pm - 4pm
CO6 1EJ info/map

14th October, Flitch Green, Flitch Green Community Hall - 2pm - 4pm
CM6 3GG info/map

20th October, Boreham, Boreham Village Hall - 11am - 1pm
CM3 3JD info/map

Flintshire

13th October, Connah's Quay, Deeside, Coleg Cambria Deeside - 10:30am - 12 noon
CH5 4BR info/map

Hampshire

08th September, Basingstoke, Aldworth School - 2 pm to 3:30 pm
RG22 6HA info/map

Kent

29th September, Dartford, Fleetdown Community Centre - 10am - 12pm
DA2 6JZ info/map

29th September, Broadstairs, Saint Peter’s Church Hall - 10AM - 12PM
CT10 2TR info/map

06th October, Tonbridge, East Peckham Village Hall - 11am - 1pm
TN12 5LL info/map

06th October, Erith, Slade Green & Howbury Community Centre - 10.00am - 11.30am
DA8 2HX info/map

17th November, Chatham, The Victory Academy - 11am - 1pm
ME4 5JB info/map

Lancashire

15th September, Preston, Ashton Community Science College - 2pm - 3.30pm
PR2 1SL info/map

27th October, Lancaster, Lancaster & Morecambe College of Further Education - 1pm-2.30pm
LA1 2TY info/map

Leicestershire

08th September, Burbage, Hastings High School - 2pm-3:30pm
Le10 2QE info/map

03rd November, Burbage, Hastings High School - 2pm-3:30pm
LE10 2QE info/map

London

09th September, Tooting, Sellincourt Primary School - 12pm - 2pm
SW17 9SA info/map

22nd September, Charlton, Charlton Manor Primary School - 1.30pm - 3.00pm
SE7 7EF info/map

23rd September, London, Queen's park, Salusbury Primary School - 10.30-1.30pm
NW6 6RG info/map

07th October, London, Coleridge Primary School - 10.30am - 12.30pm
N8 8DN info/map

13th October, Croydon, St Mary's Church Hall - 3.30pm - 5.00pm
CR0 5AS info/map

03rd November, Beckenham, Harris Academy Beckenham School - 2.30pm - 4pm
BR3 3SJ info/map

11th November, London, Salusbury Primary school - 10.30-1.30pm
NW6 6RG info/map

17th November, Downham, Bonus Pastor Catholic College (Winlaton Rd Site) - 2.30pm - 4pm
BR1 5PZ info/map

South Yorkshire

21st October, Barnsley, Barnsley Academy - 12 - 2pm
S70 3DL info/map

Staffordshire

16th September, Knypersley, Biddulph High School - 10am - 11.30am
ST8 7AR info/map

11th November, Stoke-on-Trent, The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent - 10am - 12pm
ST6 4LD info/map

Suffolk

29th September, Sudbury, Stansfield Village Hall - 2pm - 3.30pm
CO10 8LP info/map

20th October, Ipswich, Copdock and Washbrook Village Hall - 9.30am - 11.30am
IP8 3JN info/map

Surrey

22nd September, Alfold, Alfold Village Hall - 2pm-3.30pm
GU2 8JY info/map

30th September, Yateley, Frogmore Leisure Centre - 11:00am - 12:30pm
GU46 6AG info/map

Warwickshire

15th September, Rugby, Bilton School - 10:30-12:00
CV227JT info/map

West Sussex

08th September, Goring by sea, St Richards church hall Maybridge - 11am-1pm d
BN12 6HZ info/map

Wiltshire

02nd September, Swindon, St Joseph's College - 11 am to 1 pm
SN33LR info/map

29th September, Chippenham, Autumn Baby & Children's Market ~ Chippenham - 11 am to 1 pm
SN15 3XB info/map

Wrexham

15th September, Wrexham, Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University - 10am - 11:30am
LL12 2AW info/map