The Move Out
One of the hardest things to figure out when Divorcing when you have young children is how to handle the “Move Out” of the family home. For me I wanted to avoid my children being traumatized by them seeing their Dad move out which could be construed as “leaving them”. In fact leaving my children was the last thing I was doing. I had a picture in my mind of the children at the window crying as their Dad left (Maybe I watched one too many movies of this happening) In fact my thinking about this possible scene saddened me more the divorce itself.
The way I handled the Move was that on the moving day, I put my children in the car and we followed the Moving Van to my new home which was also going to be the home my children would share with me half the time. I felt by doing the Move this way, the children would not feel as if I was abandoning them (Which I certainly wasn’t)
I took items for the children’s new rooms such as posters, calendars, photos etc. in our car so that the children could decorate their new rooms while the Moving Van unloaded. I made a real effort for the children to see that our new home was “our” new home, and not just my new place. It seemed to work as the children seemed to have a good time decorating their new rooms and acclimated reasonably well
After moving in, I immediately tried to make my children feel as it was their home too. Although the next day I had to make several runs to the store to finish setting up our new home I allowed my older son to have a friend over on our second day in our new home. I allowed this because the sooner my children thought of this as “our new home” the smoother the adjustment to the new situation.
I have a friend who just moved into a new home after finally divorcing after two years of negotiation. She insisted on doing all the packing and the Move while the children were away on their Spring Break with their Dad. Even though her children were well aware of the impending divorce and move out, she thought packing and Moving in front of the children would be traumatic to them
She set up their rooms so they were all ready for them at their new home when they came back from Spring Break. Not packing until the children left for Spring Break however had the effect of turning “Moving Day” into “Moving Week” as she did not even start packing her own bedroom until after the children left for Spring Break. Although the children did not see her pack a single item, delaying the packing made the Move much more stressful for her and her friends who helped her move. Once her children left for Spring Break, she operated on just a few hours of sleep for several days in preparation for The Move.
Moving out of the Family Home can be highly emotional for the parent moving and the children. I am not sure there is really any right way to “Move Out” when you have young children, but it does take some considerable thought and planning on how you want to do it.
Feel free to share your “Move Out” stories, and any tips that could have to make it easier for the children and the parent moving out.