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Stability in Moving with Children

moving with children

Guest post written by Arianna Carlson of For the Love of Motherhood

Moving to me is like having a fresh start. It’s finding a new home, making new friends, embarking on an adventure. Whether you move around the block, several miles away, clear across the country or world, each move offers new opportunities.

I grew up in the same house until I left for college. My mom still lives in my childhood home. For a long time after I left, I had the same room, with the same bed, the same posters and furnishings. I had a sense of regularity, consistency and stability. Not much changed and I always knew where everything was. The longer I stayed away, the appearance slowly began to change, but I always came back to the same home. I didn’t necessarily want the same stability in my own life, but it was nice to come home to it every now and again. 

I enjoy moving! Not the physical part of it, of course, but the energy that comes with moving. The excitement of a starting over; whether that meant a new space, new job, or friends.

Having moved eighteen times since leaving for college, I have it down to a science. You accumulate less, use the bare necessities, and learn to travel light. I find that I’m more flexible, social, resourceful and adventurous. I’m more spontaneous and less attached to material things. I make friends easily and always manage to find my way around.

Moving when you’re single, or at least without children, doesn’t hold the same responsibilities. It’s easy, effortless and a whole lot of fun. I hadn’t intended to be a transplant. I’m definitely not a gypsy or a nomad, but opportunities came and I followed my heart.

When I finally got married and had a baby, I really thought I would settle down. This meant buying a house and living happily-ever-after. Well, it’s definitely been happily, but not ever-after.

In our son’s three years, he will have moved three times, with at least another time anticipated in the not so distant future.

As a mother, you worry about the effects a move, or multiple moves will have on your children. Will Braden feel insecure, unstable, and anxious? Will he become fearful, distant, or detached? Will he miss out on making solid childhood friendships? Friendships that will last him a lifetime.

Experts may argue that moving is traumatic for a child and that children need stability and consistency in their lives; to which I agree, to some extent. But what about the adventure that moving brings? The life lessons, experiences, and growth that you gain from living in multiple places, cultures and worlds? What about the flexibility that you learn, the sense of freedom you develop, or the acceptance of differences?

Don’t get me wrong, I want Braden to be grounded, but does that mean he needs to be grounded to one place or that he needs to be attached to a house or things?

Children do need security and familiarity, but that shouldn’t come from their relationship with things. It’s the relationships they form with people in their lives that should help them feel secure and loved.

I want Braden to have friendships that will last him a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean his friendships need to be local. What an amazing gift it will be for him to have friends, like his parents, that he has made through the course of his life, who are scattered all over the world. Friends that he can call, Skype, email or travel to see.

I have no doubt that these next couple of years will provide Braden with experiences that will shape his development in a positive way. He will learn multiple languages, experience unique cultures, foods and people. He will learn differences and acceptance.

I am, New York-born, Bostonian-bred, and Californian at heart. Now, this city-sunshine girl is finding herself moving for the ninetieth time. This time, half way around the world not only to a new place, but also a new language and culture. This time, however, I get to do it with my husband and son.

And together, we’ll find the stability in moving within ourselves.

What’s your moving story?

Do you move often? Or do you have your roots planted pretty deep? Any tips for moving with kids?

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25 Responses to Stability in Moving with Children

  1. Melissa Allen July 2, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    “It’s the relationships they form with people…” I love that. You are so right and such an inspiration. This was a good reminder to me. The things don’t matter, it’s the family, friends, love, memories and experiences they are given. Good post, Arianna!

  2. Leigh July 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I love moving. Every single thing about it. Braden will grow up having had a unique, adventurous childhood, which will only benefit him in the long run. It’s the greater picture that he will remember – his parents as seekers, with a thirst for life and a passion for fulfillment. He’s very lucky to have such parents.

    • Arianna Carlson July 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      Leigh, Thank you. Braden certainly has an idea of the “bigger” world around him. On his bucket list is traveling to China, Egypt and Antarctica!

  3. Shawn - realestatecosultant July 3, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    I was born across the world in Israel. At the age of 10 my parents moved to the States. We only moved a couple of times and my parents are still in the same location since 1979.

    As an adult I have only moved twice. I have been in my own home since 1999.

    With Braden being so young and moving I think it is very different than when I moved when I was 9. I was very close with my large Israeli family and then did not see them for years at a time. Braden may not know any different since that is how he has lived so far.

    Regardless of the moving situation, parents who are aware, loving, giving, and nurturing in the right ways for their children, should be able to minimize the effects of moving. And since communicating today has changed so much, if one wants to stay in touch, one can with great ease…

    Great job Arianna… 🙂

  4. Michelle July 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    I moved frequently when I was young…and even as an adult. My mother says she’s lived in 17 houses throughout her 47-year-marriage. That’s a lot of packing and unpacking boxes!

    My sisters and I have only positive things to say about living abroad and how it has helped shape us into the open-minded, accepting, curious adults we are today. Being exposed to different cultures (we lived in Canada, the United States and Europe) was a huge advantage. It is so important to see with one’s own eyes that we are all the same, regardless of where we live.

    It was different when I was younger (I made my first move at the age of 6 months, and first lived abroad in 1976)… my parents did not go out of their way to minimize the effects of moving… I think because they saw it entirely as a positive. And, to be honest, they sort of expected us to just get on with it. By not making moving something special, but rather just a simple fact of life, perhaps it was just that?

    My sisters and I all have enduring friendships and, in fact, one of my sister’s closest friends is the girl we lived next door to for three years when my sister was in kindergarten to Grade 3!

    Today I still love to travel and like your son, I hope to go to China soon!

    • Arianna Carlson July 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      Michelle, Let’s meet in China! 🙂 We hope to get there by the end of the year.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I think your parents did a great job by seeing it as a positive experience. We are, after all, role models to our children. They know no other way.

      Keep on traveling!

  5. Brooke July 5, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    “What about the flexibility that you learn, the sense of freedom you develop, or the acceptance of differences?” Flexibility in today’s globalizing world seems like a terrific quality to nurture from a young age. And how about the fun! Fabulous post!

    • Arianna Carlson July 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Brooke, Thank you! True, my family and I sure do have a lot of fun. Thank goodness for that, huh?

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  19. Lee Mack October 22, 2015 at 6:05 am #

    Hi, Arianna! I really enjoyed reading your post. I moved four times so far and every time I liked more because it was for better! Thanks for sharing your own experience:)

  20. Melanie Fuller December 1, 2015 at 5:04 am #

    I know how addictive can moving and traveling be! I used to move house a lot and I was the happiest when it was as far as possible! I know how exciting this is and how many lovely new opportunities this brings! Honestly, I think that moving with kids isn’t that big of a problem. I even believe that this way the family is drawn closer together when is constantly going from place to place. It really depends on the parents and the way they teach their kids to be. Friends could be everywhere! Thanks for sharing! Greetings!

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