The new girl. You remember her. She came in on the first day of school and had everyone’s attention. The mystery of seeing someone new in a very normal crowd caused quite a ruckus. Everyone wanted to know who she was, where she had come from, and how they could be friends with her.
I lived in the same town my entire childhood and into my adult years, so I never experienced being the new girl during those junior high and high school days. I have, however, experienced being the new girl during these grown-up mom years and for some reason, it doesn’t have the same showstopping value.
I’ve spent the last two years as the new girl, once in another city and now here in the OKC metro area. It’s an odd phenomenon to be a grown adult with responsibilities and experience under your belt, yet revert back to childlike fears as you explore a new city, try to meet new friends, and become comfortable in a new “normal.” It’s awkward, it’s intimidating, and it’s not at all glamorous. It can be lonely and isolating at times, reminding you that no one in this city knows anything about you.
As I’ve met other moms over the last year, I have been shocked to find out that a lot of you are new and many of you are in the exact same position that I am. A lot of you have just moved to the area in the last few years. A lot of you desire to meet other moms and make new friends. A lot of you are still trying to figure out this whole “new girl” thing. Even you moms who have lived in the metro area your entire life—you’re still trying to figure out how to be “new” to the season of motherhood. I’ve been encouraged that I am not alone. As you walk through this season of figuring out how to be the new girl, here are a few things that I would encourage you to do:
Take a Deep Breath
Being new to an area is hard enough, but most of us aren’t just worried about adjusting. We are also worried about our husbands, our kids, our jobs, our homes, going to the grocery store, making dinner, meeting that deadline, and finishing that to-do-list. There’s no reason to willingly allow ourselves to be frazzled. So, take a deep breath, relax, and remember: put one foot in front of the other.
There’s no better time to be who you really are than when you move to a new place. A new city is a new canvas. There is no pressure to be someone you aren’t or do things you don’t like to do. Take the opportunity to reflect on your likes, dislikes, and personality. Embrace those characteristics and allow yourself to enjoy being who you are.
Try New Things
Along with a blank canvas, you have a large city full of opportunities right in front of you. Want to try biking? There are several awesome trails in the city. Want to try a dance class? I’ve been invited to several adult tap classes. Want to start your own business? The entrepreneurial opportunities are endless. Want to try a new style of food? Don’t even get me started on the plethora of food options in this city. Newness can be intimidating, but it can also be fun and refreshing.
When we were brand new to the area, the first thing I did was start searching for mom’s groups on Facebook. I couldn’t believe it when I found close to 20 groups in the Metro area alone! There are groups for working moms, stay-at-home moms, homeschool moms, moms by cities, moms who want to have playdates, moms who like the same kid’s clothing brands, and so many more! There are groups of people who share your interests, you just have to look for them!
Go to the Playdate
I know some of you are rolling your eyes, shaking your head in disagreement, or getting nauseous at the thought of walking into a room of women you do not know to spend time playing with the kids that you need a break from in hopes that those kids will help you make new friends instead of making you look bad or cause other moms to judge you for your parenting styles. I’ve been there. I know it’s terrifying. I know it’s awkward. BUT, I also know it’s worth it. Sometimes those play dates or group meetings are successful and you make a friend. Other times you might leave embarrassed by something your child did. Whatever the outcome, you will walk out a little more confident, a little more experienced, and a little more anxious for the next group gathering.
How have you thrived as a “new girl” in your community?