Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

Mom-Dating Takes Moxie: Making New Friends After A Move

Making new friends

“Do you want to meet for coffee sometime?” By the time I got the words out, I was sweating. She hesitated before answering. I was certain she was trying to find a way to decline. But then, she smiled.

“Sure! Do you want to bring the kids or should we get a sitter?” Huge sigh of relief–yet another Mom-Date on the calendar, and my quest for making new friends continued.

I’m the new kid around here, a transplant from the West Coast where I’d lived pretty much my entire life. Yet, I was undaunted at this move to New England. I’m friendly! I’m outgoing! I thought that somehow I’d find my new community if I looked hard enough. A ready-made home team of players to be a part of our new life. They would invite me over, and their kids would love to play with mine. We’d just KNOW we were meant to be BFFs from day one…

Yet, after months of desperate loneliness, I realized that making new friends wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

Making new friends–building community–requires deliberate action. It takes a willingness to be uncomfortable and endure the awkward, to break through barriers and connect with someone else on a “me, too!” kind of level.

Community isn’t something to find, it’s something to create. Building a new tribe takes moxie.

It takes courage–not the bravery kind of courage that we were made to believe as kids, but the gutsy, whole-hearted, “this is who I really am” kind of courage.

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

But, oh, the awkwardness of it all! It’s dating all over again, only this time we’re admiring each other’s diaper bags and jogging strollers. If only we could skip right to the wine dinners and book clubs. I’ve had to develop mommy pick-up lines. I’ve had to get up the nerve to ask for phone numbers and be the one to send the first text. I’ve laid awake at 3 o’clock in the morning and wondered…did I talk too much? Did I over-share?

It’s tempting to just give up, avoiding the risk of rejection. But then, I remember what it was like when our family went through an unexpected crisis back in California just weeks before I gave birth to our first child. My husband tried to move furniture by himself and ended up damaging his spine so badly that his leg was dragging within a week. Emergency surgery and a long recovery meant he wouldn’t be able to help me with my own recovery from a scheduled c-section. I was terrified, but we survived, all because of the love and support of our community. 

Raising a family takes a village. Actually, life in general takes a village. 

Here in New Hampshire, our family needs a new tribe. I need a new tribe. So, I’m pushing through the embarrassment, throwing out mommy pick-up lines, and searching for the women who will, one day (and hopefully soon) be comfortable enough in my home to help themselves to a glass of water, who will bring their slippers when they come for dinner, and will write my name in the space on their kids’ school forms marked “Emergency Contact.” 

In this quest, I’m finding I’m not the only one who’s trying to make new friends. I’m not the only mom who feels alone. Motherhood can be an incredibly lonely place and sometimes I think our tendency is to content ourselves with the isolation and loneliness rather than risk rejection. But, the shortest distance between strangers and friends is a willingness to share our story. To let someone else see that we don’t have it all sorted out, or put together, or under control. I’m friendly, I’m outgoing, but I’m also insecure. I definitely don’t have it all together, and I have a trunk full of baggage in the back pockets of my skinny jeans. 

Despite these insecurities (or more importantly, because of them) I need to find a new home team of women to do life with. 

Guts on the line, I’m putting on my big-girl pants, butt full of baggage and all, and making new friends how and where I can. 

My new tribe is out there, and it’s up to me to find them. Because they need me just as much as I need them. 

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8 Responses to Mom-Dating Takes Moxie: Making New Friends After A Move

  1. Jessica April 18, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    Thank you for sharing! I’m moving to the Seacoast in July, and will be going through the same journey. We’re beyond thrilled about the move, but I’m also well aware that it’s going to take some time and work to find that sense of community. It’s always nice to hear that you’re not alone!

    • Adelle Gabrielson April 18, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      Welcome to the Seacoast! You’re going to love it here! You are definitely not alone – that’s one huge benefit to this area is that there are always new families moving, so there are lots of us newbies around!

  2. Diana April 18, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    Adelle I can so relate! Although I’ve lived in NH most of my life, I found my forever town just 5 years ago and moved from the Lakes Region of NH back to the Seacoast. It may as well have been from CA! Very lonely first year or two before finding my BFF Mama friends! You’re in the right place writing for SMB! Good luck finding your tribe!

    • Adelle Gabrielson April 18, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

      I love to hear stories like this! So glad you’ve found your tribe! xo

  3. Hannah April 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

    I have lived on the Seacoast for 6 years. I’ve made a close circle of friends since moving but I have found since having my daughter we haven’t made a ton of parent friends. It’s always awkward initiating a get together so it never ends up happening. I’d love more mommy friends!!

    • Adelle Gabrielson April 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

      Kids totally changes the social dynamic! I feel you, hope you make some good mommy connections soon!

    • Adelle Gabrielson April 21, 2017 at 10:05 am #

      Having kids definitely changes the friend dynamic. Hang in there, and don’t give up!

  4. justine richardson April 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    Adelle,

    It is true that making and maintaining friends are so much more difficult, especially for mom, because mom are so deep in the sand with kids stuff and they rarely think of friends for themselves. I usually make friends with the mother whom kids get along with mine. There are times when I got along well with someone, but the kids don’t really prefer each other so I have to forgo the friendship. I missed conversation with those moms though. It is not that I can’t call call and hang out with them. It is a the lack of time being a working mom. If my son plays with their kids and I get to hang out with my friends at the same time, it is “kill two birds with one stone” kind of a thing.
    Back in the day, I make friends by a going over to my friends and helping with cooking as we talk. Or they can come over and we would do something, like sort out our schedules, and talk, but nowaways we are so isolated and private, it is difficult to get someone to come over to the house and just play and work.
    We miss you here in California. You are such a light that shines as you walk in the room!