Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'm No Longer The New Kid

13 months ago, my life was totally turned upside down when we relocated to Austin. I'll be the first to admit that it wasn't my idea, that I tried to back out last minute and I was determined to not like Austin. Even if this was the greatest place on the planet Earth, I was going to hate it. There was no way I would ever want to be a Texan or enjoy this place. I was hell bent on making it the year and heading back to Ohio. For those of who wondering how we ended up a thousand miles away from home, my husband was given an amazing promotion and the opportunity meant we had to relocate. In December 2012, almost 2 months after giving birth to Connor, we packed up our home, 3 dogs and an cat and made the move to the Lonestar State.

5 weeks in, I started feeling this since of doom every morning James left for the office. How was I going to make it here? I knew no one. I spent my days taking care of a little guy who spent his days sleeping and eating. I just didn't think I was going to survive. I know this sounds dramatic but it was that dramatic to this first time Momma in a "foreign" land. I went from knowing every one and having all my family and friends within a 90 minute drive to knowing only my husband and our son. Life was much different and I wasn't doing well adjusting.

I remember sitting down at my laptop, searching for something that would get us out of the house and in the presence of other people. This was the first step I took into reclaiming my life. It was the single best move I made since moving to Austin. I'm sure I'm not alone. I know there are tons of folks in our area that have relocated to ATX and I've always wondered how people made it through the first year, which if I say so, is the hardest, hands down. 

For those of you wondering how to meet new people and make new friends at 30, I can tell you the resources are endless. You just have to put yourself out there. And trust me, I know that is hard and scary but it's worth it. Here is how I made friends, grew my circle and learned to love this phase of my life.
  •  Join Meetup. Meetup allows you to join groups where you either learn, do or share something. In my case, I was able to find a local Mom group to join that allowed me to get together with other ladies to chat while allowing Connor to get to play with little guys and girls his age. Without Meetup, I would have never met Chrissy and Sienna who were our first Texas friends. Surprisingly enough, they aren't from Texas either so they know what it's like to be the new kid. Chrissy has no clue how much she did for me in the early days. 
  • Find a church. I'm not going to get religious on you or push my beliefs down your throat but I know that when we found a church that fit out needs and desires, it was so refreshing to have a place to worship and begin to meet other members of our community. Through church, I've meet some incredible people who have welcomed my family with open arms and a loving heart. There are some areas of my church life I would like to improve and see grew but as of now, First Baptist is our home church and I feel very blessed to have a place to grow spiritually. 
  • If you are a Mom to a preschooler, I highly recommend that you find a local MOPS chapter and JOIN! Simply put, MOPS is what open my heart and mind to making my life in Austin one that I will enjoy and love. Through MOPS, I found a love for my fellow Moms and learned that no matter what we look like on the outside, we are all going through the same things in our lives and we need to hold tight to each other for support.
  • Visit your local library. Connor and I got to story time 3-5 times a month in the summer (thanks to the horrible Texas summers, which by the way I'll never be used to) and we've meet a few other folks that are always welcoming when we attend the next class. It's comforting to have a face in the crowd you know.  
  • Join a local gym or YMCA. This one seems pretty easy to understand but I know from personal experience that if I'm working out, focusing on my health, I feel confident in my skin and tend to put myself out there a little more. Hiding at home in sweats and a t-shirt is easy (and comfortable and effortless) but not want you need to thrive and enjoy your life. If your finances don't allow for a membership, be sure to look on Meetup for walking groups or excising clubs. Not only will you be working out but you'll be meeting new folks as well. 
Texas doesn't feel like home just yet. I'm still learning to enjoy our new life but I will say that without the girls I've meet through the sources listed above, I would be sitting before you very brokenhearted. Putting myself out there isn't something that is easy for me. I don't like being the center of attention and I'm horrible at making small talk but I can tell you, going outside of my comfort zone and giving The South a chance has saved me. It's a wonderful feeling not being the new kid anymore.

19 comments:

  1. We relocated after my third child was 1 week old from the Dallas area to SA. I was quite the loner but all it took was going to a school birthday party for a classmate of my daughters and striking up a convo. People love to talke to moms w newborns.. That is where I made my first friend and then her friends became my friends ;-)

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  2. I really love this post. It's so hard to meet new people once you move to a new place. It's just down right scary. I'm glad things are looking up for you!!

