Why Making Mom Friends is Just Like Dating

mom friends sit opposite each other on playground swings Thirty minutes have passed and still no reply. My mind starts to race, looping in an endless circle.

They are probably just busy. Or maybe I read the signs wrong. They were just trying to be nice. They didn’t actually want to exchange numbers. I came off too eager. I shouldn’t have added that extra exclamation mark. Ok, I won’t check my phone for another hour.

5 minutes pass.

Just a quick glance. I need to check my email anyway. Oh the “…”! They are responding! But what’s taking them so long? Are they trying to think of a way to blow me off without sounding rude?

They said yes! Should I ask them to hang out this Sunday or is that too soon? But I also don’t want to come across as unavailable.

 I Thought I Finished Dating

Making mom friends is just like dating all over again. And I hated dating. Not only did I hate it, but I was terrible at it. Especially in the beginning stages. I was never good at the get to know you small talk or the “games”. Do I tell him about my childhood rabbit that ran away? Is it too early to discuss exes? Should I answer his text? Or should I wait another hour before responding?

These same games, questions, and second-guesses come up all over again when looking for mom friends.

I know what you are thinking. Why does this woman think she can’t be friends with people who don’t have kids? Does she think that now that she’s a mom she has to give up all her past relationships? Exactly the opposite! I relish all of my friendships and would never want to lose any of them. I want to make sure that they continue to grow, strengthen, and flourish. I am also aware that at different times in my life, different friends often meet different needs. Not only that, but as I go through life, it is important that my friendships reflect my growth. Just as I have made new friends at each turn in my life (childhood, camp, college, work, etc), I want to make friends that reflect this new turn into motherhood.

The Mom Trifecta

mom friends smile over coffee as they look at something on a phoneJust like when I was dating to find my significant other, there are criteria that I am looking for in my mom friends. When it comes to finding mom friends, I like to think about it in terms of finding the mom trifecta. This is the mom who meets your three extremely vague but oddly specific criteria:

  1. Someone I can be my authentic self with and they can be theirs with me (this requires no further explanation)
  2. Similar parenting style (decreases the feelings of judgment and affirms that I’m an awesome mom making amazing choices for my children)
  3. Our significant others and/or children get along (for the obvious dates nights and play dates)

For me criteria number one is necessary. The other two are simply bonuses.

Let Me Introduce Myself

So how do you do it? How do you meet mom friends? My son simply walks up to someone and says, “Do you want to be my friend?,” but I think after a certain age that’s an awkward pick line. However, I think I’ll give it a try.

Hi! My name is Elyssa. Do you want to get a coffee? Maybe a cookie or two with it? I have limited hobbies because let’s be real, who has that much “me time” anyway? But if I had to think of some, my interests include napping (though my children do not), baking (not cooking…I hate cooking), and reading (occasionally I get a good book in for myself but I am also well-read in the Pete the Cat series).  I enjoy buying things I don’t need at Target and pretending I don’t have 1,000 errands to do or things to clean around my house. I l also love long walks away from my kids, but also can’t wait until I get back to them.

Do you want to be my friend?


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Elyssa was born and raised in Houston. Deciding to try out life in the cold weather, Elyssa attended University of Michigan for undergrad and University of Chicago for grad school. After obtaining her LCSW {licensed clinical social worker}, Elyssa decided that she was not cut out for the cold and moved back to Houston in 2012. Shortly after her move, Elyssa met her husband, Paul. Elyssa and Paul have been married for 6 years and have two children – Henry {October 2018} and Josephine {March 2021}. After working in schools, hospitals, and community clinics, Elyssa currently has a private practice where she specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults, and parents. When she isn’t working or chasing after her kids, Elyssa’s favorite activities can be described as the ultimate mom cliché – baking, working out, and napping. Elyssa is a huge fan of trying new restaurants and dining spots especially if it involves any form of dessert!


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