Finding friends can be a difficult process. If you’re about to become a Baby Buncher—might be better to do now when you just have one child to manage—I highly recommend you make yourself lots ‘o friends to help you out, something called a “momtourage,” which I think is just perfect to go with Baby Bunching. Back in the day when our grandmas and great grandmas were churning out 'Irish Twins' they also had family around to help them out and care for the kids. Yeah, not anymore. We're the generation of do-it-on-your-own with family three time zones away.
So.....develop your Baby Bunching momtourage prior to your second child. Why you may ask? Because while your husband will be as supportive as he can, he also has just done this before (listen to you complain about swollen feet, gas and morning sickness.) But other Baby Bunching moms…well, they will let you go on and on about it all even up until your 38th week of pregnancy. After that, they will just tell you to enjoy it because once the baby comes out, it’s hard as hell. Seriously though, the Baby Bunching moms who have done this before and have children a bit older can provide you with the wisdom they have gained and the support you will need.
After making three international moves, I found the one thing I needed in each new location was an immediate network of mom friends. The best way to find these women was at the playground. I have been known to essentially stalk the playgrounds trying to "pick up" other moms and get phone numbers/email addresses. (Luckily, I hardly ran into the same mom twice.) I know many moms may not be outgoing enough to try this, but you seriously have nothing to lose to at least try. However, there are many alternatives to the mommy pick up if you’re just not comfortable with this. (See below)
Ready to pick up a mom? It’s a delicate balance between finding the right time of day, the right type of playground, and the right introductory conversation so you don’t look entirely crazy. Your goal should be to find other moms with kids around the same age.
So to start off with, make sure you’re in the right location. Make sure you’re at the toddler playground or other toddler-friendly place (mall play area, indoor playground, coffee and play place, etc.). Many playgrounds have monkey bars and big-kid swings for preschool-age children, but if your tot is around 12-16 months, the monkey bars and high playscapes are not where you’re going to meet your future double stroller buddy. The older kids tend to dominate playgrounds in the afternoons when school is out so mornings are ideal, but many moms with ‘two under two’ have nap issues in the morning so you may have to risk the afternoon shift. Try to hit the playgrounds when most naps are over—that’s the 4 to 5 p.m. range. Same for the weekends. It may take a few playgrounds or few trips to find someone that meets your qualifications for some good mommy conversation. Once you find the right playground and right time when there seem to be lots of mommies and children. Your next step is to find a buddy.
Here are a few good conversation starters:
- What a great walker. Your son is so strong. How old is he?
- What cute shoes your daughter is wearing? Where did you get those?
- I wish I could have hair like your daughter’s curls. How cute. How old is she?
- What a big vocabulary your son has? How old is he?
You get the idea. Every mom likes other people to compliment their children. Go for it, and let the conversation start. I used to strategically move my son to areas of the playground where the other moms/kids were playing so there was a natural introduction when the children would interact. After the conversation gets going, just keep the questions going until you find out how many kids your new prospective Baby Bunching mom has and if she’s in any playgroups. It takes some practice, but before you know it, you'll be exchanging email addresses. I even met a mom the other day who had business cards made up saying "so-and-so's mom" with her phone and email. All she needed was a little subtitle saying "available for playdates and mom's night outs"
If this doesn’t appeal to you, do some quick research (like you have lots of time), to find out about moms groups in your area (MOMS Club, Mother’s and More, MOPS, Meetup groups, etc.).