A Short Guide to Mommying in Malibu
Our neighbors have high hedges. Unlike where I grew up, I can’t pop over to ask for some sugar. There are call boxes. Long driveways. There are uninviting cameras watching your every move as you approach the gate. However, after almost four years in Malibu, we’re starting to feel part of the community and after one and a half years of being a mom here, I’m excited to have a local #MomTribe. For any mom struggling to find her own community like I did, here’s what worked for me.
Be proactive. If you strike up a conversation with another mom at the park, ask if she’d like to get together there again. Invite her to one of your favorite spots, playgroups or baby gyms. I find that local moms really want to know what other moms are doing with their little ones, especially since our community is so spread out. Exchange numbers and send her a text to get together within the week, if possible. Inspiration is fleeting, so do it before you get wrapped up in other mommy-duties.
Get out of the house. It was challenging to get out when our son was a newborn. There aren’t many things within walking distance and it was easy to spend our days at home. That led to some loneliness in my early motherhood stages and it felt like there weren’t any moms of young babies in our community. Excuse my sports analogy here, but you can’t play the game sitting in the bleachers. Once I started playing on the court, I saw just how big the game really was. Meeting one mom led to meeting another three, and it snowballed from there.
Don’t take it personally and keep trying. I once invited a mom I got along well with to a Point Dume playgroup – she declined and said that her daughter goes to preschool everyday at that time. Since then, I’ve seen her at the park during preschool hours and we say ‘Hi.’ She doesn’t want to join? No problem! There are plenty of fish in the sea. Take rejection graciously. It’s a small community and you’re likely to see her again.
Be open-minded. On a walk with our son, a bright-eyed neighbor strolled towards us with her two dogs. Our son loved her dogs, and our neighbor loved our son. She offered to connect me with her cousin, who would be visiting from Italy in three months and had a son the same age as ours. It seemed like a long shot but we stayed in touch and when her cousin came to town, we got along great and so did our boys. Though she was only here for a month, we met regularly and she joined our baby-music sessions.
Create your own playgroup. My husband took our son to a music class over Kanan, until he showed up one day to find it canceled. So we tracked down the instructor and started our own music class at our house. I’ve become close to a few of the moms who attend and was delighted to find that being a little resourceful led to more friends for all of us.
Say yes to adventure and be flexible. You’re sleep deprived. You’re following a strict nap schedule. Baby won’t sleep in the car. There are so many reasons to play it safe. Some of my most memorable experiences have happened by putting routines aside and saying yes to things that sound fun. My first mom-meetup felt adventurous when our son was eight weeks old. Now, our threshold is more like an overnight at Disneyland! The worst that could happen is that you have an off day and the baby throws a tantrum or two. You’ll get through it and the juice will most definitely be worth the squeeze.
To maintain relationships with these new mom-friends you’re going to have, practice being forgiving of things like being late to meet up, delays in text response times, and a sudden change in plans. It’s also a good time to start being accepting of various parenting styles and to let go of judgments.
Like all good things in life, making new friends takes a combination of effort, persistence, and some luck. Tall hedges and all, amazing mom-friends are out there so don’t give up. The more locals I’ve met, the more I’m convinced that we have the friendliest and kindest people living among us. In no time you’ll have your own #MomTribe in this beautiful and rustic paradise we are lucky to call home.
Please join me next month for more thoughts and ideas on mommy-ing in Malibu!
Written especially for Malibu Surfside News. Follow me and read more at MalibuSurfSideNews.com