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Where can you find family BFFs?

We all know, mamas: raising a family takes a village.  The support around us can really help us get through the tough moments: when we are sick, working late, or just plain ol' tired.   Many of have moved here from afar with very little support in place.  All of us are parents, and we had to start somewhere when we - as new parents - started making other friends who were also new parents.  After five years of "family dating" and meeting new families, we know there are at least a couple of families out there who we can call on to watch our kids in a pinch or to hang out with late into the night (kids playing while parents banter).  We like to think we could ask them almost anything to help our family in a time of need.

When we think about how we met these families and when we think about how close we've gotten with some of these families:

  • One family, we met on craigslist.  We were looking for a nanny-share four years ago, and they posted an ad.  We invited their family over for a playdate, and the rest was history.  We ended up sharing the nanny that summer, but we've also shared many a memory since then.
  • One family, we met on a yahoo-group.  The mamas met first, for a run.  After connection was made, the mamas planned another activity: papas and kids meet for coffee playdate while mamas go for a bike ride.  Now, the papas call one another more than the mamas.
  • One family, we met through school.  About a week into first grade at our new school last year, we had an impromptu dinner on a Friday night at our house.  Kids played and we talked until probably 10-11pm.  Now, if we're up at their house that late, we opt to spend the night so we can watch movies & make breakfast together.
  • One family, we met through email.  They were moving here to Portland and we had just moved a year before.  We shared thoughts on daycare.  Now, we share thoughts on relationships and home improvement contractors.

We all need the support from other families as we move onward with the challenges of rearing our little lovelies.  Do you have a family that you'd consider your family's "Best Friend(s) Forever"?  How'd you find them?


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oh tell me all about it! I'm only 2 hours from my family but it may as well be 2000 miles for all the support I get. Luckily I met a wonderful family through La Leche League and then one of my daycare customers became one of my best friends--now she takes care of our kids when we need a break. I realize though that I put a lot of barriers up when meeting people--I have a prejudice against people who seem too well off (I hate to admit it but growing up poor & living in pre-Mandela South Africa really affected me) and because my husband is an immigrant we sometimes feel uncomfortable. Then there's the child-raising differences that arise.....So anyway, I find that just through random contacts friendships develop--but it does take at least a year of knowing people to establish that kind of trust & friendship.

Met mine at Book Babies at the library when we were both on maternity leave. The sad thing is that today they are flying to their new home on the East coast (job change). Now I'm looking again. SIGH.

Whereever I find one, it's like gold. As many single parents have said, it's sometimes hard to make friends in the traditional ways. Unlike many of the scenarios described above, we may not have a partner that can pair off and have their own friendship develop. And we often over-scheduled so it's hard to find another single mama that "fits" schedule-wise.

I say all this to say, please reach out to the single mama. We need BFFs too, though we may not be able to do the babysitting trades as often (once a sticky-wicket for me with a former BFF partnered mama).

I had a really good network prior to moving here that was pretty seamless. It took literally YEARS to start getting that piece back in place. former child care provider, other "outsider" mom at school, childless friend and former bartender (hic-cup!) are some of my BFFs.

Mine were established prior to the decision to have my child. I told my friends, "I want to have a baby as a single mom." After they grilled me and decided I was in my right mind, they said, "We will be there for you when you need us." They have come at 7:30 in the morning to pick up my daughter when I was up sick all night, and they are the ones who will take her away from me if they see that I cannot take one more second of her attitude and take her for a walk or distract her. One family has kids 11 and 15, the other is a grandfather with 2 grown sons, but both have adopted us as their own, and we do all holidays and almost every weekend together. It's not exactly the same as having family here, but it's darned close. Oh, and I met one family through my ex-boyfriend (I got the majority of the custody of them after the breakup) and the other through work.

As someone that moved to Portland two years ago, this is something that I'm still working on (and that stresses me out). I feel like everyone I meet is already so established here! We've started some friendships, but I still don't have anyone on the level of "call in case of emergency." With both me and my husband working full-time we just haven't had time to devote to this, though we should. Argh, one more thing to stress about!

I met some Mom's through a providence a Mom's group. They help you set up a seperate more unstructured playtime. Otherwise we meet people just by being out and about with our son. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with another parent at the grocery store or in the park. Sure you might only have a small chat but maybe they're looking for some social contact too!!!

