After 6 years living in the city of Philadelphia, we made the jump to the ‘burbs. This winter we bought a house and made the move a few weeks later! It was a funny goodbye to the city because we moved about 25 minutes away….not that far, but still kind of far! Plus, while my husband still goes into the city for work on the weekdays, with two toddlers in tow I know my city visits will be limited – at least for the time being.
But that’s okay! Because the good news is: we LOVE our new house, new town, new area, new everything. I’ve adjusted to driving in the car on a daily basis – although our new house is walkable to many things including a little downtown area (which is actually within the city of Philadelphia’s limits….I told you, we’re not THAT far away). I’ve mastered going to the grocery store with twin toddlers (my trick is to wear one and put one in the cart!). I’ve found great running routes, and I’ve started building up some solid leg muscles – there are TONS of hills here which makes stroller running quite the feat. And I’ve even made some new mom friends!
Being the “new mom in town” was definitely an adjustment, but theres a few things that’s helped me transition smoothly. If you’re also a new mom in town, or even a new mom in your old town – here’s a few things to keep in mind to help adjust, meet some new folks, and start making a support network:
Put in the Effort. In the city, if I passed another mom with a stroller on the sidewalk, there was a very good chance I knew them. Every playground outing turned into a playdate because I almost always knew at least 3 other moms there. It wasn’t until we left that I realized just how much of a mom-network I had made in the city. That being said, it wasn’t a surprise that in our first week out in the suburbs, I suddenly felt lonely. Which made me realize – I could do one of two things: I could wallow in my loneliness, mourn my old life in the city and wait for people to bang down my door (which would never happen) OR I could embrace my new-ness, put in the effort to get out and meet some new friends. Once I adopted my ‘I’m new and that’s okay’ mindset, I found myself motivated to find activities to do with L&H, excited to get out and make the most of our new life.
Ask for Help. As a mom, especially a mom of twins, I consider myself to be very independent and self sufficient. Since it’s L&H and me most days 2 vs. 1, I’m not used to relying on others — I often just figure things out on my own. Plus, I had gotten very used to our life in the city. I knew which blocks had the smoothest sidewalks for the best stroller routes, I had scouted out the most toddler friendly playgrounds, I even knew the best hours to go to the grocery store so I wouldn’t have to fight the crowds with a stroller. I considered myself to be a pro – and rarely needed help! But being in a new place has really changed that. I’ve had to get used to asking questions and asking for help. One day, I was out exploring a new part of town with L&H and I came across a store I wanted to go into. But I was scared to go in because it had steps. So I stood outside for a minute trying to figure out how to haul the stroller in by myself. I was about to leave…when it dawned on me — DONT BE STUBBORN, just ask someone for help! Maybe it’s a store employee, another customer, or a fellow human on the sidewalk. Just ask! What do we always teach our kids? Ask for things nicely. Plus, who is going to turn down helping a frazzled looking mom of twins who asked nicely for help?? So that’s what I did. And I’m glad I did. My credit card though, was not as, I ended up buying quite a few things. Oops! But really it was all in the sake of learning my way in a new town, right?!
Get organized and get OUT! It’s been easy to stay at our home lately because we have space and a yard! So most days I feel like, ‘why leave when we’ve got all this?’ But again, I know no one is going to wander into my yard to meet me….so instead I started a Pinterest page of all the local activities to do in the area and made a goal to do one new thing per week. And at each activity I’ve met a new mom, I chatted with different caregivers, and most importantly L&H had fun getting out of the house and exploring a new place. On a recent outing we went to a park a short drive from our house to feed the ducks. While we were there we ended up meeting a family with two young boys – one around L&H’s age. I had a wonderful time chatting with the mom. Then we ran into a group of other moms I’d previously met! It was the first time I felt like I was establishing a network here – and it felt really good. It was a great outing, and made me really glad I had gotten out the door that day. Sure it takes work and it takes organization to get out the door with a little one(s), but it pays off!
Look for highchairs. My husband and I went to a restaurant the other night with L&H, and as we walked in we both had a moment of panic wondering if in fact it was a family friendly place. I did a quick scan and saw a stack of high chairs so I knew we were safe. But what I also learned is that if there are high chairs, parents will come. At that very same restaurant (L&H lined up in their high chairs), we ended up chatting with another set of parents with young kids requiring high chairs. Turns out they live in the same town as us, and gave us a full run down of fun activities the town hosts all throughout the summer. It was a great conversation, and hopefully the start to a new friendship! It taught me to seek out family friendly restaurants (i.e.: the ones with high chairs) – you never know who you might meet at the table next to you!
Get connected. I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but social media has been a great connector for me with other moms. As soon as we knew we were moving I logged onto Facebook to look for some local groups – mom focused as well as general. They’ve been a great source of information, provided a sounding board for questions (‘Where’s the best place to get a toddler haircut nearby?’ and ‘What are your favorite local rainy day activities?’ are two questions I’ve posted recently). I’ve also connected with three babysitters! The online world can really help a new world feel a lot smaller.
Be brave. It takes courage to be new – no matter if you’re new to motherhood, or you’re new to an area. Don’t expect things to change overnight. Change takes time! And it takes courage. Take small steps. Make reasonable goals. Don’t get discouraged if things are hard — outings can go south quickly with toddlers, no matter how much you organize and plan ahead of times. Sometimes you just have to pack it in and vow to try again tomorrow or next week. Be kind with yourself and be brave! Sure you’re new now, but that won’t be forever. You’ll learn the way, you’ll find your place, you’ll become a pro (again) soon.