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Mr. Rogers Does Not Live Here

By Beth Anne Ballance |

When my husband and I purchased our first home five years ago, we dreamed of the pitter-patter of little feet across the floor, of Christmas morning by the fire and a swing set in the backyard.  We pictured neighborhood parades and playdates and cookouts with the neighbors, of birthday parties and trick-or-treating.

We got half of our dream, thanks to a small boy with a penchant for sliding.

Sadly, not so much on the neighbors.  I was shocked when we first moved in that nobody came to ‘welcome” us to the neighborhood.  Maybe it’s the old fashioned Southern upbringing in me, but I thought it was custom to bring the new neighbors a pie and introduction within the first week of spying a moving truck.  Instead, after four months, I finally walked across the street and introduced myself.

“Oh, you don’t have children?” they asked.  I shrugged and said not yet, but we were going to build a family in our new little house.  Over the next year, we watched those neighbors host events with children in mind and nary an invitation arrived in our mailbox.  (Swear to it, one day we drove by and they said that our invitation must have been lost.  Lost? In the 50 feet from door to door?  Okay, then.)

So we made nice with neighbors to the left of us — they’re a couple with no children who work odd hours, but we exchange treats at the holidays & they brought us a loaf of bread when Harrison was born.

But then I got pregnant and the neighbors saw me waddle around with a basketball belly under my shirt.  Lo and behold, an invitation graced my mailbox — a baby shower! Not for me, but for a neighbor!  I only knew one person, but wrapped up a box of diapers.  I was determined to meet fellow moms in the neighborhood, dreaming of playdates to come.  During the shower, the mother-to-be opened a set of breast pads and the girl teased me that I should be paying attention.  Unfortunately, I had not yet been groomed in the ways of motherhood graces, so I smiled and stated that I did not plan to nurse.  “Why?” one lady asked.  I explained that I had a breast reduction and that I would be returning to work, so it was a decision my husband and I made together.  “You’re going back to work?” another asked.  I think I heard a pin drop in the room after that.

It didn’t help that I now felt like the black sheep in the pasture, but then once my son was born and I returned to the office, I realized quickly that my ability to socialize with fellow moms was restricted far more than I imagined.

Two months later, my husband almost fell off the roof putting up Christmas lights and yelled a very naughty four-letter word…with a neighbor’s children playing across the street.

I think that nailed the coffin even further.  We haven’t even had the courtesy of a “lost” invitation since.

I don’t think our neighbors are mean people.  I think we just all got off on the wrong foot and I’m not sure how to change that five years later.  I am hoping that once our home sells, we will get another shot at a family neighborhood where parents walk in the evenings with their dogs and children, with neighborhood pool swim meats and cookouts.  They do still exist, don’t they?

Beth Anne writes words & takes pictures on The Heir to Blair.
You can also find her on the TwittersFacebook.

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About Beth Anne Ballance


Beth Anne Ballance

Beth Anne Ballance is a born and bred Southern Belle, blogging at okay, ba and using words and pictures to celebrate the challenges of motherhood and the joy of life. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Read bio and latest posts → Read Beth Anne's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Mr. Rogers Does Not Live Here

  1. Christine says:

    That’s very sad. I’m sorry.

    We have a couple neighbors who hardly give us the time of day, and some neighbors who are far too friendly with us. We all get along and all participate in the big block parties, though.

    The only things we are excluded from are the adult only parties, because we are “churchy” and they don’t think to invite us …even before babies.

  2. Teri says:

    Our neighborhood is the same way. Our neighbors will break their necks to avoid eye contact. I demonstrated this for my sister when she was visiting from out of state by waving to several as we drove by and each ignored us. We plan to move as soon as our lease is up, if not sooner. I don’t want my kids to think this is the way to treat people.

  3. Brandy says:

    I blame the yankees :) But our neighborhood is similar…minus the kids really. No one EVER plays in the front yard so I never see anyone. I ran into a couple before Landon that had just moved in and they were from Boston. She told me I was the first person in the neighborhood to talk to her. She assumed I was from the south because of that. So damn yankees :) Just don’t move to Cary!

  4. Teri says:

    I’m a yankee in Texas. Most places I have lived in the south (and north) have been friendlier than the hood i described in my other post.

  5. Jodi says:

    AWW this SUCKS! I hope you get where you are supposed to be soon!! FWIW the first neighbourhood we lived in around here was the awesomeness that you describe… we loved it. Had no idea what we would be missing – until after we were gone and it was too late. Nothing the same since – I miss it.

  6. Surf Momma says:

    Yes! Those neighborhoods do still exist! We live in one, but also in a very small town and it’s the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and you don’t even give a cross look at a stop sign because you probably sit next to that person on Sunday morning in Church. I hope for you that your house sells soon and you find the happy neighborhood full of the sweetest Southern Hospitality!

