Making mom friends is intimidating. And hard. And often outside our comfort zone. The effort it takes to strike up a conversation can feel draining. And the fear of rejection is real. We get it!
But we all need friends through this journey of motherhood, so we are here to help with a few encouraging tips and a list of actual local places where moms congregate. If you are looking to make mom friends you are one of MANY and we want to help you find one another!
First, a few encouraging tips for meeting other moms:
#1 – Realize many of the other moms you’ll find at these places are in the same boat – looking for community, fellowship, and a chance to connect with another mom and have an adult conversation. You are not alone.
#2 – Try somewhere new. When in doubt, keep it simple. Put yourself in places where other moms might be and just enjoy yourself. If you walk away with a potential new friend, great! If not, at least you got out of the house and made the effort. There can always be a “next time.”
#3 – Be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Smile. Make the first move and introduce yourself. Have some conversation starters in mind…
- Ask about their kids (it’s the one thing we all have in common!)
- Do your kids get along?
- Are you from Lakeland?
- Where else do you go to get out of the house?
- Are you a working mom? (We mean other than the full-time mom job of course)
- Think about what you might want someone to ask you…
Whether you’ve got 3 kids under 5 that are with you all day, or you’re a working mom who only has nights and weekends free, or you’re a mom of older kids who might look strange showing up alone at storytime, we’ve got you covered.
Read on for a list of 10 places to find fellow moms.
- The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center (formerly Family Fundamentals)
- Florida Children’s Museum (formerly Explorations V Children’s Museum)
- The Library
- Playgrounds + Indoor Play Areas
- New Mom Support Groups
- Church + Fellowship Groups
- Fitness Classes
- Get Involved at School
- Service Groups + Business Development Groups
- Lakeland Moms Group
- Kindermusik Music Connections Classes
The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center (formerly Family Fundamentals)
Family Fundamentals has changed it’s name! The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center opened in November 2022 at Bonnet Springs Park. The Children’s Resource Center offers classes on a weekly basis for children from infants through age 5 where parents and children will learn and socialize as they participate in fun, stimulating, developmental activities. They also offer a breastfeeding support group, infant massage, toddler sign language, and more. These classes are FREE and a great opportunity to meet other moms and caregivers, advance registration is required. Learn more about The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center.
Florida Children’s Museum (formerly Explorations V Children’s Museum)
Our local Children’s Museum is a great place to talk to other moms without it feeling awkward. Strike up a conversation while you hang out in the tot spot or in City Play. Being with your kids while they play will give you an easy topic – most moms love to chit-chat about their kiddos!
All of our local libraries offer storytimes and other activities for kids during the week for babies through teenagers. With 16 libraries in Polk County, you can find one near you and do some post-storytime socializing!
Even though moms of older kids might write off this option, DON’T! If you’ve got kids in that “in-between” zone – where you still have to take them and pick them up but they don’t really need your participation, stick around… the programs are usually less than an hour long and other moms are probably doing the same thing. We try to include all of the library activities on our calendar, but your best bet is to check with your nearest library for a current schedule.
Playgrounds + Indoor Play Areas
We can guarantee you’ll find other moms at the playground! (Unless it is empty of course)
We’ve got an abundance of great local playgrounds where you can relax and watch your kids play while hoping to strike up a conversation with another mom nearby. A few favorites that you probably won’t find empty – Common Ground, the Rotary Playground at Lake Parker Park, and Barnett Park & Sunflower Playground (this one is fully gated making it ideal for 5 & under).
Funtasia at Family Fun Center
If you’re looking for a “cooler” way to meet other moms, head to Funtasia at Family Fun Center. One of the largest soft play areas in the country, Funtasia is active entertainment for all of your little ones ages 12 & under! Your children will explore a 4 story maze of tunnels, tubes, slides, and obstacles. Kids will have a ball interacting with each other and finding their way through all of the fun activities while you enjoy the air conditioning and relax knowing your kids can’t leave the gated indoor playground.
New Mom Support Groups
If you’re a brand new mom or mom to a baby under 12 months, there are a lot of opportunities to meet other moms with babies. (Nevermind the fact that you’re all so exhausted you can hardly carry on a conversation!)
Lakeland Regional Health hosts a Breastfeeding Support Group, a time for sharing and support for breastfeeding moms, led by Certified Lactation Consultants. All breastfeeding moms and nursing babies welcome. Also for expectant mothers who are considering breastfeeding their newborn. They also have other expecting and new parent virtual classes. Click here to see upcoming dates.
The Nest offers a variety of pregnancy classes (find your mom tribe before you ever give birth!) as well as new mom support at their weekly weigh-in clinics. They also have a postpartum support group and infant massage classes. Check out their calendar for upcoming events.
La Leche League provides support for breastfeeding moms through mother to mother support, encouragement, information, and education. Meetings are held twice per month and both pregnant and breastfeeding moms are welcome along with their babies.
The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center opened in November 2022 at Bonnet Springs Park, there is a weekly breastfeeding support group led by lactation facilitators from community organizations. This group is FREE and a great opportunity to meet other moms, advance registration is required on The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center website.
Church + Fellowship Groups
Church and church related activities are a great place to meet other moms AND know that you likely share similar values.
Even if attending worship on Saturday or Sunday doesn’t provide much opportunity for fellowship, many churches offer Bible Studies, small groups, playgroups, and more. Looking for a church home? Ask for suggestions in the Lakeland Moms Group.
