RELOCATION: Building a Personal Support System

(c) Aleksandrl | Dreamstime.comBuilding a personal support system after relocation is KEY to adapting, creating a sense of community and finding your place.  It provides the connections, information and daily expectations.

Personal Support System Defined: a community based network of family, friends, acquaintances and known partners (mechanics/contractors/medical/teachers/etc.) that provide regular or known assistance, knowledge and encouragement.

This takes how long??

Building it as needed?  12 to 18 months.   That’s quite while.

The dry cleaner is asked about local Indian restaurants.  The PTA Membership chair leads the family through Gifted and Talented testing.  The neighbor’s kid watches the dog for that weekend trip to Florida.  It gets done but SLOWLY.

AGAIN, I’m Exhausted??  After relocating across country, finding housing, unpacking,  and trying to learn the local processes…you are spent.  You don’t have 18 months of energy.

NETWORKING!!! Not Excited? It may seem like a lot of work after the last few months, but you have already started.  But with a system, this necessary system can be created in 6 months or less.

So let’s take a look at the process.

    1. Participating & meeting people
    2. Keeping track of people
    3. Extending invitations
    4. Building relationships
    5. All types

Starting with Fun:

You have had enough work, it’s time for a bit of fun?  What do you like to do?  Cook, run, bunco, write, take photos, play the piano or help others?

This is the time where you explore your community with abandon.  Being new to town has a number of advantages.  With no time schedule or obligations, this open time presents endless opportunities to explore and find what you love, or might love to do.

Check out my blog post RELOCATION: Search and find what you LOVE! for search ideas and groups to start with.

All those people: 

Everywhere you go  you will meet new people, at school,  yoga or even playing the piano at the local nursing home.  Strike up a conversation and keep a journal.  A little notebook and pen that will fit easily in a pocket or a purse is all you need to keep track of your new people.

Even though most will not be a “BEST Friend”, remembering their names and something about them will be a blessing to them.  This will bring a smile increase your connection, and in the end, make you feel known and appreciated too.

In the beginning, this is especially important for your sanity.

How about coffee?

Extending an invitation can be a bit intimidating.  None of us like to be rejected, however, it’s most likely not rejection.  It’s only a busy life you are competing with.

My Daughter-in-Law relocated 1873 miles across country last year.  She and the family had only been in Atlanta for 2 years and now found themselves in Salt Lake City.  Even though she was somewhat practiced at creating her network, she again found it difficult to get a yes to any invitation.  Coffee, play dates or meet at the park?  Frankly, it took a while.

She kept asking though.  They participated in some of the HOA events and even became a room mom at school.  This was so outside of her comfort zone, being more of an introvert, however, she kept asking and participating knowing this is where her support system was going to come from.  Once she got to know these ladies on this level, she started to hear yes for activities outside of these groups.

(c) Aleksandrl | Dreamstime.com

It takes time:

Relationships are built by time and shared experiences.  That is why my Daughter-in-Law decided to start where she was already.  She was there at drop off and pick up. She was going to the HOA pool with the kids. Everywhere my daughter-in-law went, she an effort to meet as many moms in a similar life stage as she could.

Everyone is not a “bestie”, but everyone has the potential to be a connection to the community.  By spending time then you know what type of friend they are.

Connections found:

As you already know by this point, there are different types of friends.  Those you see at school drop-off and have a quick conversation, those you can cry on their shoulders and even those you can travel with.https://www.shastanelson.com/friendships-dont-just-happen/Every friend does not fill every box.  In the book, Friendships don’t just happen by Shasta Nelson, she talks about the different Circles of Connectedness.

  • Connect Friends
  • Common Friends
  • Confirmed Friends
  • Community Friends
  • Committed Friends

Shasta talks about life after relocation and divorce.  She talks about walking by a group of laughing women lunching on a patio, like Sex in the City, and desperately wanting to go over and ask, “Will you be my friend too!!”

