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Partum Me?! Dear Moms, I <3 You

By Laura |

My husband and I moved to Philadelphia almost six years ago, sort of on a whim.  At that point we were just boyfriend and girlfriend, in our late 20s, and thought we were ready for a change.  We were craving space, home ownership, a life where we didn’t live paycheck-to-paycheck.  The hubs had a job opportunity in Philly, so we were convinced.  What we didn’t think about was how we’d have a social life in our new city.  We were leaving groups of friends in NYC that were mostly people we’d known since college.  Making new ones hadn’t been a necessity for us since those first days on campus.  We soon learned that it was much easier back then.

Our NYC friends are an amazingly diverse group of talented and intelligent people – writers, teachers, lawyers, bankers, artists, chefs, record label execs. We spent a long while in Philadelphia feeling very isolated and lonely, wondering if we’d taken our friends for granted and made a huge mistake.

Luckily, after some stops and starts, we slowly acquired a small group of very awesome Philly friends.  Most of them live right in our neighborhood and have proven to be a support system as both friends and neighbors.  But most of them don’t have kids, and a few of them have made the conscious decision not to have them.  I completely respect anyone’s decision to have, or not to have, children.  But sometimes having one means I have to be much less flexible and spontaneous than I was before becoming a mom.  Plus, my daily highs and lows usually revolve around Charlie and the truth is, sometimes it’s hard to get as excited about that stuff if you don’t have a frame of reference with your own kid.

I’ve felt lucky to have Partum Me?! and some local listservs as they’ve given me a virtual support system of other moms.  Still something has been missing.  Interestingly, I found what I needed as the drama unfolded with Charlie’s daycare. As we all found common ground in our battle with an ineffective administrator, we also found a good group of moms, dads, and educators who have a pretty good time when we get together. Now, instead of wondering what our other friends are doing on a Friday or Saturday, we have invitations to brunches and family potlucks. And with that comes the feeling, after six long years, that we might have actually done something crazy in Philadelphia – we might have actually made a life here.

If you moved somewhere as an adult, how did you make new friends?  Have you found that your friend group has changed since having kids?

Laura

Laura

Laura is mommy to Charlie, who was born in April 2011. If you are in Philadelphia and spot a woman on the bus who is balancing an active toddler and the largest canvas tote that L.L. Bean makes, you've probably spotted her. Always up for a challenge, Laura enjoys her day job as a fundraiser, cooking healthy meals at home for her family, and her new workout hobby - running.

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  1. 1.
    Tacy

    I can totally relate. We left Chicago where we both had lots of college friends for a job opportunity in the Bay Area. We knew it would be a temporary move, possibly 3-5 years before we would want to move back to the Midwest to be closer to family. It was hard for us to make friends out there, especially where we lived since we were in the heart of Silicon Valley, Peninsula to be exact. We felt out of place. There weren’t many sports bars, except in Palo Alto (Stanford) and having football games on at 9am wasn’t really conducive for meeting fellow Buckeye fans. Three years came and went and we had a 18 month old and another on the way at this point and were being transferred to Atlanta. We definitely knew this was an even more temporary move 1-2 years, so I definitely didn’t give it my all to meet many people. As it happened though, I met some great ladies in our neighborhood just being out and about with the kids. We have recently moved to KC area to be closer to my husband’s family and this is a permanent move (at least in my mind…I despise moving). I’ve already met some really nice moms through my daughter’s preschool and hope as the weather gets better we’ll meet more neighbors. It’s not easy to make friends as an adult, but I hope to put myself out there more so than I did in any of our other “temporary” moves.

  2. 2.
    KateKate

    I can also totally relate to this. Every move I’m starting from scratch and have to find my people all over again. And, frankly, my friendships have had a hard time living up to the relationships I made in college and with friends at our first military assignment.

    I am definitely not the best at putting myself out there – and my last two moves were pretty difficult in terms of finding a core group of friends. The one main thing we have going for us as a military family is that everyone is in the same situation – moving frequently – and we’re often in similar stages in life – married with kids.

    I’m so glad you’ve bonded with some friends. After struggling through some time without good mom friends I realize how important and meaningful those relationships are.

  3. 3.

    came to Philly because of a job offer. Not knowing a single person in the city nor knowing much about the city itself. My closest *extended* family is a 3hrs plane ride away.

    Sure, there were bumps and bruises on my way to where I am now. Lots of people I called friends weren’t really so. People that I thought knew me, didn’t know a single thing about my family and didn’t care to know. People that I called friends, hurt me with insults and indifference; looked at me weirdly when I said I had hobbies. Then there were also people that would start dramas for the simple reason of being bored…

    One day I got tired of it all and decided to remove all that was toxic in my life. A few months later, and honestly ready to go back to the West Coast, a HUGE door opened…and I met my group of friends. They’re from all over, lots of different backgrounds and cultures…and they’re like my family now. I honestly can’t imagine not including them all in every single of our celebrations. Not all of them have children yet; but they’re quite understanding and have helped me as much as they can.

    Since then, I haven’t looked back. :-)

  4. 4.
    Kent

    Like a lot of things in life, I’ve found dumb luck and timing to have a lot to do with making friends as an adult.

    When I was 25, I moved from North Carolina to Baltimore for a job and I didn’t know a soul…. had only been to Baltimore for a few hours for a job interview. I’m naturally an introvert, but if you move somewhere that you don’t know a soul, you either get out there and do something or you become a recluse. It took a few months and plenty of weekends at home alone, but I started hanging out a lot with a coworker of mine and getting to know the city. Eventually met my wife and started spending a fair amount of time with her friends also.

    At 30, we moved to Philadelphia and more or less started over again (my wife had friends from college and family in the area; although the friends from college are disbursed in the distant suburbs). Managed to make some friends at work, and generally find Philadelphia to be pretty accessible. Started playing in a couple of different volleyball leagues. Had a couple of cookouts with about 50 people in our tiny yard — don’t think I could have managed that in any other place I’ve lived.

    Finding time to see friends seems to be the hardest part after having kids. Friends we would have every week or two before kids, we now see every couple of months. Friends we used to see every few months sort of drift off the radar. There’s so little idle time in the week these days. It’s definitely easier to hang out with friends who have kids. Meeting at the zoo at 9:30AM on Saturday is a great way to hang out with your friends who have kids — while not so appealing for your DINK and single friends.

  5. 5.

    I am glad that you are now happy with this huge change and love your live in Philly, you deserve it!

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