Last week was a big milestone for us – it’s been one year since we relocated to Houston! It was our 4th work-related relocation for my husband and I as a couple, and our first with children. In many ways the move was much the same as our previous three moves, but many ways it was different because we had to factor in the kids needs and wants into the move.
Having kids affected where we chose to live, the house, and location. If we didn’t have children we may have chosen to live in a trendier neighborhood in the city, in a smaller house, and closer to work. A short commute and easy access to dining, shopping, and entertainment were our priorities when looking for housing in our pre-children years.
Now that we have children our priorities are good schools, family friendly neighborhoods with sidewalks, parks and recreation centers, and a larger house. These needs outweighed our previous wants, so we live in the suburbs. It’s much further from my husband’s office than we ever have lived before (he has a commute that can take anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour depending on the traffic). We are far from downtown nightlife, sports arenas and other entertainment. But with kids we don’t have as much time for those activities anymore anyway. We are lucky if we can take a night out to go see a game or watch a concert a couple of times a year.
It was a very busy year for us. We tried to unpack by the first month or two after the move then started decorating and landscaping within the first six months. Those things are mostly done now, but there’s just a few more spaces I haven’t finished (most notable my master bedroom, why did I save that room for last?!).
The second half of the year we focused less on setting up our house and more on getting into a comfortable routine for the family. That included getting the kids signed up for sports, arranging more playdates, making friends for both the kids and us adults, and finding a babysitter we could trust so my husband and I could start to have monthly date nights.
I was honestly a little surprised how easy the move was for the kids. They immediately took to their new home and setting and never looked back. I think it has a lot to do with their young age (they were only 3 and 9 months at the time) and my husband and my attitude during the move. We were always very positive about the move and our new situation. In front of the kids I tried to only say happy and excited things about our new house and neighborhood. I think the good vibes went a long way towards helping our kids feel comfortable.
It also helps that we’re surrounded by great neighbors all with kids close in age to our kids’ ages. Our kids were able to make new friends immediately and start their new lives. My son started a three-days-a-week preschool about a month after the move which also helped him make friends and get settled quickly. I took my daughter regularly to the library story-time and to my Baby Boot Camp exercise class, which is where I met most of my mom friends and friends for my daughter.
In the last few months we’ve been getting more involved in additional activities for the kids. In the spring my son played t-ball on a team with kids in our neighborhood. I also signed both my kids up for gymnastics classes and swim lessons. They have enjoyed the weekly routine of going to these fun activities.
Last week my husband and I finally joined a gym nearby. We’ve always enjoyed exercising together and as I discussed in my post about managing stress, I really benefit from the positive mental and physical effects of regular exercise. I’ve been doing Baby Boot Camp classes several times a week, but my husband hasn’t had time to workout. I’m excited that we can now work out together again and get back to doing things for ourselves that make us feel happy and comfortable where we live.
We’ve noticed throughout our four moves that it takes us a year to like our new location, two years to begin to love it, and three years to never want to leave (this has happened every time). When I say it takes a year to like the new location I mean it takes a full year to completely accept that we have moved and will not be going back to our home that we loved. Then we have to allow ourselves to be open to accepting the new location. Opening up to the new location allows us establish good friendships and comfortable routines and start to really like (and dare I say begin to love?) our new location by the second year. And then by the end of the third year we love our new location so much we can picture staying there forever. Then every time, shortly after the three-year mark we’ve had the opportunity to move. Even though we have completely fallen in love with our city by this time, we have always accepted the opportunity to move…And I don’t regret a single move.
Sometimes it’s hard to know right away, even in the first year or two after the move, but eventually we always realize that we have been very fortunate and absolutely made the right choice with our decision to move. We end up loving our new city and home, and also the job has been a better opportunity and given us greater career and financial security.
Looking back on our latest move and first year here, I am pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it all went down. Prior to the move I was terrified about moving with children. Would it be hard on them? Hard on me? Would we all adjust well? Would my husband be ok with the commute?
In the end, the move and adjustment period was not much harder or longer with kids. In fact, I think having kids helped us make friends even more quickly and get into routines faster. I am sure it was easier than it could have been because the kids were so young, so I guess I’ll let you know if it gets harder to move with kids after our next move (p.s. don’t worry Mom, there is no next move planned now…or even in three years). 😉