Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How I used the Internet to make local friends: August Carnival of Natural Parenting

Welcome to the August 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Friends
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about friends.

There are so many moms who seem nice and like they think the same of me but don't seem actually interested in being my friend.  I've met them at the park. The library. Church. It's always the same; our friends play for a few minutes or an hour while we chat energetically, but then we leave without exchanging any contact information. Nothing more comes of it. Or maybe I see them again, and the same thing happens at another event or location.

But finally I've found a group of friends and friendly acquaintances. The last time I saw a mom with a baby in a ring sling at the grocery store and jokingly thought "hey, we should be friends!", it turned out we already are!
And when I enter cloth diaper or baby carrier giveaways that ask you to tag a friend, I now have actual people in my same city to tag that use cloth diapers and wraps too. Sometimes they even tag me first!

So where did I find "my tribe"? Online! My expanding group of friends is thanks to a Facebook group for families in our city interested in natural parenting. We discuss natural parenting topics in the group and have met at the park a few times. The first time I only knew one other mom, but as summer has worn on, I now have several new friends who share many of our parenting values and much of our parenting style. Some of them I can tell will probably stay casual friends, some friendly acquaintances, but a couple seem like they have a pretty decent chance to end up being real, lasting, deep friendships!

And chances are your city has similar groups that you can join to connect with like minded moms too! Look for natural parenting, babywearing, cloth diapering, and other such topical groups for your city or broader geographical area. Even if a group seems focused on something fairly specific, the friends you meet will surely be interested in talking about more than just that specific topic if they meet with you at the park. 

Making new mom friends can be tough, but the Information Age can make it easier. If you're having trouble finding local moms like you, try finding them online and then meeting in real life rather than just vise versa.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon August 12 with all the carnival links.)
  • Sibling Revelry — At Natural Parents Network, Amy W. shares her joy in witnessing the growth of the friendship between her two young children.
  • Making New Mama Friends — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses on how she was able to connect with like-minded mamas and form deep friendships both in 'real life' and online. Learn how these life-long friendships, both between Jennifer and other mothers but also between Jennifer's daughter and the other children, formed and flourished.
  • Family, Friends and Family Friends — Vidya Sury at Vidya Sury, Going A-Musing, Collecting Smiles is reflecting on family friendships, past and present.
  • Arranging friendships in a modern world — From a free-range childhood to current parenthood, how can an introvert like Lauren at Hobo Mama navigate the newly complicated scheduling of playdates and mom friends?
  • Mommy Blogs: Where Moms Make Friends — Mothers make friends with other mothers in new ways. The options from earlier decades remain, but new avenues have sprung up with mommy bloggers. Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence shares her thoughts.
  • Friendship and Sacrifice: Guardians of the Galaxy — Shay at 4HisGlor y learned that friendship lessons can be found in unlikely places, like blockbuster summer movies.
  • Friendship - Finding, Forming, Keeping, and WishingLife Breath Present's thoughts on finding, forming, keeping, and wishing for friendships as an introvert.
  • Consciously Creating My Community: Monthly Dinners — How have you intentionally created community? Dionna at Code Name: Mama's goal for the year is to cultivate community. One way she's done that is to help organize two different monthly dinners with friends.
  • Adults need imaginary friends, too — Tat at Mum in Search shares why it's a good idea for adults to have imaginary friends. You get to meet Tat's friend and download a playbook to create your own.
  • Friends Near, Friends Far — Kellie at Our Mindful Life helps her kids keep in touch with friends 600 miles apart.
  • Which comes first, social skills or social life? — Jorje of Momma Jorje frets about whether her daughter can learn social skills without experience, but how to get good experience without social skills.
  • Snail Mail Revival — Skype isn't the only way to stay in touch with long distance friends, That Mama Gretchen and her family are breaking out the envelopes and stamps these days!
  • Montessori-Inspired Friendship Activities — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares a roundup of Montessori-inspired friendship activities for home or classroom.
  • How I used the internet to make local friends — After years of striking out at the park, Crunchy Con Mom finally found some great local friends . . . online!
  • My How Friends Change — Erica at ChildOrganics knows entirely too much about how to comfort a friend after a loss.


Erica @ ChildOrganics said...

It's so true that my crunchy friends all seem to be online. I have made a few real life crunchy friends from Holistic Moms Meetings. THey are pretty awesome.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Yes! I found an AP forum online when I was pregnant with Kieran and had just moved to KC. The women in that group became and have remained my friends, now seven years later :) The internet is amazing!

Lauren Wayne said...

That's exactly how I met the friends I have! I just need to make some more now. :)

Gretchen said...

Same for me! I was invited to a local natural group and they're some of my besties now - granted, we still talk online mostly while nursing or late at night, but we do plan gatherings and it's just nice knowing they're close.

Momma Jorje said...

Yes! I didn't really seem to connect with anyone on our local CD group, then kind of connected through the babywearing group. But I have a friend with whom I share several groups! And now I've made another friend through our local Urban Farming Guild!

Moms are busy people, its not like we can hang out at the mall to make friends anymore. ;)

Deb Chitwood said...

It's wonderful that you found friends online! That's where I've met a lot of my favorite people, too. :)