artemesia and her incredible bike, arcata CA

Back in August, a reader asked me and Ariel how we, and subsequently all of you, found Offbeat Mama friends in our communities. The suggestions in the comments were amazing, and I decided to implement a few into my own life to see what would happen.

I do not have the fortune of living in a thriving metropolitan of any sort, and instead reside in a smallish southern town. The dominant politics here aren’t my cup of tea, and most of the parents I run into at story times and The Little Gym are older than I am — this isn’t a problem per se, but I always secretly feel like I’m not going to be taken seriously as a parent. However, we are always trying to teach Jasper that you can’t tell how someone really is just by looking at them, and I decided that the time had come to bite the bullet and take my own advice.

Initially, I set up an account with Meet Up, but it occurred to me that I could accomplish more or less the same thing by making a group on Facebook, and it would be FREE. I came up with a introductory paragraph and sent invites to all of the parents that I could think of. It started with about 10 members, and as of now, we have 34 members — many of whom are people I didn’t know prior to starting the group.

However, I’m not going to sugar-coat it: doing this kind of shit is hard work. I think the most members we’ve had show up at the same story time (we go to the library and book stores) has been four, not including their kids. We mostly do free things, because not everyone can throw down $20 a week to visit whatever kid’s attraction is around. We actually just had a Halloween party which went really well (attendance was in the double digits!), and I also link to free events that I find going on in the city.

Kaloi fam at the party.

Since my group is new and still trying to survive, I also spent a night poring through every parent group I could find on Meet Up, and then accidentally met four or five members of one group at a story time. They all seemed nice enough, and were a pretty diverse mix of women, so I hesitatingly (because I am so SHY with other parents!) asked if they were all friends or knew each other through some kind of website. They told me all about their group, and Jasper and I went to our first outing with them this past Tuesday.

So, ultimately, suck it up and peruse the groups that are already established in your city. Most likely, it’s going to be a challenge to make friends, and you may have to keep quiet on some of your personal philosophies and practices, at least in the beginning, but I think showing your child(ren) that everyone deserves a shot at friendship is worth it, don’t you?

Comments on Finding offbeat mama friends: a follow up!

  1. The one thing I really miss on Offbeat Mama from Offbeat Bride is the forum. I know the reasons that there isn’t one, but I would so hope that we’d all be able to keep above the so-called Mommy Wars and share our stories here. Especially since it would help tons to be able to look up local mamas who are also offbeat!

  2. I’d be interested in perusing the fans of Offbeat Mama on Facebook to see who lives near me, but it doesn’t look like I can do that. There’s no “see all” option, so users can only see six randomly selected fans at a time. Is there a way to change this? Am I missing something?

  3. I know you used to be able to browse fans of pages on Facebook but that option hasn’t shown up for me for several upgrades (months & months.) So yeah all I see are 6 random people too.

    It does take some initiative to get out and find/make new friends. I’m gonna have to check out the comments on the other blog for ideas 🙂

  4. Is there any way we can search fans of offbeat mama or put together some location-based groups? After having my little girl I’d love to meet some other similar-minded mamas. I also can’t seem to get myself awake and out of the house in time for any 9 AM LLL meetings :-/

  5. When I worked at the YMCA there was a local chapter of Punky Moms that would come in every day. They were a wonderful group who all seemed to share values and support each other, watch each other’s kids when there was an emergency, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t live near them anymore, but when we have kids I will see if there is a local group or start one myself.

  6. I used the Google to find a playgroup in my area (Lawrence, KS, if anyone is hiding out there) and actually found a really rad group via CafeMom, of all cheesy-ass mom websites. 😀

    We meet weekly and while I still sometimes feel like the babysitter amongst real moms (I think I may be one of the youngest mothers), it’s given me the opportunity to meet new people and for my son to play with other kids, which he loves.

  7. I read the first edition of this post before I had my son. It made me realize that all the women around me in my pre-natal swim class and in my birth class were potential friends. So I made the effort. It wasn’t that bad since we were all going through the same thing more or less. Sometimes it felt awkward to ask for someone’s phone number when you bump into them at the Clinic but how else was I going to get her info?

    Now my son is a month old and we just had our first walk. It was great! One mom invited me and I asked if I could invite a few people and the group ended up being large and wonderful! We already have plans to walk next week! And guess what I am going to invite more offbeat parents!

  8. You have it bang on when you say that you are trying to teach your son not to judge people by how they look.

    I was very lucky to have met a great group of mums 2 years ago in a swim class when my son was about 4 months old. What strikes me about that was that if I’d been looking for “my kind of people”, I might have dismissed them… we’re all very different in style and lifestyle! But the thing was, it turned out our core values were the same, even though some of us had fancier houses or punkier hairstyles. My girls will be my girls forever, and I love their kids like family and I’d NEVER have met them before we had the common link of parenthood.

    Keep an open mind, and find the others with open minds. They’re out there waiting for you, but they might be in disguise. Good luck!!

  9. I’m not a mama, but I recently asked my mom how she met her friends (she had a few close friends who all had kids at about the same age as us). She said she asked her midwife if she could share some names of other mothers she helped and then she invited them all to join a woman’s group. They called themselves “Home Bound Mothers” and were all from different backgrounds but had all elected to have their most recent baby with a midwife, and all had kids at about the same age. When my mom was hospitalized with pneumonia it was the women from this group who came to take care of us. 🙂

  10. and i’ll pop in on this one too – as i said in the other post, i’m recently relocated from the DC metro area – DC girls, what? 😉 – to savannah GA so i’d love to meet people in GA. and of course i’d be open to getting to know the DC girls online since i still have family up there and travel up occasionally. i’ll leave my fb info for yous xoxox

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