By: Meghan Simington, CoquitlamMommy.ca Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
It’s a funny change when moms go on maternity leave or move to a new area with kids. Many moms struggle with a sudden Facebook addiction or stalking their emails for messages from an old life or work they left behind. Our husbands come home and tease us about how much time we spend on our cell phones or the computer, or even how we should just go out and meet some people.
It all starts with searching for answers for the best diaper cream or finding a daycare/preschool or camp program solution. But then suddenly your searches divert into looking for local activities or diaper bag packing tips to make a day out with the kids turn into a smooth operation rather than a series of small panic attacks.
But the real fact is that most first time moms don’t have a huge circle of friends with kids the same age. Most of new moms are also confused on how to get out and find these like-minded mommies. Where are they hiding?
But really, who plans on having babies at the same time as their high school girlfriends, at exactly the same month? If you did, fantastic! But the reality is that 99% of us have recently relocated to the suburbs to have kids with a new hubby, longtime boyfriend or were transferred for a job. We have left behind our tight circle of shopping pals and wine buddies to set-up a house in the burbs. And now need to meet some mommy friends and get out there. It’s time to put down the iPhone and close the computer and get talking to real people. Have some giggles and laughs with other women about the spit-up in your hair, disaster car rides, sleepless nights and talk about all the things you can’t call your single girlfriends about!
As the main mommy behind CoquitlamMommy.ca, I see moms almost everyday, talk mommy all the time and run mommy activities on a weekly basis in the area. I came into this just like the moms I described. I lived in downtown Toronto and Vancouver and a few places in the USA, grew up in the North Shore Mountains and ran a business. The fact is that I love the city, I love chatting with women just like me and I love to get out to try new things and did not want this to change. When I moved to the burbs, I knew I was pregnant, knew very few people in my area and still wanted to do my same old ‘stuff’. I kind of approached motherhood with my typical Type A personality and put together a bit of a plan to not totally loose my mind in the burbs on my upcoming year off for maternity leave and still follow this now.
1. Take a Prenatal Class, or a Mom & Me Class This is a great way to meet other moms that have babies or kids the same age as yours. Check your Rec Centre Guide or Local Community Resource for Parents
2. Don’t be Shy to Ask for a Number and Introduce Yourself - When I think of all the women that I call now when I have had a hard day, 80% of them are from mommy groups, classes or mommy network. These ladies get my drama!
3. Ask What Their Interests Are - I love to hike, snowshoe, shop, drink wine and be active. So, I immediately size up new mom friends to see if we can meet up and do just this!
4. Be Specific - When saying you will catch up, set a time and date that you will call or see that mom. If you are going to meet for storytime at the library set a date, then be sure you touch base before to be sure you will meet them there.
5. Don’t be Fake, People Always Figure it Out! - As Oprah always says, be authentic and you will enjoy your life that much more. You also don’t end up doing things you hate just for the sake of making new friends. I don’t knit and don’t try to say I do. Everyone would find out quickly if I started swearing at my big knotty pile of yarn.
6. Having Kids Does Not Mean Your life is Over - Do what you love, and try new things. Kids are the perfect opportunity to look like a fool and try something new.
7. Offer to Host - Great way to connect with new moms just like your self. Also nice to bring moms to your area to discuss what to do in your hood and things you can do together close by.
8. Share - This can be tips or local finds! All moms love finding the local shop that carries the need to have toddler toy, and weight loss tips but they also love receiving tips just as much as sharing.
9. Be Understanding - I have missed a playdate or two due to a difficult day at home. You never know if her baby spat up on her when she got out of the car and she broke down in tears and headed home or if she ran out of diapers and couldn’t manage stopping at the store and meeting you… just call and follow-up to see what happened and reschedule!
10. Join Meetup or a Community/Sports Club - If you put yourself out there as a volunteer for planning events or activities you will meet so many moms. It may be as simple as collecting tickets at the door or helping clean-up after a playdate.
Meghan Simington is the founder of CoquitlamMommy.ca. A local network of moms started by 9 women that wanted to get out and get active with their kids in the TriCities. We share everything from tips to reviews on activities and products. We also feature Weekly mom and babe programs at the Kyle Rec Centre in Port Moody for new mothers with babies 0-12 months, Parenting Workshops and Monthly Yummy Mommy Nights raising money for local charities.