Moving to Tokyo? Planning to have a family or you already have one? You have seriously come to the right place! Tokyo is surprisingly fantastic for kids and equally as fantastic for connecting with new mom friends, a necessity for all moms! Here are my top seven tips for making new mom friends in Tokyo:
Tip #1: Join Facebook if you haven’t already!
Facebook is so so useful for looking up events and connecting with other moms. Two Facebook groups you should absolutely join are Tokyo Pregnancy Group (if you are pregnant) and Tokyo Mothers Group (for all moms). Both of these groups have specific joining instructions so please make sure to follow those before joining. Both of these groups are open forums where you can get any questions you have answered. You can also search the group for past questions and get information that way.
Some common topics that come up are:
- Hospitals and birth clinics in Tokyo
- Recommendations for pediatricians and other doctors
- Prenatal and postnatal fitness classes
- Parenting tips
- Recommendations for baby and pregnancy related products
- Neighborhood specific questions
Tip #2: Attend TPG meetings if you are pregnant or TMG meetups if you have children already
There are two TPG meetings every month so it’s a good opportunity to meet other women who are at similar stages of pregnancy as you. They happen on Thursdays so if you have weekdays free it’s a great way to spend them! Also, when I was pregnant I joined a group for pregnant women due in Fall 2017. Our pregnant lunch dates turned into baby play dates once the little ones were born and it was a great way to make friends! These groups are becoming a bit of a tradition for TPG and tend to come up for every season. If you can’t attend any meetings, post on the group forum and see what other groups are already created (La Leche League Tokyo Central for example) that you can join! You can also ask about mom and baby groups in your area, especially if you already have children. TMG hosts seasonal meetups as well which is a great place to meet other moms in person.
Tip #3: If you don’t see any groups that apply to you, make them!
Something I’ve noticed after being in this community is that if you create an event and advertise it in TPG or TMG, people will come! There are so many moms and moms to be who would love to join meetups, but there aren’t any happening or they aren’t sure where to find out about them. There’s no reason for any mom to not have an event to go to on any given week! By simply creating a group you give an opportunity for more people to get out of the house and come together. You do not necessarily need to be responsible for the group, but you will for sure have many people thanking you for creating it! 🙂
Tip #4: “Host” playdates and meetups as much as possible!
Like I said above, many people like to attend events but not necessarily host them. However, playdates and meetups are the easiest way to make closer friends within the TPG/TMG community. Hosting is surprisingly easy, here’s the process I use to make events:
- Choose a location that is good for either pregnant women or moms with babies of a similar age to mine. Parks, play places, restaurants, and even someone’s house are all good locations!
- Choose a date and time that works for you and maybe another few people who you can personally invite. But if you don’t know anyone yet that’s okay too!
- Create a facebook event with this information and make it public (unless you are only inviting specific people of course). If the event is private you will not be able to share it with people you are not Facebook friends with.
- Share the event in any groups you are a part of (such as a Spring 2018 Babies group!) as well as TPG and TMG.
- Watch as tons of ladies RSVP!
Once you host one meetup, make sure to connect with the moms you met on social media so you can invite them to future events. I’ve hosted several events and the most work I had to do was make the Facebook event! After that it was easy! Don’t be afraid that no one will show up because I assure you that will not be the case!
Tip #5: Just show up!
There are so many ways to get involved in the community here if you just show up! It’s easy to get busy with preparing for baby, working, or just doing your own thing when you’re still pregnant. And once you have the baby it’s easy to stay at home because you aren’t comfortable taking the stroller on the train or you are exhausted from getting zero sleep the night before. Trust me I’ve been there! But I can honestly say that every single time I went out to meet other mommies, either pregnant or once we had our babies, I felt 200% better than when I left the house! It truly does take a village to raise a child, both directly and by supporting the mother and her family. It’s essential to support one another on this journey and luckily, Tokyo is a fantastic place for it!
Some more ideas on ways to get involved are:
- Take prenatal or postnatal pilates classes with Helen Zheng at www.mybodymypilates.com
- Prenatal and Mom and Baby Yoga
- Breathing for Birth classes with Stephanie Kawai
- Volunteer to be a TPG Coordinator (send emails, help with the newsletter, etc)
- Attend Hike It Baby Tokyo meet ups
Tip #6: If you find other like-minded moms, make a Facebook group chat with them!
Having a group of women you can message at 3am when your newborn won’t sleep or their poop is a weird color is so helpful in the first few months and beyond. Having a consistent support system is so important so if you find people you get along with, connect with them more often. These are people you can regularly meet with and get to know. As you meet more people this circle can widen. Looking to start your own circle? Message someone and check in on them. You never know what someone has gone through that day, whether pregnant or with their baby or child. That little amount of effort is usually enough to spark a friendship!
Tip #7: If you’re going anywhere, extend the invite!
Pretty much any time I am going somewhere such as a coffee shop, play place, park, or festival, I always extend the invitation to the moms I know. You never know who has spent all week in their house with a baby and is just aching for someone to invite them out. If you extend the invitation, someone will for sure come!
I hope some of these tips work for you! Good luck and remember to just show up and the rest will follow 🙂