Our big move is set for Labor Day weekend. That’s when my girlfriend and I will merge our two mini-families into one.
There’s no shortage of stress associated with the move, but we’ve been careful to make it smooth for our two boys. Frankly, I think I’m most stressed about the physical move: The act of actually moving stuff from one place to the next. I’ve always hated moving, and the friends who helped me last time I relocated still curse me for all the unnecessary junk I couldn’t part with and that they had to lug upstairs.
I think our families are a tad concerned as well, largely because there are two little boys involved. I can entirely understand this. Some of it is unavoidable, and I think there will be a period of transition for the boys.
We’ve done as much as we could to ensure a smooth move for the kids. My girlfriend’s son is 3, so changing schools won’t be a problem. He will swap day care centers, but we found an excellent one that he took to on his visit, and we were able to get a spot after a couple of months on the waiting list.
After he settles in, we think he’ll benefit greatly from having a more permanent home: He currently spends time with me and my son, with his dad, and with his mom at their place. It’s a bit much for a 3-year-old, and I think this is one of the most difficult things for the child of a single parent who dates: A lack of a sense of place. The transition to a new family setting may be a bit unnerving for a child, but if the home is loving and caring — which this one will be — it is a huge benefit in the end. Both boys, I think, will be more secure in having a place where they belong.
It’s a slightly different set of hurdles for my 9-year-old son. His mom recently remarried, so he already has a stepbrother and will have two homes where he spends equal time. (My girlfriend’s son spends considerably less time at his dad’s house). So, how have we worked on that transition?
Talk, talk, talk. My son and I have spoken at length about the move, and he genuinely looks forward to it. We have involved him in all the decisions, including how to rearrange furniture — what to get rid of, what to keep. We made it clear his space will be his, and we are going to add some posters and personal items.
We also made it clear there will be time alone. That is, I will haveÃ‚Â time to be alone with my son, and my girlfriend with her son. But this is where the balancing act lies, because it is important to us that we live and play as a family, not as two mini-families that simply share a household. I know parents in similar situations who continue to parent their own child separately after moving in with their partner and their child. This essentially creates a sort of sub-family within the new family. For us, it will be important to genuinely become a blended family. After all, and despite the age difference, the boys get along well and my son has taken to the role of being an older brother looking out for the little one.
So, we will mix it up. But we feel it is most important that, despite alone time with our boys, there is more together time as a family. What do you think?