New kid in town

My DH started a new job recently. For 35 years he has worked outdoors in ever changing locations. Scaffolding and crewing hot air balloons. But at this new job he works indoors and in one spot and doing a job he has no experience of. The few days before he was due to start he was as nervous as a kitten.

It took me back to my multiple first days at school. I went to a couple of primary schools in the very early years through house moves. I can remember always feeling a little bit like I was not part of the established gang, not quite fitting in. ( I think now that that was less about being new and more because frankly I'm a bit odd and never will be one of the "cool" kids)

Not cool
Then when it came time to move to secondary my parents chose to send me not to the one closest to my primary school but one a few miles away. Only one other child from my class was going there with me and I didn't really count her among my small group of friends.

The start of the September term came and on the first day mum dropped me off at the gates. It was very quiet. I wandered in through the doors. Was I early? No one was there to greet and organise the new 2nd years ( as we were called then). I was brave and crept around the corridors wondering where everyone else was. And found a teacher who explained that everyone always started an hour later than normal on the first day of the autumn term. This message had gone out to the local "feeder" schools but not to mine. We found my fellow primary classmate lurking nervously in the playground and that kind teacher made sure that when everyone else arrived we were settled properly.

There followed a succession of new starts. It's awful isn't it, having to find out where the toilets are, when its coffee time, who are the nut jobs among the staff or clients, what number to dial to get an outside line, all the while trying desperately to remember a growing list of new names and match them to faces.

And then when I had the children it was a whole other new list of firsts. Walking through the door of the toddler group for the first time- and with DS#1 permanently asleep for the first three (and last four) years of his life I couldn't even pretend to play with him and was left twiddling my thumbs grinning nervously and giving off desperate mad woman vibes.

Playgrounds are the same- full of chatting parents and carers in huddled cliques. Like cocktail parties where you hover atthe edge of a group and laugh in the right places in the hope of being included. Well, worse than cocktail parties 'cause you don't have the benefit of alcohol to steel the nerves!

It strikes me as I type this that people who know me in the "real world" might be baffled by this description of me as shy, nervous, without confidence. The words brash, loud and domineering might spring to mind more readily. But I attribute this outward sign of security and confidence to all those new starts. All those times I had to walk through a new door, start again in a new classroom or office, move to a new house and meet new flat mates and neighbours. It all builds up that armour.

Grinning like a loon
with a new friend
at Britmums Live
My motto is that of the well known drinks company. "what's the worst that could happen?" And yes, along the way I've made faux pas and been mortified. But the world turns and I'm still here and have learnt from my experiences to try and be welcoming and friendly to new faces. Even just a smile can help that new person feel a little bit more relaxed. Britmums Live was a perfect example of that - inside I was wobbling like a jelly - outside grinning like a loon. But it seemed loads of other people felt the same, and we all smiled at each other and made friends.

And as for DH on his first day? He found the toilets, and the kitchen area, didn't break anything or lose any limbs and came home with a spring in his step and a smile on his face looking forward to tomorrow.

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  1. I like this alot, I know just how he feels having been through it the other week when i started in the new office.

  2. Spot on! It's amazing that you never lose that new kid feeling. When we moved house a couple of years ago and the children started at a new school I'm not sure who was more nervous on the playground that first day - them or me! But it's true that it's confidence building and even if you're trembling on the inside a big smile goes a long way. Luckily I found an incredibly friendly and welcoming bunch of parents on that playground! Glad your dh's first day went well x

  3. I hate the new kid feeling, I've hated it since I was a kid and still do and I think I put defences up which make me anti social. That said, I work at a different venue for a different client most weeks, but as I know my job and they don't I think I can handle that. When I started college earlier this year I was almost physically sick for days before and now that I'm qualified I will be working relief, so that's a different school most days with a new teacher, new classroom and new kids every time I go to work...... I would absolutely love to make my living from working from my own little study at home.

  4. I have written something similar for magic moments! Isn't it awful how stressed you can get, and yes am feeling it all again now with sgtarting going to baby groups. I think as I am getting older, I am getting better at managing the situation, but it doesn't stop me from feeling anxious about it! Britmums was great, and after the initial nerves I really enjoyed myself!

  5. Afra what a really lovely post, i do remember those feelings and in fact i dread the 'new' so much i do tend to avoid if possible now!

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments

    P.s I am so pleased we met you in the coffee shop before BML xx

  6. What a wonderful post Afra. I try not to be anxious now but it is difficult when you're put in new situations. I tend to end up being really chatty but I'm dying inside! So lovely to meet you at BritMums Live :)

  7. Well done to him, must have been a shock to the system! Know what you mean about feeling nervous and an outsider, yet appearing to be confident - that's me too!

  8. And no-one would ever have known that inside you were wobbling like a jelly! What a lovely post Afra :) So glad your husband's first day was a success - even harder as you get older I think!

  9. Oh this post talks such sense! Put a smile on your face and you're the only one who knows you are a nervous wreck... so glad to read OH's first day went well!


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