PARENTS
14/09/2015 06:39 BST | Updated 14/09/2015 07:59 BST

Katie Price Reveals She Struggles To Make Mum Friends: Advice On How To Connect With Other Mothers

Making friends with other mums to share stories, have a laugh and unload your worries with, can be a huge confidence boost for new parents.

However for some mums, it's not always that easy. Katie Price admitted in an interview for AOL's Being Mum series that making friends in the playground has been tough.

She told Rochelle Humes: "No one really talks to me to be honest. They look at me, because I probably dress differently to the other mums there.

"I will turn up in like a pink jumper with my little pony on and Junior is like 'mum what are you wearing that for!' and I’m like 'oh shut up, Junior!'"

being mum

Price is not alone in feeling excluded, in February this year, a study commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare and Netmums revealed more than a quarter of mums feel lonely and isolated after having their first baby.

In terms of making new friends, 25% of women said they hadn't made any since giving birth.

Rowan Davies, from Mumsnet said this is something users of their site have discussed on the online forum before.

She explained to HuffPost UK Parents: "Few people will admit to it, but Mumsnet users' experience suggests that it's very common for new parents to feel lonely.

"It's not easy to make friends when you're shattered, your identity has undergone a massive shift, and your toddler is engaged in a life-or-death battle over the playgroup's only ride-on car.

"School gate alienation is pretty common too; even the warmest friendship groups can look cliquey and impenetrable to newcomers."

Davies said using community sites such as Mumsnet, can be a good way for women to meet people with similar interests and experiences.

"Many women quickly find a few who are on their wavelength and who help them get their social groove back," she added.

HuffPost UK Parents reader Karen Mee said she felt the stigma of being a single parent stopped her from making friends.

She told HuffPost UK Parents: "At school, all the mums seemed to have their own friends. I also found it difficult in the school playground as I don't really have anything in common with them.

"I feel being a single parent is still stigmatised when in this day and age it shouldn't be. It's been very hard hearing others are going for coffee and kids are inviting each other round.

"It can get really lonely."

toddler group

Suzie Hayman, parenting expert and trustee of Family Lives says mum friends can be an asset to your friendship group, as they can help to reassure you about any parenting worries.

But Hayman says she understands it can be intimidating to break into what might seem to be a "clique" at the school gates.

Speaking to HuffPost UK Parents, she said: "One way is directly through your child. Ask them if they’d like to have a friend home for a playdate, send a note to the mum via them.

"After you’ve met, you can look for a familiar face and be introduced to the others.

"Making friends can feel hard but if you smile, look eye to eye and say 'Hi!' however shy you feel, you’ll find a greeting expands after a few days to a few words, to longer conversations about your children, to friendship."

When reaching out to our HuffPost UK Parenting community on Facebook, many mums agreed with this notion that there are "cliques" among parents at baby groups or parenting classes.

Sarah Ballantyne said: "I found mums were clicky and had formed friendships from their antenatal classes.

"In my son's first year I've been to several groups and became friends with a couple of mums but found it really difficult to fit in. Now my son is nearly 13 months old we have finally met a group of mums."

Stacey Hutchins added: "It was hard at first but once I got in there, I found some good friends. It was very clicky and some mums can be a bit snotty. But not all of them are - your life does change when you have kids."

SEE ALSO:

Mummy Friends: Ten Reasons You Need Them

Mum Dating: Making Friends Online

Drawing from their own experiences, mums from the HuffPost UK Parents Facebook group offered advice on how they overcame the struggle to make mum friends.

1. Keep at it.

Shelley said she struggled to get the other mums to even talk to her at a toddler group but carried on going because her children enjoyed it.

She added: "Eventually I found a really small group and as it grew I made myself the unofficial meet and greet person so the new mums that came never felt like I first did and I made friends too."

Emma Joseph agreed: "I found out by going to the same toddler group three or four times a week it really has helped me regain the confidence I had before and make mummy friends."

2. Try other baby groups.

Attending local baby or toddler groups are by far the best way to meet new people, but if you don't feel comfortable at the first one you try, why not shop around?

Katie said: "With my son I really struggled to find a toddler group that felt like the right fit for us. My son is very busy and some of the local groups didn't fit his personality. We felt really out of sync.

"However, we then found a group that we do feel ok in. The groups we have been the most happy in with both children have been at church".

3. Have a bit of courage.

Going through the palava of making new friends once you become a parent isn't exactly everyone's favourite thing to do. Advice from mums? Have a bit of confidence.

Laura Burnett said: "I struggled at first, I had no courage to go to baby groups on my own. If I went to one, I never talked to a soul. But then I went to another one and a mum started talking to me and well, she's now still - nearly five years later - one of my best friends.

"I'm so glad I had the courage to go to another group and even more glad she talked to me."

Sarah Hunt also struggled to pluck up the courage, especially as she had no other friends with children.

She said: "I was painfully shy. I didn't feel like people were including me. I then realised it was me not talking to them.

"I'd expect people to come to me, but once I started talking to other parents, I loved going."

mum friends

4. Look online.

With the wonders of the internet, there are many more opportunities to meet other people without having to attend a baby group (and without leaving your sofa).

Katharine Conroy said: "One of my best mummy friends I met online through a group for allergy babies. We see each other a few times a week now and go to groups together."

Eleanor Leedham-Isted recommended Netmums: "They have a local page for your area and other parents rate the groups so you know if they are worth checking out."

Similarly, Cara Wild said to look on Mumsnet: "Go on the forums and offer to arrange meet ups at a local cafe, being the one organising made me feel more confident. I met a lot of people who felt exactly the same as me."

Take a look at Netmums advice on how to strike up a conversation below and remember, you're not alone.

Take a look at Netmums advice on how to strike up a conversation below and remember, you're not alone.

"Conversation openers" from the Netmums book How To Be A Happy Mum

"Gorgeous baby...what amazing hair/eyes/smile ?"

"How old is your baby/child/little one?"

"Whats his/her name? I'm Sally by the way"

"Is this your first?"

"Have you been coming here long?"

"Do you come here often" (see? Just like the dating game!)

"Where else do you go?"

"Does your little one go to pre-school yet?"

"What school do your/ will your children go to?"

"Where do you go on rainy days?"

"Our children seem to be getting along really well - shall we meet up again next week so they can play?"

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