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From Cheerios to Cocktails

How Female Bonds Endure



They say friends are people who know you well, but like you anyway. When it comes to women, society tends to view them as a den of adversity filled with petty jealousies and cattiness. But is that really true?

I’ve certainly had my own experiences. I met my friend Melissa Tohill when our oldest daughters were nine months old at a Gymboree class. (The girls are now 13.) I see her almost every week. Then, there’s my friend Margaret Rieck. We’ve shared laughter and tears. And, I love it when she calls us “family, not family.”

That’s the thing about mom friends. When they click, they really click. Take Kelly Leatherwood, for example. She loves to talk about six women that are more than just friends; they’re family. Moving from San Francisco, the Leatherwoods arrived in Fairfield hoping to make new friends and after a few introductions at a Mommy & Me event at the Fairfield Public Library, their group was born. The kids, still friends despite different schools and interests, span from age 4 to 17. Like her friend Deb Placey says, they’ve gone from “Cheerios to college applications.” Leatherwood says she feels so fortunate to have such a tight-knit group of women. “I feel very blessed,” she explains. “It’s like I have a second set of sisters.”

According to social worker Nicole Zangara and author of Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, meeting new friends can elicit a major fear factor and many times women will settle for a “toxic” friendship rather than seek out a healthy one.

“Finding new friends is almost like dating, you make an emotional connection and communication is key,” she says.

Zangara also made the comparison between men and women. While men may have good friendships too, they’re built on action. They’ll get together and play golf. Women make deep connections and place more emotional investment in the relationship.  That’s why women tend to become more upset when the friendship doesn’t work out.

Lasting female bonds are a Fairfield norm. Like Leatherwood, Kelly Imschweiler, Sarah Puerini, and Sarah Lehberger all met each other through The Welcome Club of Fairfield and Easton. They ended up forming long-lasting friendships as a result.

For Imschweiler, having regular contact with women who understood the trials of everyday motherhood was like a breath of fresh air. “If I told everyone, ‘Oh great, another snow day!’ I wouldn’t have to explain myself.”

Puerini moved from Fairfield and now lives outside Boston. But for Lehberger, distance doesn’t matter. “We met when our girls were around 15-18 months old, and they were our first kids. So we got to experience a lot of the firsts together and bond over the craziness of it all,” she said. “What really made us close was her ability to really see me for who I was outside of being a mom or a wife. She appreciated me as a person despite all of my imperfections.”

But what happens when playgroups become a thing of the past? According to long-time Fairfield resident Jean Whitney, you just continue to foster good bonds. Whitney attends a knitting group at Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport. If you think it’s all for little old ladies, think again. “It’s just extraordinary to be part of this group of women of all ages,” she said. “There is a need for women to have a place to feel open and honest. At my age, I have as many friends leave this world as come into it!”

Trevor Crow, a marriage and family therapist in Southport and author of Forging Healthy Connections, couldn’t agree more with Whitney’s point.  “These are people who have your best interests in mind. They’re not judging you and you feel safe.”

In the frequently cited 2002 UCLA study on how men and women handle stress, there was a huge difference. Not surprisingly, men handle stress with an increase of testosterone in a “fight or flight” manner. But when women are under stress, they have an increase in oxytocin, which calms and renders them more likely to tend to children and bond with other women.

But even more compelling, the study showed that those who had the most friends over a 9-year period decreased their risk of death by 60%. And, that follows us through the aging process. Women whose husbands died were less likely to become sick afterward when they had a close friend to get them through the experience.

So, the next time you want a girls’ night out, just tell your husband your health depends on it.

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January 2018

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Join Bob and Deb Rice, Essential Oil Educators, at Children's Therapy and Learning Center in Fairfield, as they provide information on replacing toxins in your home with healthy...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Children's Therapy and Learning Center
2228 Black Rock Turnpike, Suite 201
Fairfield, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: Children'sTherapy and Learning Center
Telephone: 203-908-4433
Contact Name: Maybette
Website »

More information

The band behind the hits 'The Freshmen', 'Photograph', and 'Colorful' are still making music after twenty-four years. From hitting the charts in 1997 with Best Alternative...

Cost: Price:$32 Members Save:$3 /tckt

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Life can be hard. How we treat ourselves either leads us to be resilient, happy and have healthy relationships or leads us to be filled with worry, ‘should haves’ and a ‘what...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Library
1080 Old Post Road
Fairfield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

FEATURING: Jim Weider (The Band), G.E. Smith (SNL Musical Director / Bob Dylan / Hall & Oates), Snowy White (Pink Floyd / Thin Lizzy) With three of the most prolific rock...

Cost: Price:$48 Members Save:$5 /tckt

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The highly anticipated release from the Bermuda native showcases his vocal range and signature melodies over a wide array of island rhythms, serving as the follow-up to his 2007 critically...

Cost: Price:$25 / $30 Day Of - Limited Seating First Come First Serve No Member Disco

Where:
The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. For more information and to...

Cost: Free

Where:
United Way of Westchester and Putnam
336 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY  10530
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: (914) 997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

Saturday, Jan. 20 Mini Golf in the Stacks at Wilton Library, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wilton Library will hold its first mini golf fundraising event, presented by Bankwell. There will be 18 hole of...

Cost: $5 per player

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Bankwell
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

The opening reception is on January 20 from 4-6pm at the Carriage Barn Arts Center. This is a juried exhibition of student, amateur and professional photographers. The exhibition will be on view...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

We kick off the new FTC Comedy Presents series with the energetic, loud, never understated and always funny, Nathan Macintosh. The Canadian has performed at major comedy festivals, been on late...

Cost: Price:$29 No Member Discount

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Westport Arts Center continues its tradition of bringing the best of international talent to Fairfield County with a special concert by the acclaimed Juilliard String Quartet on Saturday,...

Cost: Advance: $40 Members/$50 Non-Members; $60 At Door

Where:
Westport Arts Center
51 Riverside Avenue
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Joyce Pauker
Telephone: 203-222-7070
Website »

More information

Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut December 2, 2017 – March 4, 2018 The early 1960s marked a significant turning point in American printmaking: the rise of communal studios provided...

Cost: $10 adult, $8 senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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