Let’s roll out the ol’ welcome wagon to Marla Reichard, a new WMAG guest blogger. She’s a Working Mom Against Guilt with an adorable son and hubby. The Reichards moved recently from Cincinnati to Boston, and she shares some of her experience here. The Nati sure misses you, Marla! — Susan

By Marla Reichard

My husband and I have lived in 4 different cities and 3 different states in the last 12 years. By some people’s standards, that’s not a lot of moving, but to others, we’re nomads. We have the whole moving thing down to a science. Our last move, though, was quite different from our other ones. Recently, we moved from Cincinnati to Boston and besides the sticker shock over the cost of living increase, the major difference from our previous moves is that now there are three of us instead of two. We have a 17-month-old son and moving with him this time has made the whole process different.

By far, the biggest challenge with this move has been making new friends. Our old broad criteria for friends (are they nice? do they like beer?) has been replaced with some fairly specific requirements: they must live somewhat close to us and have at least one kid.

Now, this may seem a little ridiculous. I mean, some of our friends in Cincinnati (and various other places we’ve lived) didn’t live close by and don’t have kids. But the difference is, those people knew us BEFORE our little guy showed up. The friendship was already established, so it can survive our now crazy schedule and dealing with a toddler.

It’s entirely different when your kid is throwing raviolis across a restaurant table at someone you’ve known for years versus one of your new coworkers who made the mistake of telling you to bring the whole family for beers after work.

I joined a local “mommies” group and I’ve met a few nice women through that. It’s tough, though, because a lot of the women in the group are stay at home moms, so their activities tend to be scheduled during the day, when I’m at work.

I’ve tried talking to some of the other mothers at daycare since they’re working moms, too, but with everyone’s pickup and drop-off schedules varying, I sometimes won’t see someone I’ve met for several weeks, and even then we’re often passing one another on the way in/out.

Some well-intentioned, out-of-town friends have tried to introduce me via email to people they know in Boston, but they usually don’t meet the location and/or kid criteria. I’m sure some of them are nice people, but is some single guy living in one of the “hip” areas in Boston really going to want to haul his cookies out to the suburbs to hang out with me, my husband and the kid? Um, no.

From past moves, I know it usually takes us about a year to establish some friends and have a new place feel like home. Who knows if the addition of our son will make that process go faster, or cause it to take even longer? Having a toddler is great for starting conversations with total strangers, especially if they have kids, too. Of course, having a toddler is terrible for carrying on conversations because within seconds they’re off and running with you chasing right behind.

No matter what, I’m sure that in a year we’ll feel more settled. In the meantime, I’ll continue to go to as many mommy group activities as I can and keep stalking the other moms at daycare.

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