Katie McCarthy: The anxiety of making mom friends

June 6, 2013 

Mom friends.

It's a pretty innocuous term, but it gives me a touch of anxiety.

As if there isn't enough newness to becoming a parent for the first time, there seems an obligation to befriend a whole new group of people with whom your entire relationship is based on the fact that you have kids.

It's like making friends for your kids before they can do it themselves.

Yes, I have friends who are moms. But they were my friends before either of us were moms. So while I suppose the addition of children makes us "mom friends," it's not quite the same.

I started thinking about this the other day because my daughter is getting to a social stage. I started wondering if perhaps we should be in some kind of mommy-and-me group or class.

The anxiety started mounting because ever since this idea popped into my head I've been trying to figure out how I'm supposed to fit some kind of mommy-and-me group or class in between naps, work and keeping the house in some semblance of order. (It doesn't read like much, but I'm hoping other working moms out there can agree with me that those three elements take up about 25 hours a day.)

Not to mention, as I've aged, I've gotten worse and worse at making friends.

It's pretty simple as a kid, when you're thrown into a 12-year educational cycle with a group of peers. Someone is bound to have a crush on the same teen heartthrob as you and -- poof -- instant BFF.

But as you get older you have to balance other responsibilities with maintaining friendships. Things like spouses, jobs, household chores, pets, babies …

How do people do it?

I get excited when I find 10 minutes to myself during which I can do something really extravagant like pluck my eyebrows or paint my toenails.

But having mom friends is important. If I didn't know this already, the Internet tells me so. And all the advice that blogs and mom-focused websites offer is pretty much the same as trying to meet anyone.

"Put yourself out there!"

What's encouraging is reading that many other moms out there feel the same way as I do -- they know they need to make friends and they feel ridiculously awkward doing so.

"It seems worse than dating in junior high," wrote one frustrated and lonely new mom.

I've often felt like if I appear too eager to befriend someone it seems like I'm hitting on her.

"Hey, uh, can I have your number?"

But Columbus does have a lot to offer moms and families, so perhaps it wouldn't be such a terrible idea for me to branch out, at least once, to see if I can connect with someone also adjusting to new mommyhood.

And I probably won't even ask which Backstreet Boy she finds the cutest.

Katie McCarthy, copy editor and mother of 1, can be reached at kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8515.

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