My husband and I are expecting our first child in February. We moved from a major metropolitan area to a rural area a couple of years ago, and since we are not naturally social people, we still don't feel like we have a lot of friends / peers. Most of our social interactions are with family members, and/ or people who are at very different stages in their lives (generally older than us). The friends we have who are our age are either not having children, or live an hour's drive away. The problem is perhaps exacerbated because we are educated, ambitious people-- and living in this rural area, there are just not a ton of people around who are true "peers". (For example, whenever we go into our OB's office, it seems to be full of pregnant teenagers..... we're in our mid 30s!)
We are self-employed (we own a small business), so we don't have co-workers, and we are not religious, so church groups are not really an option for us. Any ideas on where I might meet other new mothers or parents of young children? I am thinking there must be some sort of groups out there that are not religiously affiliated, but I'm not sure what they would be. We are planning to take a childbirth class soon, but I sort of fear that we might be the only people in the class..... How have you found other like-minded folks to connect with in the real world?
Ask your midwife, nurse, OB/hospital about new mom groups.
Even if you are not a believer in organized religion, a UU church can provide a wonderful, open minded, inclusive community.
If you are planning a natural birth, look online for natural birthing classes in your area.
If you are planning to breastfeed, take a class, join La Leche League.
Start your own group. When my son was an infant, 10 years ago, I felt the need to connect with other mothers who parented at least similarly to me - or who were open minded. I googled and found email/yahoo groups to post on and posted on Attachment Parenting websites. I was pleasantly surprised by how many others were seeking out friendship as well. The first meeting, at a park, was HUGE. I am still close with the moms I met 10 years ago through the group I started.
I believe you have to keep an open mind and cast a very wide net. Also, you might be surprised to find that people you may not think could be peers, at first glance, can become wonderful friends over time. So, cast a wide net *and* give everyone a chance :)
We moved 400 miles from friends and family when DD was 5 months old. I know how hard it is.
A few ideas: I met some friends from the library story time; those have become lasting friendships. You might also find that taking a Music Together class or when the baby becomes mobile taking an infant gymnastics class might be a way to make some friends. Once DD was in preschool, I began to make friends with some of the other parents by scheduling playdates with parents I liked and kids DD played with.
Also, have you checked out the "Finding Your Tribe" section on here? You may find there are some like-minded mamas posting on Mothering. You might want to include your own location in your profile as well to make it easier for people to connect. You should also come join the February Due Date Club. We have a nice virtual community there that might help to ease some of the isolation.
Remember, making friends is a process but it will happen if you keep yourself open to new people and new experiences.
LLL is another good option, many of the moms there are more naturally-minded, plus it's somewhere you can comfortably bring a newborn!
I meet lots of moms at library story hour. I don't always have a lot in common with them but they still fun to hang out with. The playground is good too. You have to put yourself out there a bit & start up conversations and ask for phone numbers... but I find most moms are in the same boat, really looking to connect with others too.
Technically most of my friends aren't 'peers' either because DH and I are just at a much different stage in our life than others around here. But if you can let go of that a bit you will find a lot of kinship in just being a mother...
I really had no friends until I became a mom -- actually about a year after that because I was still working full-time from home 'til DS was over a year, but once I switched to part time & started getting out & going to meetups and story times I started making friends quickly. Being a mom can be isolating (especially if you SAH or WAH) so people really are eager to make friends.
There are also MOMs clubs, MOPs, etc. I haven't had any experience with these but just try googling the nearest city & "mom's groups" and you should find a bunch of clubs unless you really are in the middle of nowhere...
I moved here just before I got pg the first time and didn't know anyone until Milo was about 4 mos old. Then I went to a playgroup I found through "finding your tribe" and it was really awesome. He's 8 now and I can still trace many of my relationships back to that first playgroup. I have also done meetups, and at some of those I feel like I don't have enough in common to feel connected to people, but every once in a while I meet someone I enjoy, or learn about some great activity I didn't know about. And then I've also gone to LLL playgroups, which have been a mixed bag, but I have definitely met people there and got some good grown up talk and such.
I second the suggestion to put your location in your profile. I met one of my closest friends here because she had her location listed on a sewing forum and I contacted her. She also was many, many years younger than I am and didn't have a pile of degrees or fancy career to weigh her down like I do. But we had tons in common and children the same age who had fun together.
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
Subbing! We just moved where we are and we don't know anyone.It's very lonely at times and I wish that I had a friend to hang out with and have tea or something :(
Jessica married to the love of my life
Momma to: Levi (09/06), Junior (09/05) , Teagann (11/10) and two furbabies Nugget and Boo TTC our next bundle of love