by Amanda K. Marksmeier, Guest Contributor
Standing in our kitchen in Tennessee I broke the news to my children – my husband received orders and we will be moving in 6 months.
My daughter burst into tears and said she wasn’t going.
My middle son followed suit with the tears saying he can’t be without his sister.
The youngest, our just-go-with-it kid, said “So Texas huh?”
We spent the next 6 months researching our new home and searching for the silver lining in our future.
Here are 3 things that helped our family adjust to our new duty station.
Don’t Believe The Hype
Do your own research. Each duty station has pros and cons, try not to focus too much on the cons. Talk to people who have lived in your new city. Chances are someone in your military family has been stationed at or trained at your new duty station.
While you are gaining insight from your military community, take everything with a grain of salt. Some people may dislike a post because it was too far from family. Others may love a post because that is where they met their lifelong friends. Someone may have experienced a personal tragedy and associates that with the base.
When we told people we had orders to Texas we were met with stories of crime, drugs and cartels. When I did my own research I found that while the city we were moving to did have a violent history, the present boasted the “safest large city in America.” I was still apprehensive so I continued to look for more information.
Find the local news outlets and follow them on social media. This will provide you with the good, the bad and the ugly that takes place in your new city.
There are tons of groups for military spouses on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Seek them out and ask questions. Follow them as well, you will learn from other’s comments and conversations.
People tend to dwell on the negative so ask for positive input and focus on that.
I am not saying to ignore the negative but try to put a positive spin on things. My husband says you need to find 6 positive things to outweigh 1 negative. So pull out those scales and start balancing!
Get Back Into The Routine
Kids need structure, they thrive on it. Moving will definitely upset your family structure, it is unavoidable.
Living out of a suitcase, sleeping on the floor and eating out all throw a wrench in our routine. I usually like to treat this transition time like a vacation. We explore the country, try new restaurants and get to “camp out.”
Once our household goods arrive, we begin to settle in. It is time to reestablish our family routine.
Getting the kids enrolled in school is the first step to normalcy. Go to the school, introduce yourselves and ask for a tour of the school. This will help familiarize your children with their new environment. Ask lots of questions such as how to drop off and pick up, what are the bus routes like, what’s for lunch and what is the dress code.
If your child was previously involved in extracurricular activities ask about these too. They will provide a wealth of information not only about the school but also have tons of knowledge about your new home.
At our last duty station my daughter had a part-time job, my middle son was very involved in the local community theater and my youngest was working toward his goal of becoming a ninja. These things are important to them, so they are important to me.
I drove around with my daughter to get familiar with the area and dropped off job applications to every store and restaurant within a 20-mile radius. We made sure the high school my middle son attended had an active theater program and wasted no time getting involved. For my aspiring ninja we visited several dojos to find the right fit for him.
Establishing these activities helps to maintain the routine your family had at your prior home. Not only are these great ways for your kids to meet other kids who share the same interests, it also helps them create the new normal in their new home.
Enjoy The Uniqueness Of Your New Home
Each place you live will offer unique experiences. Places are like people. Each is different and special in its own way.
Some places, just like people, may need a bit of coxing to find the interesting or exciting parts. Give your new home a chance to show off its unique side.
We found a quaint little town about 45 minutes away which is home to the only jail Billy the Kid ever broken into and the oldest highway in America. It was a fun and educational trip. For the history buff that I am, it was amazing to walk down the same road that has been traveled for hundreds of years.
Not only have these experiences bonded us as a family, they have helped us to enjoy and appreciate our temporary homes. Whether you are in a place you love or one you are not so fond of, remember every place offers special and unique experiences. It is up to you to find them!
We have been at our new home for about 6 months now and are still settling in.
I can now get around the city most of the time without the GPS. My oldest is still searching for normalcy with the move but has begun working at a local restaurant. My two younger sons have adjusted well and are thriving in their new home.
We are still trying to adjust to the very warm and dry climate. I will say the sunsets are an amazing sight to behold and the food is to die for.
Moving can be scary, overwhelming and stressful, but it can also be exciting, adventurous, and provide new opportunities. Remember the next time you move to pack a positive attitude and silver linings. These will go a long way in helping your family adjust to your new home!
What are your tips to adjusting in a new community? Share them in the comments section.
My name is Amanda. I am a mom, wife, and a blogger. I have been a mom for 18 years, a military spouse for 9, and a blogger for a couple of months. I am originally from Savannah, Ga., and while I appreciate the opportunity the military has given us to travel the country, I really miss my southern roots at times. There is nothing better than some boiled peanuts, sweet tea, and quality time with mamma. We are currently stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.