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Being the New Kid in Town

Larchmont, Mamaroneck, moms and lifestyle.

 

I moved here one and a half years ago from the city. Actually it's closing in on two years, but I can't bring myself to admit that we are not "the new family anymore." This is partially based on the fact that then I would have to start to rationalize why I don't have a whole gaggle of friends around at all times.

Leaving behind the life we had in the city and moving to the suburbs felt like staring my adult self in the face and, well, it sort of sucked. Being the new kid in town in your 30s/40s is for sure a humbling experience. I am actually a true introvert at heart and would prefer to spend most of my time at home on my couch watching Downton Abbey reruns with a nice glass of wine (sooo good)!

The ironic thing is that you spend so much time at school doing drop-off, pick-up, weekend playground trips, etc...all the things that you struggled with as an adolescent in these places come flooding back.

Like, "Wow those moms seem nice, I wish they would invite me into their group," or, "Oh God did I just SAY that out loud, what an idiot they must think I am," or "That was so funny/awesome/horribly sad; sure wish I had someone living here to share it with."

Not to mention, the added guilt of having no one for my kids to play with if I didn't hustle up and make some friends. They were relying on me to make the transition seamless for them. Uh oh.

Did I want to form friendships because my kids liked their kids or did I want friends that I connected with on my own deeper level? Not the "Hi, how ya' doing...isn't this weather crazy...what did you bring in for snack today," variety, but the "I bought a really expensive bag and how do I hide the AmEx bill from my husband," or the one that truly has your back when your kids swallows too much water and pukes in the pool forcing everyone at the club out of said pool-yeah, that's the kind of deep level I mean.

Why is it so hard to recreate these relationships as we get older? Perhaps we are older, wiser, busier, more selective...or perhaps we just get lazy and resist change. Change is a real B**** and she has more than nine lives.

In my first few months here, I would often hear myself saying, "Really, do I really have to start all over and make new friends? Didn't I do that in elementary/high school/college/first job, etc..?"

But the thing about change is it's equal opportunity too. I had plenty of skeletons in my closets in the past that I was happy to leave behind. But maybe it's not always change for change's sake but change for growth's sake? Maybe it is like that sappy Girl Scout song and you really do make new friends and keep the old-over and over and over again. It gets harder to make new friends as you come into who you are and you are more selective from the experiences that you bring with you.

Boy, we women are complicated. As I round a year and a half (there I go again) I have started to make some quality friends who have my back; my kids like their kids; and I also like them on a deeper level. I am still figuring it all out as I go along, but if I call you for a play date with my kids, be gentle.

I am, after all, an introvert trying to expand my gaggle in case my kid pukes in the pool...

Janel Alexander February 20, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Thanks Susan-where can readers find more info on this? On the websites or in the Library itself? Do you mean "newcomers groups"-always heard about those and thought the name should be changed to "people who are normal and just happened to have moved here recently where they serve alcohol to settle the awkwardness" groups :) Less scary....
Janel Alexander February 20, 2013 at 07:23 PM
Thanks for your comment Ali-I am sure there are many people who share your sentiments. It's an interesting point and brings it all back to the adolescant "who has the coolest shoes, biggest hair (dating myself here) and coolest boyfriend" just in our mid lives version with the cars and the house-do you think it ever goes away-or it just gets easier once you become more at peace with who you are. Then like minded friends come to you...at any rate-I am sorry to hear you are leaving, but hope you have a good experience with your new home. As I said-change has more than 9 lives but it brings all the old experiences to build upon. Good luck!!
Sari Sternschein February 20, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I highly recommend The Larchmont Newcomers' Club (www.larchmontnewcomersclub.com). Yes, the name can be misleading. It is open to residents of Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle, new or not. Membership is reasonably priced and they have terrific events at local establishments. I have been a member for over 2 years! I have met some terrific people and made genuine friends which can be difficult at this stage in our lives which you stated previously. You can even attend the first event without becoming a member to see if you enjoy it.
Megan February 20, 2013 at 10:46 PM
I grew up here yet still often feel like the "new kid". Your article really resonated with me. I don't know why it is so, but it IS so much harder to make "mom friends". It seems like dating sometimes except instead of "I wonder if he's single" it's "I wonder if she's new and looking for friends too" :)
WWK February 21, 2013 at 05:13 PM
I've lived here for nearly 21 years. . When we first moved in, many neighbors introduced themselves by asking us to dinner or bringing over homemade cakes and cookies. I thought we'd stepped into an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show." While some of that is gone, along with the wonderful French bakery and the fantastic Larchmont Store (think Woolworth's without the lunch counter), not everyone is only into the size of their house and their kids' original research projects. When our neighbors lost half their house during Hurricane Sandy, most of the people on my block offered some kind of help and support. And I don't think that's peculiar to my block. My advice is even if you're not typically a joiner- and believe me, I'm not- look at the library offerings, take a class through Continuing Ed, volunteer at the school, or The Cap Center in Mamaroneck, and pursue whatever your interests were before you came here.

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