1. The gym.
Everyone else in all your classes will be a.) a 19-year-old college student visiting in between classes, b.) dudes, or c.) 60-something retired ladies whose kids are long grown. Don't get me wrong, the older ladies are way cooler than you and know everything there is to know about raising kids, but they're not going to let you hang with them until you figure out your push-up game like they have.
2. The pediatrician's office.
Picking up mom friends in your doctor's waiting room makes you the mom version of an ambulance chaser. Plus, does that kid have chickenpox? Ack -- steer clear.
3. The bar.
There are undoubtedly lots of cool moms at your favorite local bar or pub. The first problem is that identifying them is difficult out in the wild like this, and the second problem is that you're asleep by 9:30 PM, weeknight or weekend alike.
4. The park.
You can try to strike up a conversation with a friendly-seeming mom with kids around your child's age if you want. But you're taking a gamble that she's not going to call CPS about how neglectful you're being by chatting instead of stopping your kid from eating bugs or putting grass in his diaper.
5. Public playgroups.
In a large gathering, there is always going to be a mom who is cooler than you. Possibly several moms. In my case, probably all the moms. You can't compete for mom friends when you're being outshone by That Cool Mom. Also, sometimes these turn out to be a cover for people to sell you Yoonique or doTerra.
Let's face it: there is no possible way to write a "Hi, your family looks cute and nice, let's hang out!" message without sounding like you want to turn these people into a set of matching lampshades for your home.
7. The PTA.
There is no time for meeting people and chatting at the PTO. Trying to interview potential mom-friend candidates when you're supposed to be stuffing envelopes or drafting the spring newsletter is a one-way ticket to getting kicked out of the organization over your lack of commitment.
8. The grocery store.
I have seen this actually recommended as a place to meet moms, and I cannot understand why. If a woman is grocery shopping with her children, do not get in her way to ask how she feels about yoga pants or merlot -- this woman is on a mission. If she's alone but you detect her mom aura based on the giant box of diapers or pile of baby food in her cart, do not engage. She has 30 minutes to herself while she peruses the dairy aisle and she does not want to spend it on you.
9. The mall.
I'm all about exposing kids to germs, but the crusty, sticky Play Place options at the mall still leave me cold.
10. Literally anywhere.
Things will always be too busy, too awkward, or too competitive. Instead, I recommend meeting new mom friends the good old-fashioned way: by putting a snare trap on the sidewalk and lying in wait until a nice-looking lady with a stroller comes by.
(Feature image: monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty)