DC draws people in from all around the country for various reasons. Some who land here will call it their forever home and decide to settle down. Others might know (or question) that this is not their permanent home and have plans to eventually move elsewhere. For those that know DC is not their forever home, how do you settle down and make the best of the time you have here?
Investing when you know you may likely be moving on is difficult. As a parent, you may also have less emotional energy (and time) to meet new people and get to know your community. If you know you are potentially leaving, it can feel like you are putting forth a lot of effort when you are eventually going to say goodbye and start over anyhow.
So what do you do if you think (or know) that DC is not forever home? What do you invest in?
I’ve chosen to invest myself fully in the community while I’m here. Why? I’ve moved plenty, most recently from San Diego to DC, and this will likely not be my last move. The odds are that we will not call DC our forever home. Ultimately from moving, I know that goodbyes hurt, that it’s hard to build community and then leave it. But I also know that not having a community is significantly more painful and difficult. Now as a mother, I need community, even more, especially mom friends in order to survive parenthood.
So what steps do you take to settle into DC for a short time? What does that look like?
First, it’s important to change your mindset.
Don’t overthink settling into DC, and don’t let that this isn’t your forever home prevent you from enjoying your time here and getting to know the city. You can almost consider yourself a tourist—here to see and experience everything DC has to offer while you are here. Make a list of all the activities you’d like to do while here and make a point each weekend to cross something off.
On our site, we have tons of information to get you started on exploring the DC Area. Every month DC Area Moms Blog has a monthly events calendar. Additionally, we have numerous guides on topics such as the Monuments and Memorials, Museums and Galleries, Playgrounds, and Spray, Splash, and Water Parks (just to name a few!).
Next, get plugged in right away.
Figure out what is going on in your neighborhood. Is there a neighborhood listserv? What resources do families use to find out information? What family-geared activities are going on at your library or community center? Introduce yourself to the neighbors and ask questions.
Lastly, make a move to make friends.
Be the one to start the conversation with other moms and parents. Ask for a number—or give your number. What you do and say is simple—it’s just getting over of the awkwardness to step up and be the one that reaches out. Invite someone over for a playdate or dinner. Everyone can use a new friend and it may surprise you how lasting the friendships you form can be even after you move away.
DC Area Moms Blog does events that provide a great opportunity for you to meet other moms. Read about our Spa and Shop Day event, and subscribe to our newsletter (or follow us on Facebook) to hear about future mom meetups.
When you are in a city that isn’t your forever home, the default is to hesitate to invest in your community; counterbalance this with taking action. However long you are here, there is a lot to gain from being in a new city. And what you gain, when you decide to build community and fully invest, will greatly outweigh the difficulty of leaving it all behind. And when you do find your forever home? Well, you’ll know how to get out there and build a community!