The loneliest I have ever been during my time as an Army wife was when my daughter was a baby. She was a barracuda of an eater and a disaster of a sleeper and I couldn’t believe that my husband got to go to work and abandon me at home, exhausted and very much alone. Yet, I firmly decided that I wanted to stay home with her.
We moved from Germany to Fort Irwin, CA when I was nine weeks pregnant. We temporarily settled into a sketchy, one bedroom apartment in Barstow, the closest town to the National Training Center where my husband was stationed. When I was eight months along, a duplex finally became available for us on post. We moved again so my husband wouldn’t have to make the dangerous 45 minute drive through the desert to get to work. I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy unpacking and getting settled. The morning after I put the finishing touches on the nursery, I went into labor.
My house was ready for my baby to arrive, and I had made a few acquaintances, but I didn’t have any friends. The people from my husband’s office sent lovely gifts, but I didn’t have a baby shower for my first and only baby. I just didn’t know anyone well enough. I’m typically pretty good about entertaining myself, but with a little one at home, I didn’t feel like my time was really my own. And, I was struggling as a new mom. I needed to make a friend that I could be honest and real with. Who better than another new mom?
I started going to story hour at the library, even though my baby was too young to get anything out of it. I made a connection with one mom and boldly invited her over, only to learn that she was moving right away. When my daughter started crawling, I started going to the playgroup offered through the New Parent Support Program. There, another mom introduced herself. She decided we should be friends because we had chosen the same kind of shoes for our babies. We exchanged phone numbers and we became very close over the next several years, eventually growing our social circle through Mothers of Preschoolers group and a monthly book club. But wow, was that a really long process!
Fast forward ten years, and military spouses are still struggling to make connections, especially when dealing with the limitations of motherhood. Who has nap schedules that will work with playdates? Who has a similar parenting philosophy? Who has something besides being a mommy in common with you? Who is open to inviting a new friend into her life? All of these years later, I’m still hearing stories of moms getting “picked up” by other moms in the aisles of Target and exchanging contact information because they are just that desperate.
What if there were a less awkward way to “date” other moms? It turns out there’s a group of moms that recognized the problem and did something about it. Hello Mamas is a free matchmaking site for moms. Simply complete your profile and then you’re all set to search for other moms in your area or participate in the online forums. You can filter by different things like types of allergies, age categories, and there’s even a box to check if you’re looking for military moms.
I’m really excited about the potential that Hello Mamas offers. If you’re a lonely mom like I was, I hope you’ll reach out and find your next best friend.
What is the most awkward thing you’ve ever done to start a friendship?