It’s easy to sit where it’s easy.
Comfortable and familiar routines, familiar people, familiar workplace, familiar community. But at what point does the comfort and safety of the familiarity no longer serve you (or your family) in a positive way?
This blog post is a little different to other Girl Empowered posts but stick with me. It’s been a bit quiet on the Girl Empowered front and there’s a reason why…..
It began as a dull yearning for more. But not in the ungrateful, it’s not enough kind of way, just a quiet knowing that it was time for a new adventure. I was beginning to feel a longing for wet winter weekends that left muddy puddles to jump in more than once a year, the want to spend lazy weekends with family and have my kids surrounded by cousins and laughter without a looming six hour drive following the fun, a desire to step into a new workplace and see different ways of making a difference plus the appeal of a short drive to the local shopping centre couldn’t be ignored.
Our little community has held us and supported us through some of the most exciting and expansive moments of our lives. It has provided a safe haven of childhood dreams for our kids and amazing opportunities personally and professionally for myself and my husband, but it’s time for a change. It’s time to leave the safety and support of such a warm community and see what new, exciting adventures are waiting for us just over the horizon.
At first the confirmation of the move closer to water was excitement. But the changes ahead that seem to be coming quickly have started to trigger, in me, overwhelm and doubt. And it’s really been a humbling experience which has rapidly had me reflecting and empathizing with my children when they express their fears about the move or ask questions that I detect are seeking comforting answers.
I’ve really been doing many small things for many months to help transition my kids through the change and I thought that by sharing some of my insights, might help others of you facing the same changes. So this one is for you if you and your family are facing a move of house or an even bigger relocation to a new town, city or even country. Note that these are my personal insights, they may work for you, they may not. Like everything with Girl Empowered, take what you love, leave what you don’t and trust that you will know what is right for you and your family if you allow yourself space to listen.
So here goes:
- Give it time: We’ve known for several months that we are re-locating in December, however, without alarming our kids we began discussing the idea of a change in a very general sense probably about 12 months ago. I wove the concept into general conversation or took opportunities when others moved away to highlight the fact that one day it would be our turn. It wasn’t about alarming them, but with my eldest being a real creature of comfort, it was improtant to give him another way of thinking about our home town. That one day the time would come for us to move on, just like others had, and that we would be ok.
- Give thought to how you will announce the move: My husband and I talked about this and given that our family dinners are the place we often have informal family meetings (and food always has a way of making things better) we agreed that we’d tell them together over a family favourite meal and give them all an opportunity to discuss it.
- Give other important people in their lives the heads up: A week or so after talking to the kids, I let their class teachers and close friends parents know. Firstly so school and important people there could give emotional support if the topic came up and secondly to allow their little friends to get used to the idea should they talk about it the way kids do.
- Stay positive: The idea of the move was full of mixed reactions. We’ve really tried to listen with empathy and validate feelings of uncertainty however we’re not dwelling on what we are missing out on by moving. We’re choosing to frame our conversations around what we will gain by the move. I’ve found acknowledging some of the changes that I will experience and my feelings towards them with my eldest have helped him see the normality of the feelings. showing how I reframe this to focus on the flip side of the negatives has began to help him do the same.
- Make them part of the process: It’s been helpful to include the kids in our conversations around the process of moving and the home to which we are re-locating. Being part of this process has helped create a little excitement rather than fear of the unknown.
- Continuity of Learning: Not only am I starting over at a new school but so are my kids. So I’ve arranged for a transition day at the end of this year with the option for them to just visit with a walk through, or stay in a class for the day. Part of this process will be practicing (at home) conversations to help make friends and meet new people even if you’re feeling nervous. (Lots of this is covered in Powerful Me).
- Ask them how to close the chapter: I asked each of my kids how they would like to say farewell to their friends. One of them said they’d like a sleepover with their closest friends and the other two wanted a play with ALL their friends at the local Splash Pad. Despite the busy-ness of the moment, I have said yes to all the requests. Again, I’ll keep you updated post event….probably with a survival wine in hand.
- Choose how you end your chapter: This was a no-brainer for me. Given that my husband and I will be the emotional rocks for our kids through the move and understanding the emotional rollercoaster I’ve already been on, it is important for me to close this chapter in a fun and memorable way. An informal, long lunch with delicious food, wine and lots of my local favourites (people) is on the cards…again I’ll keep you posted.
So that’s it for now. But maybe writing your thoughts down needs to be number 9 on the list, as writing this blog post feels awesome…..I’m off to pack boxes.
Lots of love, chat soon,