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First-Time Mom Among Friends

Q. I'm the first of my friends to have a baby. I feel like an outsider. I'm not ready to write them off, but how do I meet mom pals?

First, take heart. Even if you had mom friends, you would sometimes feel out of the loop. It's just the nature of motherhood: You have a long list of new time-devouring responsibilities, and you can't control the way your days will shake out. But the benefit of friends with kids, as you seem to have guessed, is that they know what you're going through and that they're too busy themselves to notice that you haven't called.

As for your childless pals, who says you ever have to write them off? Just like when you graduated high school, some buddies drift away, but you stay in touch with a few. So don't waste time mourning friends that aren't gone yet. Do your best to find common ground  -- you still like going to the movies or out to dinner, right? Figuring out babysitting just makes it a little harder.

Once you manage to get out the door, the real test is going to be whether you have anything to say to your friends. It's tough to talk about that plot twist on Grey's Anatomy if all you ever watch are Baby Einstein DVDs. And if you mention your baby a million times, your pals may look at you like you're from another planet (and a boring one at that). Someday, most of them will have babies of their own, and you'll be a voice of experience. Until then, do what you can to stay close.

You do need at least one mom friend, so take the initiative. Join a Mommy & Me class or start a conversation with another mom at the grocery store, pediatrician's office, or park. To break the ice, ask her where she got that gorgeous stroller, diaper bag, or sweater. If you don't feel comfortable doing this (though I suggest you get over it), then log on and chat. There are a gazillion moms out there with laptops dying to vent. Try or