Philadelphia is a fairly transient city. Since so many people move here to go to school or complete their medical residency (you move to Philly for meds and eds, as they say), there are a lot of people who are in and out of this place in 2-5 years.
N and I are coming up on four years in this city. We have no intention of going anywhere if we can help it.
When we had Ben I was so excited that I’d finally have a reason to make new friends. It’s hard making friends as an adult, especially when you live someplace new and don’t have friends from high school or college around. I always wanted more friends in the city but struggled to even know how to meet people.
Suddenly when I had Ben, I’d go to a Mom group or stroller strides and women would openly say “I’m here to make Mom friends” and I was like “Me too!” It was so much easier than I’d ever anticipated. So I made Mom friends. I even had 3 different groups (with some overlap).
But slowly, many of the women started going back to work. A few moved away. I work part-time from home so truthfully, I need daytime friends. Friends who want to go to Stroller Strides in the morning or meet up between our kids’ naps for a little playdate and chat time. I wouldn’t consider myself an extrovert but I do need adult interaction during the day or I start to go a little stir-crazy by about Tuesday afternoon.
Gradually my groups dwindled. I realized that some of the friendships I thought I was building were really going to be challenging to maintain, now that we couldn’t be “daytime” friends anymore. If my weekends are spent with N and Ben and our existing friends, there simply isn’t a ton of time to pack in maintaining all the new friendships.
I think other Moms feel the same way so some of those friendships gradually fizzled. It’s fair and not unexpected and I’m grateful that I had those friends to relate to during that stage of our lives together. I’m sure that it’s incredibly challenging to maintain friendships in a home with two parents who work full-time.
But what I realized is this (and it’s probably rude): I don’t really want to be friends with anyone new who is going to either go back to work or leave the city. It’s just not what I’m looking for.
I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that I’m definitely the type who prefers to have a few very close friends, rather than a big group of acquaintances. This whole experience has kind of emphasized that for me.
Now when there is someone new at Stroller Strides who says they work part-time or are a SAHM, I’m like “let’s exchange numbers and grab coffee, power walk, or go to the zoo together”. I don’t want it to sound like I ignore the other Moms or would exclude them. I certainly enjoy spending time with other women no matter their life circumstances. But I’m trying to be more careful about where I put extra effort in, friendship wise.
Cause is it weird to want to have legit “family friends” where our kids still know each other as adults? I don’t think so. I just want to build my community and keep our roots growing here in this city we love so much. I want to invest my time in people who invest in me too. Who I enjoy being around and whose lifestyles most match my own. That’s not too crazy, right?