If only it were as easy as “Hey, how YOU doin’?” – but alas, Joey’s famous pickup line from “Friends” isn’t as easy to use when the person I’d like to pick up is a new mom friend.
Being a new mom is hard enough — being a new mom in a new city can be even harder.
I recently gave birth to my first “Texan” — my third child. My boys were born abroad, and my family and I moved to Dallas about a year ago. Transplants, expats, East Coasters, Left Coasters, and tried and true Texans- it seems as though I’ve met them all over the past 12 months. Here are a few tried and true ‘pickup lines’ that might work if you’re feeling new to the area and looking for a friend.
1. Get to know your local playgrounds!
Whether you have a newborn, toddler or preschooler, kids always have to get some fresh air, right? During my first few months in Dallas I made the rounds of local playgrounds in both our neighborhood and the surrounding ones. T&P Hill at White Rock Lake where I spoke to one family with two kids who gave me two great local preschool recommendations, Lakewood Park where I reconnected with a grad school friend who said she took her son there weekly with other 30 something-working moms, Lake Highlands Elementary School playground where I found out that the recreational soccer league holds practices for our neighborhood, Coffee Park where the transplant Austinite said she had grown up in Dallas and returned to live with her family closer to her parents.
You can quickly see if you fit the ‘vibe’ and find someone that strikes your fancy! Mothers bringing their kids for a quick 20 minutes of fresh air before dinner dressed in work-clothes might be the ones to approach with a comment about work-life balance. Moms who have the baby in the jogging stroller and walk laps while their toddler is playing on the slide might be the ones who know where the best gyms with free child-care are located. Those who (like me) show up in yoga pants and a college T-shirt and who clearly did NOT come from a yoga class- well, just take a chance if their kid shares his toys and ask them how old their son or daughter is! Commonalities build relationships. Sure- we don’t have to always agree or even like the same thing – but it’s a great way to start a conversation with a stranger and maybe mom-friend-to-be!
2. PTAs, Playgroups and Playdates, OH MY!
I took a chance a few weeks ago and invited six moms that I have been in ‘new-mom-friend’ mode with to just come on over to our place for a kiddo playdate- drop in between 3:30-6pm. A few of them knew each other previously, some were only connected through me. I spent the first half of the day scrubbing everything in sight and debating whether to put the kid-snack-plates at kid-level or adult-level (food allergies maybe?) and also whether these moms would be ‘my’ type of moms and go straight for the cheese and crackers or if they’d stick to a few toothpicks with fruit.
We ended up taking turns holding the babies when the toddlers needed potty help, laughing on my living room rug while the 3 month olds grabbed our hair, and making sure the older preschoolers didn’t spill bubble soap all over the house or turn the hose on unsupervised outside (they did, twice). But mostly- we just talked, relaxed, and got to know each other a bit outside of the ‘kid-zone’. After that ‘group date’ with kids in tow, I felt like we connected more than just saying hello at the playground.
I also found out that they were all members of their local PTA organizations and online garage sale Facebook groups as well as ‘community’ Facebook groups (many times by school zone and incoming grade level such as the Pre-Lee parents in Lakewood Heights, and that these online groups provided a nice ‘crop’ of mom-friends-to-be who will all be sending their children to the local schools or do outreach in their community, or can be found on Nextdoor posting about their lost dog! Additionally IRL (in real life), whatever activities your child might be participating in this week from Kindermusik to Little Gym to swim lessons, you’ve chosen these developmental activities for a reason- and so have the other parents around you! Use that as common ground and say hello!
If you still don’t feel comfortable talking to other moms around you without being sure that the new friendship will last past your differences in sleep training, first foods, or potty training methods, there’s an app for that. Crack open your outer shell with Peanut. Techcrunch.com writes, “Like dating apps, Peanut uses a swiping mechanism to connect potential friends – a swipe up will give the other mom a wave, and a swipe down lets you skip their profile. But instead of playing the hot-or-not game, as on Tinder, Peanut focuses on helping users find others with shared interests. This may include things like what languages they speak, or if they work full-time, whether they’re an outdoorsy type, and more. It also displays the age of the children, so you can work to find playdates.
And so, as the famous lyric by James Taylor goes: “winter, spring summer or fall” (well, mostly just summer in Texas, right?)- “all you’ve got to do is call, and I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend.”