With focus and planning though, you will be deep in the community in less than 6 months.  Keep track of that little notebook.  And as they say,

“wash, rinse and repeat”

Efficiently building a Personal Support System is key to the relocation process because having this in place gets the whole family gets back to living.  It takes time and repetition, but will settle the family while finding new things to explore.  Keep you head up!  Life will become normal.


Next week look for  RELOCATION: Maslow’s hierarchy and you ~ moving up to self-actualization and meeting your needs after helping everyone else.

If you need more explanation OR you have moved and don’t know where to start email us at  questions@relomoms.com as well as join the email list.  We love to help!!

Have a great week and see you next week.

RELOCATION: Search & find what you Love!


A Mom Scavenger HUNT!

Finding what we love after relocation is a lot like a scavenger hunt.  You have a list and a general location, but not much else.  Discovering what to search is key.

OLD SCHOOL GARAGE SALE-ING

Back in the 80s, Mom and I got to figure this one out through garage sale-ing after our move to Dallas from Atlanta.  In Atlanta, the Garage Sale paper would appear every week in our mailbox.  This community guide detailed items for sale and ALL of the garage sales that weekend.

Once in Dallas, we figured this would be a fun way to learn about how to get around. However, there were no Green Sheets.  In fact, there was no garage sale source anywhere.  Dallas was all about the newspapers, both major and community.  Even those didn’t include very much, so mostly we drove around  to find them.

WHERE SHOULD I SEARCH?

The primary source of information varies from community to community and from activity to activity.

In Minnesota, information primarily came through through the community education department in each school district.  There was always an abundance of activities for everyone from learning Spanish and reading to dogs in the library to senior trips to Europe.

Atlanta proved more difficult.  The school district had limited events and opportunities outside of the school day.  In this area, online searches for specific group or location searches were the key. For example, Atlanta area moms group or Lake Lanier events proved much more effective than searching for a central source.

And then in Dallas Fort Worth, I found a number of printed sources that would keep track of festivals, educational seminars and kids events.  Between Ft Worth Child, Suburban Parents and Texas Highways, I could find what I needed while exploring the greater area.

THE WEB ~

The secret is to know what to search in every place.  I suggest the following “just general enough” types of searches:

  • (City name) magazine, events, calendar, chamber of commerce
  • (State name) magazine, events, calendar
  • (City/County name) Garden/womens/MOPs/Newcomers/etc. Club, Group or Association
  • National Local Clubs – Rotary/Lions/Kiwanis/Sorority/Fraternaty/College/etc.
  • Meetups – Moms/Writers/Language practice/nurses/music/etc
  • Religious Studies – BSF/MOPS/Bible Study/Prayer groups
  • Moms day out – a infant/pre-school Southern thing
  • Local (type specific) shops – biker/English EXPATs/running clubs & groups
  • School district & school specific PTA/Gifted and Talented/Moms
  • All of the surrounding city Parks and Recreation Events/Magazine/Newsletter
  • Facebook for all the above

ENGAGE! ~ Yes you need to call,
possibly email,
or just show up
😉

Most of what you will find, does not require an RSVP.  Showing up at a local club (Rotary, Garden, PTA, etc.) or a of course something like a bike shop is pretty easy.  Ask some questions, get on the newsletter email list and start to connect.

If your favorite activity/sport/club isn’t listed, call around.  The local Chambers of Commerce will have people answering the phone that will give you information about their members, as well as the area they live in.

No one to call?  The public libraries have research desks, for You.  Call the research desk and ask.  Nothing is too mundane or crazy.

The bonus to showing up or calling, is that by visiting or calling you will meet people who want to talk to you.  Chances are they will be willing to answer future questions, too.

BUT, WHAT IF YOU CAN’T DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT??

Sometimes as moms, we just don’t know what we want.  After being so busy crafting lives for those around us…Frankly, we forget.
Click on the Next blog to learn more about YOU

Relocation: Discovering who YOU are!

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