Moms of Lakeland (formerly MOPS at Church at the Mall) reaches local moms with weekly gatherings where they will find biblical community and encouragement with other moms. Weekly gatherings include Bible study, guest speakers, brunch, and crafts while providing preschool childcare in a safe and nurturing environment. Moms of preschool and elementary-aged children are welcome to attend! Childcare is available upon registration for children birth-preschool. Meet every Tuesday from 9-11:30 AM at Lakes Church (1010 E. Memorial Blvd. Lakeland, FL). Visit their Facebook page for details.
The Mom Tribe Bible Study meets at First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland and welcomes new moms to come join the group. Coffee, snacks and FREE childcare are provided. Visit their Facebook Group for more details.
W.O.W – Women of the Word at Ardella Baptist Church in Lakeland is a Bible-based program for moms of preschoolers and school-age children designed to help young moms grow spiritually, encourage them in their role as a mother, and provide a safe community with other moms.
Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) is a free, interdenominational, in-depth Bible study that helps people know God and equips them to serve the Church effectively throughout the world. Meets at Medulla Baptist in Lakeland. Women of all ages and Children 0-5 are welcome. Visit their Facebook page for more details.
Heart for Single Moms Ministry at Harvest Church in Lakeland provides connection and support specifically for single moms. They have online zoom meetings as well as monthly in-person connection nights. Visit the Facebook page for more details.
Pray and Play at First United Methodist Church is a special time for non school-age children and their caregivers. Held on a weekday morning to connect and grow together as we navigate the joys, challenges and ever changing phases of life with little’s. Visit the church calendar for more information.
MOPS has a 40+ year history of bringing moms together, face to face. Whether you are a soon-to-be mom, first-time mom or seventh-time mom, you are welcome at MOPS. Whether you are an adoptive mom, young mom, seasoned mom, foster mom, stepmom or any other type of mom, you are welcome at MOPS. A MOPS meeting typically includes practical teaching through speakers, demonstrations and videos. You’ll get to have honest conversations with other moms who understand the joys and frustrations of motherhood. There is a minimal cost to join a MOPS Group ($100 or less for the year).
Local MOPS Groups include Access MOPS in Lakeland, Christ Community Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, MOPS Church of the Redeemer in Winter Haven. Check the MOPS website to find a MOPS group near you.
Moms who sweat together stay together, right??
Local workout facilities, exercise classes, and gyms with child care include the YMCA, Burn Bootcamp South Lakeland, Crossfit OCI, Just Move North Lakeland and Just Move South Lakeland. With the kids taken care of, you can strike up a conversation with another mom and not worry about being interrupted!
The most active and well known playgroup in Lakeland is PALS. Membership is limited and all members need to attend at least 1 events each month and host at least 1 event each month. Visit the Facebook Group to get more info.
Get Involved at School
Perfect for moms of kids ages 5 & up, school is one of the best places to make mom friends. I guarantee your PTO/PTA is always looking for volunteers! Whether you sign up to count box tops or plan the entire spring carnival, you’ll be hanging out with other moms that have kids somewhere in the same age range as yours. Plus as a reader pointed out, it is often a lot of the same parents volunteering and as you see each other on a regular basis friendships will form naturally. Call your school’s front office to inquire.
Service Groups + Business Development Groups
If you’re searching for a way to meet other women without the kids in tow AND make a difference in our community, a service organization might be just what you’re looking for.
The Junior League of Greater Lakeland is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The Junior League is exclusively educational and charitable and hosts multiple events during the year.
The Junior League of Greater Winter Haven is a group of local mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and business owners who volunteer time and resources through a variety of engaging opportunities to assist those most in need in our community — their fellow women and children.
The Junior Woman’s Club of Lakeland is a non-profit, volunteer organization serving the greater Lakeland area since 1928. “We provide our members with training and experience in volunteer community service as well as personal friendships.”
Are you a business owner or looking to advance your professional career while networking with other women? Check out ABWA – American Business Women’s Association, Lakeland Downtown Chapter. The members are involved in achieving their career goals through personal and professional development, as well as networking their businesses at monthly events.
Lakeland Moms Group
While it is often easier to meet friends in person, the Lakeland Moms Group on Facebook is another opportunity for you to connect with other moms and set up playdates. While we don’t currently plan any events (it is on our wish list!) if anyone is willing to organize and host a playdate, moms night out, or other activity for fellow moms we are happy to set up the Facebook event details within the group and get the details out to Lakeland Moms!
Kindermusik Music Connections Classes
As of August 2022, Kindermusik programs at Music Connections in Lakeland are only available by special appointment with Ms. Debbie. Kindermusik is a great opportunity to connect with other moms and caregivers for meaningful relationships. Click here to learn more about Kindermusik.
Once you find those mom friends, don’t miss our list of ideas for mom-only activities in our Mom’s Night (or Day) Out – Lakeland Style post, and our Lakeland Coffee Tour where you can find a new place to meet up for great coffee and even better conversation.
Now go on and put yourself out there. YOU are amazing and anyone you meet would be lucky to have you as their newest mom friend!
Motherhood + Parenting Guide
Check out our Motherhood + Parenting Guide for more articles on motherhood, social groups, 1-on-1 time with kids, and more.
About the Author: April Mucci
April is the owner of LakelandMom.com. She has lived in Lakeland since age 2 and is passionate about our community and connecting families with local resources. She is a mom to 2 boys and a mini goldendoodle, wife to Matt. You can often find April at the baseball field where she cheers on her baseball loving 13 year old, or home building Legos with her 11 year old. She loves reading, saltwater fishing, concerts and live performances, and working on Lakeland Mom!