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  3. This post is fantastic! Something I wish I'd had much earlier in my life BUT I'm going to take it and run with it now! Even though I'm 'home' again after living away...it's still hard to meet people/make friends/connections! I'm going to look into these ways for sure because I'm always trying to find more friendship in my life. I really love this post, Stephanie!

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  4. I can totally relate! We moved to Texas in August. And,I absolutely agree with Church as a great 1. Ours have shown us so much love & accepted us right away!

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  5. I'm glad that you are finding that Texas can be a comfortable home for you and your family - other than the summers. ;) I have made major moves like that twice now and am probably not done yet, so I can totally sympathize. Good tips.

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  6. I can't imagine moving to a new state with a brand new baby! I moved to Dallas from Oklahoma after I graduated college because this is where my boyfriend (now husband) was going. His friends and family all live here, and I had NO ONE. It was so hard! I still miss home, but it definitely gets easier the longer you're in your new place. So glad it's getting better for you!

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  7. I'm glad you've been able to make some friends in TX. Even though I've lived in VA basically since college it's still hard making new friends. Fortunately a new family moved in on our street over the summer and I've become good friends with the mom and Hunter and her daughter are BFF's. I looked into Meetup.com but so many of the groups meet while I'm at work so in that respect it's a bit harder when you only have weekends free.

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  8. I moved from a small Texas town to a large Texas town when ours was 2-years-old and hated it...but somehow (thru many of the items you listed), it became home.

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  9. We were planning on making a move from Texas to Colorado and I hated it from the moment it was thought about. I despised the thought about being away from my family but it started to grow on me even though we ended up staying here in Texas. I think these are some great ideas to meet people! I hope you are enjoying Texas! We don't bite :)

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  10. We relocated to Seattle from VA for six months in 2010 and it was so hard. I wish I had gotten myself out there and met new people, but knowing that we weren't going to be there that long ended up stopping me. Great advice!

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  11. We relocated to Seattle from VA for six months in 2010 and it was so hard. I wish I had gotten myself out there and met new people, but knowing that we weren't going to be there that long ended up stopping me. Great advice!

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  12. Sister, we rode in the same damn boat. It wasn't until almost a year and a half of living in LA that I made a conscious choice not to hate my life. It was also around that same time that M was born. Thanks to him we've joined groups, met other mommies and babies, and really started to feel like this is home.
    Don't get me wrong, someday I hope to be back in KC, but for now we'll appreciate what we have right now.

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  13. Although I was happy to be in Denver it was totally different once we had Callie. I kinda started all over again. I got a lot out of my MOPs group the first year and began to meet other moms, find activites, etc. I am excited to be back by family but I am bummed to have to restart my mom circle...

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  14. I'm a Texas girl all the way but 3 years ago my family and I relocated to Louisiana and I hated it! It's taken me 3 looong years of being alone and starting the blog community to actually feel like I was settling in.

    I've made tons of LA friends through blogging and Meetup!

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  15. I can totally 100% relate. I've been in Louisiana for 8 years now and I just recently started getting out and trying to like it. I'm from VA, but I'm trying really hard to like it here.

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  16. You'd make a great Army wife friend :) These are all great ideas when moving to a new place. As a hometown girl, never leaving this place to now an Army wife who has to accept that Home is Where the Army Sends Us I can tell you that church, gym, mommy groups (I did MOPS too!) are so important! For me it is neighbors too although we've been fortunate to have great ones so far... I know that doesn't always happen for everyone! Great post :)

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  17. I cant imagine what you wen t through. How sad yet such a great move because i think Texas is the place to be. i couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I hope over time you feel like a Texas girl

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  18. These are all great tips. Glad things have settled down some. I wouldn't want to live any other place but Texas and I'm a tad jealous you're in Austin and so close to the Hill Country.

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  19. Awww, as a native Texan, I hope you start to love Texas. As a Louisiana Transplant, I feel your pain.
    I moved to LA 3 years ago (from my "other home" - Philly) to go to school. I thought I'd be back in Texas by now, but no such luck!
    I still feel like the new kid. I'll have to try some of your tips!

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Thank you so much for commenting on today's post. I reply to comments via Disqus so if you are curious as to what I may have to say in response to your message, just visit this post and check your comment. -- xo, Stephanie