10 Ways to Find Your Back-to-School “Mom Squad”
Children aren't the only ones with social worries at the start of the school year, mothers have their own concerns and some of those circulate around finding new mom pals to join forces with. We've put together some tips on how to make some new friends and increase your social network.
Join the PTA
Becoming involved and getting active in the PTA is one of the best ways to connect with fellow parents. Even if chairing a large school event isn’t for you, consider a role that matches your comfort level. “Start with smaller activities that speak to your strengths and interests. You are more likely to meet someone there who clicks with you,” says an article in The Washington Post. Here’s how to make sure your kids have a successful school year, too.
Take advantage of day-time availability
“Luckily, you can get out of the house alone when the kids are older, and make plans for a walk, coffee, or movie date,” the same article says. Plan coffee dates, walks or meet a new mom for lunch. But to keep the friendship going, continue to make seeing friends a priority. “The key is remembering to build this important time into your schedule as a recurring event and not just as a one-time happening,” cites the article. Find out the types of best friends every adult woman needs to have.
Part of making new friends is getting the courage to start a dialogue with other mothers. “Don’t be afraid to go to school events and start talking to other moms,” suggests Meredith Ethington, a parenting blogger in Salt Lake City, Utah. “I met one of my closest friends in a really long cotton candy line at a school carnival.” She says common ground is what can set a friendship in motion. “This is the number one way to find a friend that thinks like you do, and will also be a support to you while your kid is going through school,” Ethington continues. Confidence can go a long way when meeting new friends.
Embrace techy methods
Ethington recommends starting a ‘groupme’ group as you meet new moms. “This is a great way to stay current on activities, but also have a quick community of friends to ask if your child is bad at relaying information,” she says. “It can also be great to commiserate with other moms when you just want to know if your kid is the only one that can’t seem to remember to actually turn in her homework once it’s completed.”
Instagram isn’t just for your kids, it can be a medium to share photos of school events and in turn can build followers and friends. “Our school shares photos of activities like the school play on Instagram, with a hashtag that parents can use sharing their play photos too. It’s a great way to see how other parents are enjoying the same event, and find photos of your kid, too,” Ethington says.
Play host for younger children
Host an after-school playground meet-up during the first week of school and invite moms from your child’s class, suggests Melanie Shankle, a parenting blogger in San Antonio, Texas. “You can arrange for an ice cream or food truck to stop by so that everyone can purchase a treat, or provide a cooler of juice boxes, Popsicles, or simple snacks. If you’re planning to use the school’s playground, you may need to get prior approval from the administration,” she says. Here’s how to make new friends as an adult.
Start or join a book club or discussion group for moms
Shankle says that in each grade in her daughter’s school, there’s a moms’ group that meets monthly in different homes. “It’s a chance for women to connect with each other, find out what’s going on, and build lasting friendships,” Shankle says. “You could get the ball rolling by organizing and hosting the first one.” Limit the refreshments to baked goods and coffee so expenses can be kept in check.
Create a Facebook page
A Facebook page can be a great link between parents and the school community. “PTO leaders point to a growing number of uses for Facebook that in turn help their groups create a sense of community, raise awareness of what they do, and get more parents involved at school and in the group,” says a post on PTO Today. Learn of meetings, fundraisers and meet other parents whose goal is to create a better school community. Many communities and towns often have their own Facebook pages for parents, though many are secret. If you have trouble finding yours, ask an in-the-know friend where to look. Here are the signs you share too much on Facebook.
Plan a “Mom’s Night Out”
Lisa Rotondi, a former actress turned entrepreneur who launched Organic Kids L.A., the largest school lunch delivery program in Los Angeles, advises initiating a mom’s night out to meet like-minded mothers. “Hire babysitters, get dolled up, and turn off being a mom for the night,” she says.
Extend the fun of a school event
From sporting events to the school play, Rotondi suggests a post-event celebration or outing to keep things social and fun. “Find the moms at the sports game who don’t take it too seriously and invite them and their kids out for a post-game meal,” she says.