You love your friends, but between the feedings, the lack of sleep, and trying to find time to take a shower, you don’t seem to have time for them anymore. But making time for your gal pals is important. Studies show that friends build self-esteem, help you cope with stress better, and keep the blues at bay—something new moms desperately need while dealing with still-raging hormones and the insecurity that comes with going from woman to mother overnight.
Here are ways you can cherish the friends you have, meet new ones who are worth their weight in gold, and fit in those other things in life you still need to do, like make dinner for the family!
Exercise. Exercise is more fun when done in a group, plus it makes it harder to skip the workout when you have another person waiting for you. Exercise is easy with a newborn—it’s the perfect time to try out that new stroller your mother gave you. Organize a mommy walk in your neighborhood, or join already-established groups like Stroller Strides (strollerstrides.com), where you’ll get to meet other new moms and walk off that baby weight.
Play. OK, so an infant can’t really play right now, but playgroups are just as much about the moms getting together as they are the kids. Joining a group for infants and toddlers will introduce you to moms who can offer great advice when you’re feeling clueless, give you a safe place to vent, and expose your little one to others. Looking for a playgroup near you? Try Play-Groups USA (playgroupsusa.com).
Cook. Popping up around the country, meal-prep franchises offer comfortable (yet sterile) places to assemble delicious dinners created by chefs, where you organize the ingredients for the recipes of your choice, take them home, store in the freezer, and cook when ready. Many companies have special events on evenings and weekends, some serving wine, so they become a gab-fest—just like at home, but without the mess! It’s a great way to meet other women while prepping easy-to-cook dinners that will save you time during the week. One to try: Dream Dinners (dreamdinners.com).
Learn. Join a Mommy and Me class where you not only get some structured playtime with your little one—tummy time, music, tumbling —but you get to meet other moms with kids the same age. As your children grow, you can move on to new classes together and look forward to a weekly outing with these new friends. Join a late morning class and invite those moms to lunch afterwards. Mommy and Me classes are offered everywhere these days, from the YMCA to special baby-friendly gym groups, like Gymboree (www.gymboree.com).
Read. Invite a group of acquaintances you’d like to get to know better to discuss a new bestseller you’ve been dying to read. A book group is a great place to have adult conversation when you feel your brain is turning into mush, and knowing you have a book to get through each month may inspire you to make time for yourself to read (little multi-tasker I was, I read while nursing!). Slowly, but surely, everyone in the group will become closer and soon you’ll hate missing a gathering.