I have been working on this since I moved here in Sept. and my baby is only 7 months, so I have had alot of time.
I am making some good friends by participating in Baby & Me swim classes through the Tualatin Hills Park and Rec.
By the end of the summer I should have a network. :-) Plus my baby is learning to swim.

I am looking forward to having my son start kindergarten so we can meet some more families in the neighborhood. I think folks will respond in an emergency but I long for more weekly/monthly social interactions. I kind of feel like that network isnt as strong or as supportive as I wish it would be. Maybe I expect too much.

Also a single mom here. Its a bit lonely at times.

I've met a so many friends by hanging out before or after pick-up at school -- the "other mothers" as my husband calls them.

It makes me think that working mamas (I work part-time at my home) don't have the same opportunities...it doesn't seem fair...

I met my closest mom friend one block away. I knew she was in the neighborhood and introduced myself because of mutual friends. We talk most mornings and get our boys together on a weekly basis. I have other girlfriends with older kids or in other neighborhoods. Close proximity and two little boys that love each other has made the friendship grow easily over the past two years.

Kristin, thanks for thinking about the work-away-from-home mamas -- it does pose special challenges to meeting other families for sure. In fact, if it weren't for my sister-in-law, I would have NO mama friends in town. I've tried a few times, but since so many activities are during the weekday, several SAHMs have given up on me. Wahhh! I'm hoping when my daughter starts school, I'll have some more opportunities.

Does urbanmamas ever have a semi-regular/annual get together? It seems this would be a great way for us to meet. Maybe a potluck at a centrally located park on a weekend? Anyone interested?

Reading through all of the posts, I am envious of all the family BFFs! My husband and I moved from the east coast 10 years ago so the family is far away. We have many close friends, but they are either without children or their children are older so it is challenging to get together at this point. Our daughter is 4 months and we are looking for some good friends to connect with who have children the same age. I have been to Baby and Me and there is the potential, but I am not able to attend for much longer. I have been to book babies, and some other activities, but so far great conversations, but don't often see the same people twice! I would love to get together with other urban mamas! I will be back to work in the fall so there is that challenge too!! What is a mom to do??

Timely topic. My husband & I are both introverts have been happy with a small social circle. But now that I have a baby I feel this need to connect with other families with babies (I don't think my husband understands this). I've done various baby activities, but like you said, it takes time & you have to see the same people a number of times. There are a few families with babies in my neighborhood, which should be good. But this week I have been feeling sorry for myself, thinking they are all becoming friends & we aren't really fitting in. I'm sure it isn't as bad as I think & I sound like a middle schooler, so enough whining :)
This winter when I was staying home full time I did make a friend through La Leche league. Her baby is older than mine & it was great to have her advice & support as I was figuring this mama thing out.
Anyhow, an urban mama / baby gathering sounds like a good idea! Hearing everyone else makes me feel better that I am not alone in wishing for more BFF. Thanks!

I love this site! This is such a timely posting for me. Over the past year or so we have been growing apart from our closest and oldest frieds in town and I have felt a bit lost and disoriented looking for new connections. There are a few reasons this is happening, one being that our kids are 6 years apart in age (6 and 12) and that gap is making more of a difference. I so want a group of friends where the kids get along great and the parents do to and we do all of these fun things together. Hopefully we will connect with school and other neighborhood families as time goes on. I just have to remembe to keep reaching out. Great topic, great web site!

I second many of the previous suggestions!
I feel blessed to have some amazing neighbors -- we throw baby showers and really support one another. It takes time and effort to cultivate those relationships (through casual conversations as well as neighborhood bbqs and parties). But the benefits are tremendous -- we pass along toys and clothes, offer assistance, make meals for new parents, etc.

The new moms groups are great - I really like the Providence Portland group and met some good friends there.
Volunteering is also a good way to meet people. I'm a peer counselor for the Nursing Mothers Counsel and have met some amazing moms through that experience.

A couple of years ago I got an email from someone I didnt know...she'd seen on urbanMamas that I have a son her son's age and wanted to know if I'd like to get together sometime to play. It was very random, but I'm so glad we met. Within an hour, we discovered some amazing coincidences--our boys are almost exactly the same age, we are from the same home town, and we were born at the same hospital just a day apart--weird! I never would have guessed I'd make such a great connection by meeting someone online and I'm glad I didnt let my husband freak me out too much after I told him I was going to a park to meet someone just because she has a kid my son's age!

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