  7. cdw says:

    I promise these neighborhoods do still exist. We moved into ours about 3.5 years ago before we had a child and met our wonderful neighbors both with and without kids. Now we have a 2.5 year old and his best friends live on our street. I sure hope you and your family can find a neighboorhood like this. There are plenty of houses for sale in ours:)

  8. Amanda P says:

    Our neighborhood is sort of the same. Everyone is friendly enough to smile and wave, have a light conversation, but there is a distinct pack of stay-at-home-moms who flock together. I work FT so there you have it. Although to be honest, I prefer neighbors who can all be friendly and get along, but not be TOO close. Friendly at a safe distance seems perfect to me!

  9. Harmskills says:

    I live in NYC and have met amazing moms and neighbors such great support — and we r sahm working moms bf ff and we use bad language maybe there r just more folks here to find your niche?

  10. Jenn says:

    My parents neighbor is great. The neighbors know everyone, have parties all the time, the kids go to everyone’s houses etc. My neighborhood is completely different. I couldn’t tell you the names of the people that lived next door to me even if my life depended on it. You never see the neighbors out socializing with one another or anything so I understand how you feel.

  11. Dana says:

    We live in a big city in California (Sacramento) but were able to find a neighborhood that we love. Everyone is around our age and there are tons of kids Jacks age. We have each other over for BBQs and give each other Christmas cards. Every 4th of July we have a block party. I am sad whenever I see a for sale sign go up and the anticipation of who is moving in is dreadful. So far we have lucked out that the new neighbors are friendly as well.

  12. elz says:

    The great neighborhoods still exist, we live in one! We are so lucky. But, then again, we’re in Texas, so maybe it is a Southern thing.

  13. Taryn in Fla says:

    We moved in to a new home community, so we were able to make friends off the bat with other people building their homes…but it’s mostly morning or evening courtesy waves now. The SAHM’s that I’ve met in our ‘hood are nice, but since I work, I rarely can attend playdates. I don’t feel judged by them, but on the flip, the clique in our neighborhood are moms with kids who are slightly older (5-10)…I think they have more of the ability to party, whereas I’m puttling my LO to bed at 8:30. Give me 2 more years, ladies, please! In the meantime, I’ll pretend not to feel hurt when the bunco invite doesn’t reach my mailbox :)

  14. Jenny says:

    That is our similar story, too. We moved into our previous house 4 years ago. No one introduced themselves. My husband vaguely talked to the neighbors about yardwork but we never got invites to cook-outs and no one welcomed us to the neighborhood. They became a little friendlier when I had my DS 2 years ago as the neighbor adopted twins a few months prior but never a play date invite. SO when we moved about 3 months ago I made sure that I was the one to take the first step. I made all of the neighbors brownies and cookies for the holidays and our family took them around to everyone in our immediate neighbor group. We have now been in their homes and invited back for a Christmas party and another neighbor brought my little boy a little gift at Christmas.

    BA, take the first step. It’s not the way it should be but it’s the way it’s become. I hope you find the neighbors you’ve always wanted.

  15. LauraC says:

    I live in a lala land neighborhood in Cary, where everyone plays outside and there’s a neighborhood bunco group and a running group and poker for the guys and a social team organizing events for the neighborhood and everyone has bonded together to help the triplet mom whose husband is sick. It can be found, it’s just about looking in the right place!

  16. Deidre says:

    Ha! All fellow Carolina girl who’s now residing out in the greater Bay Area in CA. I absolutely miss the days of friendly neighbors, and have tried to drop off a bottle of wine for one set of new neighbors that have arrived in our time. We managed to move to a street of straight-up retirees. Barbeques and block parties are not exactly their cup of tea. Everyone loves to say a quick passing hello if we have our daughter with us (which we appreciate), but actual socializing? We’re in such different life stages, it’s not happening. ESPECIALLY since Hubs and I both work fulltime. After 19 months of parenting (and of course, none of our local friends have kids), we’re realizing that MyGym may be our only way of making some parenting buddies. Thank goodness for our awesome daycare, or we’d have a tough time socializing the kid!

  17. Jenn S. says:

    I promise you that they DO in fact exist. I live in a wonderful neighborhood and have for the last 7 years. There are block parties, meet-ups at the neighborhood park 3-4 late afternoons a week (so that us working mom’s can make it!), pool parties, etc. It is so wonderful to have my little one be able to run to the neighbors house to play and I don’t have to worry about him. We band together when someone is sick or just had their baby. I think what makes it easier is that 3/4′s of the moms on the block work, so we all understand how hard it is to make friends with other mom’s.

  18. veronika says:

    We were close with our last neighbors and are just meeting some of them in our new house…I think nowadays people are so busy with their own stuff that welcome wagons are a thing of the past…whic is sad.

    Great piece!

  19. sadie says:

    and from someone from new jersey, this is why i want to move to the south. the neighborhood i grew up in, in southern new jersey, was amazing, we knew everybody. but then at 13 we moved, and the town sucks. i’d suggest to anyone looking at a home, drive around the neighborhood at a couple different times. after school hours, weekend during the day, and night time. just to get a feel for it. you don’t want to be trapped somewhere with unfriendly people. but i’d rather have a neighbor who ignored me than one who was constantly complaining or something like that. i guess there’s no such thing as perfect neighbors.

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