We’ve lived in Portland for two years, and to be painfully honest, I thought I’d have a more mom friends by now. I’ve definitely met a lot of people, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone out for coffee or drinks with a new face. It’s not Portland’s fault. It’s seriously one of the friendliest places we’ve ever lived. What I struggle with is figuring out how to get from the “nice to meet you” and “we should hang out” stages, to the “I’ll meet you there at 7 p.m.” stage. With kids and jobs and soccer and everything else we juggle each week, it feels impossible to ask someone to commit a few hours to someone they hardly know. It’s totally like blind dating. For moms. So, what’s a lonely mom to do?
Soon after moving to the PNW, I was in the cereal aisle of a grocery store when I overheard a little voice say, “I like your dress. You look very pretty.” I turned and saw another girl, about my daughter’s age, admiring her dress. “Thank you,” my daughter replied. “My name is Kate,” the other girl continued, “Do you want to be my friend?” With a resounding “Yes” and a hug, the two were suddenly besties. For the next twenty minutes, the girls meandered through the store, behind their moms (both fairly oblivious and working hard to keep toddlers entertained), having the time of their lives. At checkout, Kate’s mom walked over and handed me an old receipt with her phone number on the back. “This is awkward, but I think our girls really like each other. Here’s our number if you’d ever like to get together.” In the madness of bagging my groceries, managing three kids, and trying to remember how to get from the store to our new home, I lost the receipt.
The Mom-Friend Cabin
Life went on and I forgot about WinCo Kate until last week. Scrolling through Instagram, I came upon a photo of a group of women enjoying a weekend away at a cabin. I paused as I realized that every single woman in the photo was an author that I adore. How on earth did they all end up in a cabin together? The caption mentioned how they were all dear friends and that this was the fifth annual trip they’d taken together. What? How does that even happen? They live on opposite ends of the country. Apparently, I wasn’t the only fan girl with questions. The next day, the group shared a live video session where they explained how their trips had come about.
One of the women opened the video by reading a question regarding how in the world they all became mom friends. Her response immediately took me back to WinCo Kate. According to these women, they became friends via cold-call. One of them took a risk and reached out to another women, whom she admired, and asked if they could be friends. The blogger said yes and they started hanging out. Those two then reached out to another and so on and so on until their group of six was formed. They now each enjoy a cohort of like-minded women with similar careers and interests who all support the heck out of each other and spend a weekend each year in a cabin drinking Moscow Mules and talking till 3 a.m. It’s every lonely mom’s dream scenario.
How did this group of women get so lucky? They pulled a WinCo Kate. The women saw someone they wanted to be friends with and they just asked. They didn’t wait to be noticed or for someone else to initiate an invitation. A call or email or private message was sent, just straight-up asking for friendship.
I’m beginning wonder what would happen if I skipped the “we should hang out” stage and went straight to “I’d like to be your friend” (and meet you there at 7 p.m.). On some levels it sounds childish, but I also think there’s something super vulnerable in the honesty that just might resonate with the receiver. Maybe I’ll try it. Perhaps this will be my year of making more mom friends. Maybe there’s a cabin weekend in my future. Wish me luck!