Being at home with little ones can be lonely at times. I’m a homebody and I love it but I also love catching up with other mums. And I realised it early on. Whether you’re a new mum, you’ve moved house (or country!), have found yourself in a new situation, are feeling a bit lonely or maybe wondering how can I make some friends here are a few ideas that have always worked for me.
1. Join a playgroup
if you have little ones not yet at school then playgroup is just wonderful. A cuppa, time to chat, people who live near you, the kids get to play, even if you have a baby find one near you and join up. I am a big time fan of church playgroups and special needs playgroups. You can find your nearest playgroup here and if you have a little one with special needs then look for a MyTime group near you here. If you go to one and it’s not for you then find another.
Yep once the kids start preschool and school you’ll want to get in there. Even if you have other little ones it’s a great friendly way to meet other parents. I’ve always volunteered (it must be in my DNA as my mum was the same, serial over-volunteers in our family!). My husband did warn me to ease myself into volunteering at a new school but I have always found it’s great to be involved, you know what’s going on, you can offer constructive advice and have a say in things. And trust me the school always needs helpers. I’m really looking forward to being able to help at special school next year as it’s something I’m passionate about. Just keep reading your newsletter and looking for ways you can help.
3. Keep smiling and saying hi
If you think people aren’t very friendly where you are just keep smiling and saying hi. Even if I look a bit stressed or my hands are full I always have a smile and try to say hi. Make small talk. And even if it’s just a wave from the car then just do that. I love waving at the mums I know or if I’m going past them.
4. Just take that first step and have coffee or a playdate
If you’ve met a nice mum then see if she’s free for a coffee or wants a playdate at the park. I realise that now sounds like I’ve told you to set up a romantic date but sometimes we meet someone and think wow what a nice mum and I have a lot in common let’s catch up. Or thank goodness there is someone normal around here like me! I need to stay in touch.
5. Put people’s numbers in your phone
I do this so I don’t forget or can pass things on. It’s really useful to do this if you’re a special needs mum and meet another mum out and have something to tell her or share with her later. Or you forget something. And ALWAYS have the number of a mum in your child’s class so that if you need to find out homework, mufti days or something else then you won’t be stuck. For a second I thought wow what did our mums do. Well I think they probably picked up the phone and rang another mum. On a telephone. With the round dial. Back in the day. Now I hardly ring anyone except to make appointments or to call my grandparents and mother in law.
6. Join online facebook groups
What did we do before Facebook? There are some great closed groups on facebook for your hobbies, special interests, children with special needs or particular health issues and mums near where you live. Join up the ones that interest you, not too many or they fill up your feed and get in touch. I was at the park recently and met a mum with the cutest little boy with special needs and I told her about 2 facebook groups and she told me she was going home to join them straight away. I have found out more from other mums than a geneticist could tell me so it’s worth being on facebook for the various groups and pages that can make you feel less alone.
7. Join a local group or community college
I’ve done some great courses over the years at local colleges – cake decorating (I’ve done quite a few and am hopeless, absolutely hopeless! we did 1 term on sugar flowers and I could only do rose buds and frangipanis). I’ve done japanese cooking, pattern design, wine tasting (that was a good one!), nutrition, sewing and more. There are so many courses and it’s nice to do something for fun and learn a new skill or hobby. I’ve met the nicest people and a real mixture of people when I’ve done courses. They aren’t all expensive either which is great. Check out the local newspaper and noticeboards for local groups especially if you’re a crafter or exerciser.
8. get in touch with friends you haven’t seen in a while
Goes without saying that everyone is busy these days so make some time to catch up with an old friend. They are the best because you can pick up where you left off.
What’s your best tip?