I counted up the amount of times I have moved to a new city with small children. Four times. I have had to do it four times. I have moved to a new place, had to meet new people and figure out a way to make some friends while I was caring for small children. It isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to go up to a group of people and introduce yourself, especially if they have been friends for a while. You really have to put time into it.
I have found a few ways that allowed me to make some friends. Not all of the people I have met through these methods became best friends but that has happened as well. I was able to find a group. A group of people who I could get together with and find friendship with. Where I could give my young children the opportunity to play with other kids and I could find people so I wouldn’t feel so lone in my new city.
1) Playgroups. This seems obvious but unless you live in the very middle of nowhere, you should be able to find a playgroup to go to. When I first moved to Kentucky pre-Army, I found a great group through a local center that was about moms and giving birth. At the time I was a little more crunchy than I am now and I figured it would be the best way to meet some other moms like me. I was right. I connected with some other moms while we let our very young babies play. Even though we moved after a year, I am still Facebook friends with most of them. I still enjoy seeing their photos of their now 9 and 10 year olds. When we moved to Germany I was able to find a playgroup sponsored through the Army post. I started taking my then two-year old and was really able to meet and connect with other moms that way. Spend some time looking in your community to see what is out there.
2) Church groups. This can be going to a regular church on Sundays or even just a weekly Bible study. Most duty stations have a PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) or a CWOC (Catholic Women of the Chapel) In these groups there is time to get to know other women as well as attend a weekly Bible study together. There should be free childcare at the chapel as well. You can also look in your local community to church to see what your options are. MOPS is also offered at a lot of Military bases.
3) The park. Meeting people at the park can be complicated. You could spend all day at the park and not get to know anyone or you might make a few friends right away. The best thing to do is go to some of the same parks on a regular basis. You might start to recognize people. Watch which kids your kids end up playing with and see if you can start a conversation with their parents. It could be something as simple as, “How old is she?” Or “Did you just move here?”
4) Online groups. Our Army post has many different groups on Facebook. From groups for Crunchy moms to those over a certain age. A lot of those groups tend to have meetups which can be a great way to get to know others. Try to participate in some online conversations and go to the next meetup. You might find some great friends that way.
5) FRGs. I know FRGs sometimes get a bad wrap but you also have the chance of making a new friend by attending. I have been in really good FRGs and really bad ones. You just never know. Try to attend at least once or twice to see if it will work for you. The best part of meeting someone in your FRG is that your spouses will go through deployments together and you might make friends with your own “battle buddy” to help you get through the next deployment.
It is true that in the Military life you will need friends to connect with. It can feel overwhelming when you have young children but there are ways to get out and make some new Mommy friends.
How have you made friends when you move to a new location?