So how do you do it? How do you continue making friends while moving around the country every couple of years? Along with being a wife and mom and I am also a military spouse. My husband is in the Air Force and after serving in the Air Force alongside my husband I chose to leave the military and start our family.
But leaving the Air Force was a hard transition for me. And finding new friends and growing the friendships I had was very difficult. I struggled with loneliness, fear, and doubt. I hadn’t even moved yet, but felt so alone and lost as I struggled through my first year of being a mom. The thought of moving to a new city was even more terrifying. How would I find friends in a new place when I couldn’t even find friends in a place I had been for over 3 years?
But moving ended up being a gift.
A gift I hope to share as we will continue to move around the country. I ended up getting connected with a Bible study and eventually Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) where I ended up finding my people. My community. It has been amazing.
For me, motherhood started out so lonely. Most of the people I knew were working moms or just working females and when I transitioned to stay at home it often was not very relatable. At least it felt that way. Add to the fact the times I was the freest, they were busy at work. We had less than a year left at our current location and I had friends and figured this was just what mom life was like. A lot of loneliness and struggle. It was hard.
So, what changed when I with our most recent move?
First, I had a fresh start.
No one knew “working Amanda,” they only knew mom Amanda. I slipped right into a group unnoticed and sat on the sidelines watching. I also got lucky, because I didn’t sit on the sidelines in a group that kept all their feelings hidden. Instead, they shared their real lives and struggles. Talking about how hard the road of motherhood was. They welcomed me with open arms. And they met me in that lonely place.
Second, I learned the value of authenticity
At first, I didn’t know the value of authenticity. Authenticity is a scary thing. When you share your real life and not your “Facebook feed life” you are putting yourself out there. And there is a lie the devil tells you. A lie where he says you are the only one struggling. The only one hurting. The only one lonely. And breaking through that lie and sharing who you are with someone is scary. But the gift in return is worth pushing through. You often find a woman on the other side with arms open and saying, “Me too.” Sharing the real-life struggles helped me find out the image of perfection in my mind is not something actually realistic. I wasn’t failing at motherhood and you are not failing either.
Third, I learned to reach out.
Even when it is uncomfortable. I think sometimes our fear of rejection stops us in our tracks. I don’t know why we are so afraid of someone saying no. Whatever the reason, it sometimes causes us to miss out. Missing out on new friendships, playdates, girl’s nights, the list goes on.
Recently, I have started to reach out and say, “Are you free? Let’s get together.” And sometimes it works out and other times it doesn’t. Life is busy. You cannot expect that every time you reach out it will work out. But sometimes when you are lonely and need a friend. You can text someone and say, “Want to hang out?” And she says, “Yes” and you have an amazing afternoon instead of a long lonely one.
But it takes you being willing to ask.
I’m not going to say finding new friends is easy because it isn’t. It requires you to step outside your comfort zone. And not just one time, over and over. It requires effort and hard work. And sometimes it feels easier to just stay inside and not push yourself outside your comfort zone. But I have learned a secret, it always is worth the effort.
Military spouses know that our time is limited, which is a strange gift. We know even though you may not want to go to that get-together or say hi to that person who is playing with your kid at the park. You do, because, well you have learned that you have to and you don’t have the luxury of time. Either be lonely or be uncomfortable for a quick minute.
Making friends while moving checklist:
What hard work have you had to do to build the friendships you have?
If you are looking for friends, what thing can you do today to start making connections? What uncomfortable thing are you going to do?
What does being authentic mean to you? What does it look like in your life? How can you be more authentic with the friends you have now?
Pull out your phone out right now and schedule a playdate. You need those breaks and your kids need them too.