Health & Happiness: Parents Want Friends Too, but where to go?

Health & Happiness: Parents Want Friends Too, but where to go?

As a mom of two little kiddos, I know how essential it is to surround yourself with a solid network of support in order to maintain a semblance of your sanity. I’m not just talking the early years either. While I’m still pretty new to the parenting experience (my oldest is 2.5) I can clearly see that I’m going to need a circle of close friends, both for my kids and myself.

Raising children is, unsurprisingly, difficult at times but incredibly rewarding overall. Part of the exhaustion can stem from a lack of regular and meaningful connection with other families.

When I asked my mother about her experience, she reminisced about the sheer number of families with children in our suburban Atlanta neighborhood. It was easy to find playmates for me (and other mom friends for her). There were spontaneous barbecues and social gatherings in the street.  I can’t help but pine for that kind of community.

Today, Facebook parenting groups certainly serve a purpose. However, I constantly see posts from other mothers reaching out and seeking deeper friendships. Over the last several years an entire industry of apps have come out specifically made for connecting parents (mainly moms) with other local parents. And yet we still fall short.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix. While social media offers great tools, you’ll likely need some in-person interaction to build those relationships. Thankfully, the Beaverton area has numerous opportunities to meet other families with kids.

Some of my favorites include:

Washington Country Libraries: Each location offers a variety of programs for kids over a range of ages (infant up to teens). I’ve made several friends with other parents at story time.

THPRD Centers: With a fantastic array of classes, playgrounds, and special events, what’s not to love? Who knew you could meet other parents and have so much fun at the same time?

Parks and playgrounds: Beaverton has an abundance of top notch parks and playgrounds. While the kids burn off some energy, strike up a conversation with another parent.

Hospital or Doula Groups: Expecting a new baby? Take advantage of new parent’s groups. These are a great resource for asking questions and getting in some socialization.

Keep an open mind and try to put yourself out there. That’s how we all made friends when we were kids, right?

Katie Carrick lives in Beaverton with her husband, two young children, and their yappy but loveable dog, Mendel. She’s a former clinical scientist who now works as a freelance writer. For more information visit mkcontentcreation.com.