Written By: Jen Glatz, Realtor®
Moving to a new area can be both overwhelming and intimidating. Throw in a kid…or four…and to some, the task might seem daunting. If you’re a mom or dad who works outside the home, then you’re in an environment conducive to meeting like-minded people. However, it’s a whole different ballgame if you’re a work-from-home parent or stay-at-home parent. Outside of a work environment where you’re organically socializing with individuals who share a common interest, kids can be the best way to make new friends. Children are naturally friendly, curious creatures. So, hitch your wagon to your child’s personality and get ready to meet some new friends!
That seems simple enough, and reading it might feel a little condescending, but sometimes we overlook the obvious and complicate things far beyond necessary. It’s easy to get isolated when you know no one. When you’re new to an area, sitting at home isn’t going to help you find those mommas you need and want to meet. Here are a few pointers on places to go and ways to meet moms just like you.
It sounds simple and intuitive, but when you’re new to an area (especially if you’re a bit of an introvert), getting out of the house and talking to those around you can be a little uncomfortable. Just do it. Go on a walk around the block, let your kiddo explore, get to know the neighborhood, and talk to other moms you meet. Eventually, that mom walking every day at the same time as you just might invite you to join her. Or better yet, do the work for her, and extend the invite yourself.
Change the scenery and visit your local park to socialize the kids and see who hangs out there. Even something as simple as pulling a chair into your driveway and watching your kids play on the sidewalk can bring those curious neighbors out to meet the new people. All of that sounds so intuitive, but with the accessibility of internet at our fingertips, we sometimes overlook the organic, “old school” way of meeting people.
If you have school age children (that includes Pre-K), get connected within the school. Every school has volunteer opportunities and social committees. Get plugged into a group at your child’s school, attend events, and get to know other parents. Assuming there are no more moves in your near future, these people will be your tribe. Your kids will be spending hours together in the classroom, as well as outside of it. This is a natural, great way to meet other parents like you.
Local Social Media Groups
If “old school” isn’t your thing and you’d rather jump right in and get plugged into your local social network, check out Facebook. Search for a group in your neighborhood. Many subdivisions have a private group for their residents. Search it, request to be added, and start following along on what is going on in your neighborhood. Some neighborhoods have a private group just for parents of little kids. Use this group to post neighborhood play dates or fun trips to different parks or kid friendly places. If you can’t find a Facebook group, ask a neighbor for information on joining a group or talk to your Realtor. One of our jobs as Realtors is to know the area, and a good Realtor will help their clients get plugged into the community. Another great way to find your neighbors is Nextdoor.com. There’s a wealth of information on Nextdoor, including neighborhood events, local updates, and classifieds.
If you are unable to find your neighborhood on either of these platforms, reach out to your HOA (if you have one) and see if they host a social media group for your neighborhood or if they are aware of one. If not, consider starting one yourself. Remember, there are plenty of other moms out there looking for the same information as you. If you can’t find the resource, be the resource.
Family Friendly Restaurants
Find all the local restaurants with play areas and make it your job to try them all. You never know when you’re going to be sitting in play land misery, look up to see your child sharing a stranger’s soda with another toddler, and lock eyes with your new best friend as you race to pry the suspicious, germ ridden cup from your respective child’s paws. Trust me when I tell you, it’s a laughable bonding moment that immediately breaks the ice between strangers. Find these women and don’t let go of them. They may turn out to be your new best friend!
For a look at local, kid-friendly restaurants start Googling! Every city will have local, up-to-date sites highlighting events and restaurants near you. One of my favorite resources is the City Mom’s Blog. Find your nearest Mom’s Blog. Follow them, search them, and get to know your community. You’re sure to glean tons of information!
Classes, Activities, Outings, Oh My!
If your child is old enough to enjoy and benefit from classes of all varieties, find your nearest location and sign up. Check out kid’s gyms, music and move classes, your local children’s museum, swim schools, and art studios. Not only are you honing your child’s craft and expanding their interests, but you also find other kids and moms that share the same interest. One of my closest friends came from swim lessons. You just never know where a mom friend will pop up!
Sometimes, finding new mom friends feels a bit like dating. Just settle into your new home, get to know your community, plug into the social scene, and follow your child’s lead when it comes to stepping outside your comfort zone. Enjoy your move, and happy friending!