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You CAN Make Mom Friends in Seattle!

5 creative ideas for thawing the “Freeze”

Kristin Leong headshot

Published on: May 03, 2024

Two mom friends smile for a selfie while camping.
Mom friends Josie Young (left) and Debi Blizard of Phinney Ridge smile for a selfie while camping. Debi picked Josie up at Greenwood Park while their kids played and they've been buddies ever since. Credit: Courtesy of Debi Blizard

Why mom friends matter

For new moms or parents who are new to the introvert-leaning Pacific Northwest, thawing the infamous “Seattle Freeze” while changing diapers or chasing down toddlers at the park can seem like a daunting assignment.

Tackling the challenge of connecting with parents who are in a similar place in their child-raising journey is not just a nice way to expand your social circle, but it can be an essential tactic for fostering mental wellness during the time when young children depend on parents the most.

A national survey of over 200 parents released by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center last month found that nearly 70 percent of parents reported that they felt the demands of parenthood sometimes or frequently feel isolating and lonely. The survey also found that nearly 4 in 5 parents would value a way to connect with other parents outside of work and home.

Seattle moms on a mission

For Shoreline couple Hee Yon Sohng and Laurie Carlsson who have two daughters, ages five and two, mom friend-making is a project they have gone after with gusto. In addition to socializing with other families through their daughters’ daycare, Sohng says her older child’s soccer practices have proved to be an excellent place to build meaningful relationships. It was there she met Sarah and Elizabeth, fellow gay moms who also live in Shoreline. "I didn't realize that we needed or wanted lesbian mom friends until we met them," Sohng says.

Pregnant mom friends Hee Yon and Kara smile for a photo.
Hee Yon Sohng of Shoreline (left) with her parent pal Kara. The two moms were set-up by a mutual friend after they both fled the city for the suburbs to start families. Credit: Courtesy of Hee Yon Sohng

A chance meeting at a farmer's market also rekindled a friendship with another family from daycare, leading to an essential bond that helped both families combat the isolation of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sohng also shared that she was “friend set-up” with a fellow mom, Kara. A mutual friend connected them after they both moved to the suburbs from Seattle. At the time, both women were pregnant, and their kids were eventually born a few weeks apart.

Reflecting on the impact of their friendship, Sohng says, “There is something about going through these early moments of parenthood together that is connective and comforting. Because we were awake with our newborns, we had long text threads at 3 a.m. about nipple pain and swaddles and our c-section wounds and supportive underwear.”

The playground pick-up

Similar to Sohng’s mom friend set-up, Phinney Ridge mom Debi Blizard likes to say she “picked up” her friend Josie Young at the Greenwood Park playground.

“I was a first-time mom of a feisty 2-year-old when the pandemic hit,” Blizard remembers. “I chose to become a parent later in life, and as someone who prided myself on being an independent career woman, I was struggling with my identity as a mom and finding other mom pals who felt like my people.”

At the park that fateful day, Blizard noticed a stylish mom sitting off to the side as their sons played together in the sandpit.

Pregnant mom friends smile at each other and touch bellies.
Mom friends Josie Young (left) and Debi Blizard of Phinney Ridge compare notes. Credit: courtesy of Debi Blizard

“We started talking and quickly learned we had both moved to Seattle from other cities; my husband and I from New York, and her from London.” After chatting a bit, Blizard could easily picture the two of them hanging out.

“I asked Josie for her number and we’ve since become close friends — we’ve gone camping, gone to music festivals, even babysat each other's kids. When people ask how we met, I tell them I picked her up in a playground.”

5 strategies for making mom friends

If you’re looking to melt the Freeze and make a few new parent friends too, never fear. Here are five mom friend-making tips from Hee Yon Sohng and Debi Blizard and other Puget Sound parents I spoke with.

1. Take your kids to your neighborhood farmer’s market. “Oh, are those fava beans in your Elliott Bay Book Company tote bag? Where did you find that jar of salmonberry kombucha chutney?” The possibilities for organic ice breakers are endless, and there’s a good chance that fellow mom gripping a toddler leash and an armful of local dahlias also lives in the neighborhood

2. Go to Mom Prom and do something weird. Fremont mom Keri Zierler looks forward to dancing the night away for a good cause at Mom Prom at the Fremont Abbey every spring with her wife, yours truly. It was there during our first year at the event in 2015 that Zierler noticed Kirkland mom Angela Meekhof.

As she does most years for this annual school-dance-themed fundraiser, Meekhof was sporting a mullet wig, a vibrant ‘80s ensemble and a fanny pack that night. She was also, memorably, dancing around the Abbey with a ThighMaster.

My wife decided then and there that she must make this stylish Leg Day enthusiast her friend, and she has done just that. Today, Zierler and Meekhof count on each other for teen-wrangling strategies and fashion advice even outside of prom season.

This year's Mom Prom at the Fremont Abbey takes place on Saturday, May 18. Tickets are $40-$50 and are on sale now. 

A group of festive middle age ladies take a curious selfie at Mom Prom.
2017 Mom Prom partiers in their early days of becoming mom buddies. From left to right: Yours truly, Keri Zierler, Katie Furtwangler (reading a “Sweet Valley High” book) and Angela Meekhof on the harmonica — but not with a ThighMaster — at this moment. Credit: Keri Zierler

3. Hang out at your child’s extracurricular activities. Is your daughter doing a TikTok dance at second base on the T-ball field? Is your son wearing a Batman costume at basketball practice? These are all great conversation starters with the parent sneaking bites of their kid’s Clif Bar next to you on the bleachers.

4. See a cool mom, approach a cool mom. It worked for Phinney Ridge mom Debi Blizard who spotted her now-pal Josie Young at Greenwood Park. Even though Blizard may have been supported by her New York roots when approaching Josie, I’m confident that our Pacific Northwest moms can pull this playgroup pickup off too.

5. Ask your friends to set you up. You did it when you were single and sick of swiping left on Tinder, why not do it as a parent? Let your friends know that you’re in the market for fellow parent buddies and they just might know someone who also secretly binge watches Love is Blind after their kids’ bedtime.

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