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

Antrim

03rd November, Lisburn, Trinity church Hall - 11am-1pm
BT28 2GX info/map

Bedfordshire

04th November, Biggleswade, The Weatherley Centre - 11am - 12:30am
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Berkshire

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

10th November, Burnham, Burnham Park Hall - 1 pm to 2:30 pm
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17th November, Bracknell, Bracknell Leisure Centre (Main Sports Hall) - 2 pm to 3:30 pm
RG12 9SE info/map

18th November, Tilehurst, Reading, Meadway Sports Centre - 2.00pm - 3.30pm
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24th November, Finchampstead, Finchampstead Baptist Church Centre - 2.00pm - 3.30pm
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Cheshire

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

04th November, Poynton, Poynton Civic Hall - 1pm -3pm
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25th November, Upton, Chester, Cheshire County Sports Hall - 3pm - 4:30pm
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15th December, Macclesfield, Prestbury Village Hall - Postponed, further dates will be coming soon.
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Devon

17th November, Exeter, St James High School - 9:30 am - 11:30 am
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24th November, Paignton, Torbay Leisure Centre - 12pm - 2pm
TQ45JR info/map

East Midlands

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
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18th November, Long Eaton, Long Eaton School - 12pm - 2pm
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24th November, West Bridgford, Nottingham, Rushcliffe Arena - 12pm - 2pm
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25th November, Chesterfield, Queens Park Sports Centre - 2pm - 4pm
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01st December, Littleover, Derby, Derby Moor Community Sports Academy - 12pm - 3pm
DE23 2FS info/map

02nd December, Thurmaston, Roundhill Academy - 2pm - 3.30pm
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Essex

20th October, Boreham, Boreham Village Hall - 11am - 1pm
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03rd November, Tiptree, Tiptree Community Centre - 1.30 - 3pm
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Hampshire

10th November, Farnborough, The Wavell School - 2:30pm - 4:00pm
GU14 6BH info/map

Kent

10th November, Erith, Slade Green & Howbury Community Centre - 10.00am - 11.30am
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17th November, Chatham, The Victory Academy - 11am - 1pm
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24th November, Whitstable, Swalecliffe and Chestfield Community Centre - 10AM - 12PM
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Lancashire

21st October, Blackpool, Highfield Leadership Academy - 11:00am - 12:30pm
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Leicestershire

03rd November, Burbage, Hastings High School - 2pm-3:30pm
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London

11th November, London, Salusbury Primary school - 10.30-1.30pm
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17th November, Croydon, St Mary's Church Hall - 3.30pm - 5.00pm
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Londonderry

25th November, Londonderry, The Waterfoot Hotel - 12:00-2:00pm
BT47 6TB info/map

08th December, Coleraine, The Lodge Hotel - 10:30am-12:30pm
BT52 1NF info/map

Shropshire

24th November, Oswestry, The Marches School - 10:00am - 11:30am
SY11 2AR info/map

South Yorkshire

25th November, Rotherham, Thrybergh Academy and Sports College - 12 - 2pm
S65 4BJ info/map

Staffordshire

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

25th November, Knypersley, Biddulph High School - 10am - 12pm
ST8 7AR info/map

Suffolk

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

Surrey

18th November, Guildford, Guildford Nursery School and Children's Centre - 2pm-4pm
GU1 4DU info/map

Tyrone

20th October, Cookstown, The Royal Hotel - 11am-1pm
BT80 8NG info/map

Wiltshire

25th November, Swindon, St Joseph's College - 11 am to 1 pm
SN33LR info/map

Wrexham

17th November, Wrexham, Catrin Finch Centre, Glyndwr University - 10am - 11:30am
LL12 2AW info/map