This blog post is a reader request that touches on some of the places I went when I was looking to connect with other moms in our new hometown after Chase was born. Please feel free to chime in with any advice you may have for mothers looking to meet friends with babies and kids in the comments section of this post!
A few months after Ryan and I moved to North Carolina, I found out I was pregnant with Chase and while I was obviously thrilled, I was also a bit anxious since this was the first time either of us had ever lived more than two hours away from our families. I was nervous about finding a supportive group of friends in our new hometown and prioritized putting myself out there in an effort to meet other moms who were going through similar changes, challenges and joys in their lives.
I’ve been working from home for a few years now and know enough about myself to know that I need to get out of the house every day and socialize. As it turns out, Chase seems to need the same thing! He does so much better during the day when we do something active away from home, so it’s been such a blessing to me that I’ve found a solid group of mom friends to plan play dates with all the time.
One of the most popular questions I receive from you guys on a weekly basis is how to meet other moms in your area and how to connect with women who are in a similar phase of life. Below is a short list of some of the places I went that helped me meet other mothers as well as some places I know have proven successful for others when it comes to meeting and connecting with other moms. (I also tried to include a variety of options that will work for both stay-at-home/work-from-home moms and working mothers. My friends are a wonderful mix of both!)
Also, I must add that though going to baby and kid-friendly places is obviously helpful, I’d be lying if I said that just showing up helped me find instant friends. Wouldn’t that be nice!? It definitely took that little bit of extra effort (stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing myself to other mothers, etc.) but I found it a lot easier to approach mothers with babies who appeared to be similar in age to Chase since we automatically seemed to have a lot in common.
Thankfully it was my experience that many new moms are looking to connect with other mothers for the exact same reasons you may be interested in meeting other mothers. It is so incredibly helpful to be able to have honest, thoughtful conversations with women who are going through similar challenges at the same time and I truly think play dates for babies and toddlers are almost more beneficial to the mothers than they are to the kids! It’s great for the little ones to crawl around and interact and moms need supportive women in their lives, too!
So let’s dive right in…
Where to Meet Mom Friends
- Gymboree Play & Learn
Gymboree is so much fun and I only wish I would’ve taken Chase to the interactive class sooner! I was kind of confused by Gymboree at first – I thought it was only a retail store – but once I learned that Gymboree Play & Music centers offer classes for kids from infancy through five years old, I was immediately intrigued. If I could recommend one place to go to meet mom friends, it would be Gymboree. Classes are divided into age-specific groups which makes it incredibly easy to connect with moms who have babies of a similar age.
We love the Play & Learn classes and Gymboree Music classes and regularly attend our local Gymboree with a handful of my closest mom friends one to two times a week. Gymboree also often offers classes on Saturdays which may be a good option for those who want to connect with other mothers but cannot attend classes during typical work hours. (I’ve also seen working mothers meet up with their child’s caregivers to attend the occasional lunchtime Gymboree class.) And your first Gymboree class is free!
- Swim Lessons
Signing up for swim lessons helped me meet three additional mom friends with little ones who happened to be within four months of Chase’s age. For several months, we attended weekly swim lessons for babies and it was such a fun way to get Chase acclimated to the water in an environment that allowed us to meet other moms and babies. The swim school where I took Chase had a variety of lesson times available both during the day and in the early evening and also had weekend classes available.
- Library (or Book Store) Story Time
This is a wonderful and often FREE way to meet other moms with little ones. One of my girlfriends from out of town met one of her closest friends at a local library story time so this was one of the first places I went to try to meet other moms. It was such a fun environment (I was surprised by how much Chase enjoyed story time at only a few months old!) and our local story time always concludes with 15-20 minutes of “free play” where kids play with toys and books and adults chat and get to know each other.
Weekend library story times are also often available and our local Barnes & Noble offers free story time on Saturdays as well!
- Workout Classes / Gyms with Childcare
Going to a gym with childcare (in my case Burn Boot Camp) was so helpful to me because it allowed me to connect with other moms who share my interest in healthy living and fitness. The friends I’ve made through BBC are some of my closest friends and I think a lot of this is due to the fact that we see each other so often since we seem to have unspoken workout dates all week long! We’ll often stay a little late and chat in the childcare area and plan a playdate for later in the day after our little ones’ morning naps.
I value my morning workouts so much because I think it’s great for Chase to be around other kids every day and the 45 minutes I spend at the gym are often the only 45 minutes I get to myself every day. Burn Boot Camp ended up being such a blessing to me in many ways, but helping me connect with other mothers who share an interest in living a healthy lifestyle was an unexpected bonus.
- Music Class
Similar to Gymboree Play & Learn classes, local music classes can be a great way to meet moms with little ones! I wasn’t sure Chase would get much out of music classes at a young age, but he’s REALLY into them and loves playing with instruments, listening to the teachers sing and clapping his hands. Right now we’re attending Gymboree music classes as part of our Gymboree monthly membership but there are a bunch of music-specific programs out there you can check out as well. We also had a great experience with Music Together classes and you can see if there is a location near you here.
- Children’s Museums
This one is a little more challenging because I feel like anytime I would show up to a place without a structured activity, it was a little harder to feel confident enough to randomly approach a stranger and start a conversation. For me, participating in a class of some sort makes it easier to chat with the person sitting next to me, but a local children’s museum can still be a great place to meet other mothers in your area. Our local Discovery Place KIDS is always hoppin’ with babies and kids!
One of my friends from Pure Barre invited me to attend Stroller Strides class with her since we both had little ones around the same time and I agreed to go even though I knew nothing about the workout at the time! I’m so glad I went because it led me to Carrie, one of my closest friends!
Stroller Strides is a 60-minute stroller-based total body fitness program designed for moms with little ones. Most Stroller Strides locations also plan a TON of meet ups for moms which is also a wonderful way to connect with moms in your area!
- Local Mom-Friendly Facebook Groups
I didn’t know Facebook Mom Groups existed until a girlfriend added me to one when I was pregnant. Holy cow! Theses groups are incredibly popular (I swear there’s a Facebook group out there for everything!) and searching for local Facebook mom groups is a great way to stay on top of what is going on in your community while connecting with other moms. Moms often ask for advice, share experiences and plan play dates through Facebook groups and finding one in your area might be a great way to meet moms you didn’t even realize lived close by!
- Neighborhood Newsletters
This idea comes from my friend Brittany who put out a small ad in her neighborhood newsletter when she was looking to connect with moms in her area. She said she was looking for a walking buddy and ended up meeting one of her best friends through her ad! If you happen to live in a neighborhood with a local newsletter (or Facebook group!) consider placing a small ad with your email address so other moms can email you if they’re also looking to connect!
Question of the Day
- Have you ever moved to a new town and had to meet new friends?
- Where/how did you meet people in your new hometown?