Being an expectant mum at the time and fairly new to the area I live, I had high high hopes for my NCT course. I was told time and time again by some very well-meaning experienced parents that “This group will be your support network”. Other phrases included “We still holiday with our NCT lot 8 years after the course” and “NCT course means you can make local mum friends which are invaluable”. Naturally, I thought my NCT course was where I was going to meet my mummy tribe and I’d be texting them all at 4am when my child wasn’t sleeping, and we would be yummy mummies together pushing our buggies in the local parks with coffees in hand every Wednesday. Like I said, I had high hopes.
It didn’t deliver.
Nearly 5 months on, our group has only met up a handful of times. Everyone in the group is perfectly nice, and I do get on well with a couple of the mums on a 1-2-1 level but for some strange reason in a group setting it doesn’t work. What’s worse, is that the other mothers I meet see their NCT lot more frequently, actually go to classes as a group and are making a mummy tribe. They say (I’m not sure who they is but they say it) that there’s always a weird one in the group, and if there’s no weird one, then it’s you. Maybe I’m the weird one that’s making the group not mesh.
But fear not, fellow reader, I am not disheartened or lonely having not found my tribe. I do in fact leave the house and see other mums in my local area frequently and text them at 4am when my child isn’t sleeping (sorry Lauren and Carrie! [not sorry]).
If you’ve experienced the same thing, then hopefully the tips I’ve put down below will help you find your mum tribe.
Go mummy dating
There’s a couple of mobile apps and websites that make meeting mums around your local area simple and easy – mush, mummy social, MeetOtherMums.com. They connect you to mums a stone throw away. Don’t be shy about messaging anyone. Everyone’s joined up to the site with the same intention. If one doesn’t reply, try another.
One thing I’ve learnt is don’t extend the conversation. Set a meet up a couple of messages in – once you’ve done the niceties of hello how are you – otherwise you can go on chatting over the app forever. You can get to know the person over a cup of coffee rather than behind a screen.
Take up hobbies
Join those baby classes, groups and get some hobbies. The number of people you will meet is extraordinary. It’s like being back at uni again but with a kid, 10 years older and no booze… Hmmm come to think of it nothing like that but you do meet tons of people.
Put yourself out there
You’ve got the app and you’re going to the groups but still haven’t met anyone? Sometimes you have to make the first move. Send that first message, suggest a coffee to the person next to you after the class. They can’t make it, or they’re busy? Try one more time, or set up a date when they can. Most mums are in the same position of wanting to make more local mum friends, and will be receptive.
Repeated contact is what makes friends – so be the one that says let’s go for coffee after class, or do you want to go for a walk this week. It may be you always suggesting it to start off with, but if you guys get on, it soon will become a two-way thing.
Don’t forget about your pre-baby friends
OK so they may not be your mum tribe, but they are important. They knew who you were pre-baby and sometimes you do lose the grounding of who you are once you’ve had a baby. You are a mum, but you’re also so much more. Not only will they fawn over your baby, but it will remind you that you can have conversations other that the colour of your baby’s poo/sick/snot.
Some of these pre-baby friends also may have babies as well. They suddenly become a valuable fountain of knowledge for you and give you some much-needed support, especially in the early days.
NCT isn’t the be all and end all in making mum friends. There are lots of opportunities out there.
How did you make your mum friends? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Maybe I could try a few out 🙂