Singles, couples, families. Sandpit friends, study mates, relatives… our circles of friends are quite diverse! For many young families, however, it is not that easy to establish contact with other young parents. However, the exchange with each other is not only important, but also very enriching – for the children as well.
How has your circle of friends grown? Do you mainly maintain friendships from your childhood and school days that have survived the test of time? Or is your circle of friends a colourful mix of people you have made friends with at different stages of your life? What many young families have in common: they are relatively alone in their environment. Whether it’s because they moved on the arrival of their offspring, were the first in their circle of friends to have children, or simply they don’t know many other families. And although it’s great not to talk about baby issues every day, contact with other families with young children is still important – among other things, so that the children can exchange ideas with their peers. But how do you find “family friends”?
Making friends during pregnancy: don’t be afraid of mummy events.
You don’t have to jump at every offer for expectant mothers. But especially during pregnancy, the exchange with other mums can be important. After all, so much is happening right now! That’s why – and as it’s also important for your health – it’s worth signing up for a course for pregnant women. Whether it’s prenatal yoga, the pregnancy running groups or classic birth preparation is up to you. There’s plenty to choose from – from baby sewing classes to mummy workouts. At all of them, you’ll find lots of other expectant mums who are going through the same highs and lows as you.
Friendships with a baby: Buddies for your child – and for you
Once your baby is born, it will be even easier to exchange ideas with other parents. If your child goes to a toddler group or day care centre, it’s not only your baby who has contact with other parents of the same age. You will also meet many other parents who may have the same interests as you. Keeping in touch beyond the playgroup and nursery is easy with a date to go for a walk or to meet at the playground. There are often other families with young children in the neighbourhood: Maybe mums or dads already meet regularly for coffee or an afternoon at the playground? Just ask other neighbours – or start a mum-walking group yourself. Classes and clubs are not insider tips, but they are still good places to make friends after the birth. Postnatal gymnastics, parent cafés, sports activities with children, music clubs… there are so many options! Offers where your children can be present not only make scheduling easier, but also quickly break the ice. After all, children approach each other much more quickly than we adults do – and the contact is already there.
Are family friends different from other friends?
Of course, when you make friends with other mums, dads or families, you already have an easy first topic of conversation: the children. This is very helpful at first, especially if you can’t ask your best single friend what breastfeeding pad she recommends, or your childless friend can’t help when the question comes up about which holiday destinations are still cool with a child. Especially in the “rush hour of life”, when everything is happening at once – from starting a family, to life planning, to the next career steps – we can use all the support we can get. So don’t be afraid to ask your new mum or dad friends for advice and support if it all seems a bit much. After all, they are in the same situation right now. Being there for each other is especially important for new parents. So also offer your support at times when your new friends may need some help.
How true friendships develop
Real friendships develop with trust and closeness – and beyond family issues. That’s why it’s also important for new friends with children: be patient, be open and don’t just focus on family issues. After all, you are not only parents, but also independent people with a wide range of interests and dreams. So your new “family friends” are not that different from other friends. And as with all other friendships, they will grow and develop over time.
Start taking matters into your own hands
Are there no activities for parents in your area? Your child doesn’t go to daycare or a playgroup? And there are no other young families in the neighbourhood either? Then maybe this is the right sign to take the issue into your own hands and start a pram gang or a playground meeting. All it takes is courage: the next time you go for a walk with your pram, just talk to other mums you meet and ask them if they would like to get together. You can also quickly strike up a conversation with other mums or dads in the playground – your children and what they are doing at the moment are the first topic of conversation. Everything else will follow on its own.
We at Awina know that children can turn your life upside down! Especially when there is a lot going on anyway – from big life decisions to career planning. That’s exactly why we not only advocate for a better work-life balance, but also support you in the “rush hour of your life”.