Moving in together when you both have kids.
Taking the step of moving in together should never be an impulsive decision. If your guy also has kids, well things just got even more complicated.
Make no mistake, blending two families will test any relationship, if you have even the slightest doubts please don’t go there. Your freedom and independence is about to take a back seat. And good-bye to special nights staying over at each other’s homes and spontaneous dates. This is going to need some serious adjustment!
Let’s take a look at how you can blend your step-families and still keep your relationship as a top priority.
Moving in together when you both have kids
Have sleepovers and bring the kids!
The process itself doesn’t have to happen in one or two days. Start slowly and get everyone used to the idea. You can test drive the idea and see how everyone gets along. Before making this massive commitment and rushing out to sign a lease on a rental property, start having sleepovers at each other houses – with the kids.
Start familiarity and routine
After the kids begin getting used to each other, and hopefully getting along like a house on fire, you can start leaving a change of clothes and a toothbrush for the kids at his house, and vice versa.
Eventually when the time feels right, you all might agree that it seems silly to have two homes. Now might be the time to consider letting one of the homes go, or to start looking for a new one to share as your new home. When this happens, familiarity and routine will already be partially established.
Check in with your kids
Even if this new chapter feels right for you, it doesn’t mean the kids will automatically be on board too. Whether the kids move in full-time or just on the week-ends, it’s important to understand how they are feeling with your man and his kids playing such a large part of your life – it might feel like an invasion. That is why it’s critical to have your kids get to know your partner so they feel comfortable and can develop their own relationship with him.
If your children are used to living with just you, it is likely you all have a very close bond. Remember, they will not be used ‘sharing’ mum, especially with a man and his kids. Make sure you save time just for you and your kids, the way it used to be.
At the same time, your partner may have a hard time adjusting to that bond you share with your kids and feel resentment.
You could feel like you are being pulled in all directions!
Having open and honest communication will help set new guidelines so you can work towards setting up a new family unit everyone is comfortable with. There is no doubt this will take time to establish so be patient and keep working at it. Your partner (and yourself) will need to adjust to having to take a back seat once in a while.
If they move into your home
If you new step family is moving into your current home, it must be treated as though it’s just as much their home as it is yours. You need to make your new stepfamily feel as if they are not trespassing. Unless you make your home open and inviting for his kids, your partner may feel reluctant to putting in the effort to make this work.
On the other hand, it’s quite normal for your kids to feel invaded and pushed to the side, as if the new people are getting special treatment. It’s important you don’t forgo important previous links your kids have become used to. So just because your partner and his kids have moved in, make a point of maintaining the special things you and your kids have become used to.
Compare your kids with a cat … bear with me here I’ll explain. Kids also mark their territory by leaving clothes, socks, cups, toys etc scattered around the place. Kids bedrooms are an important part of their lives. Think about how a cat would react if you suddenly invited in a new puppy or kitten – they’ll go on the attack! Your kids are likely going to act in a hostile manner protecting their territory trying to dissuade your partner and his kids from moving in. Eventually, the situation will start to settle down and they’ll hopefully become close friends. In this situation even eventual buddies start off by acting in a hostile manner.
If you move in together when you both have kids, don’t neglect the special bond you have with your partner. It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits. Remember to spice things up from time to time, the internet is a gold-mine for new dating ideas in Australia.
Call in a favour every now and then from a friend or family member to mind the kids … then get out and enjoy your kids-free time.
Managing moving day
Keep everything as easy as possible throughout the day and arrange the support you need. It may include hiring a reputable company for a bond clean and/or getting friends or family to look after the kids during the main part of the move.
Recently when I moved house, I hired what I would describe as a kid-friendly removalists company in Brisbane. When I booked these guys, they made a special point of asking if we had kids. They then set up the kids rooms first and arranged their treasures to keep them occupied we moved everything into the rest of the house. Doing it this way made a huge difference helping the kids to establish their own space.
Shortly after moving in, explore your new neighbourhood. Scope out the local shops, sporting venues and other communities you or your kids may be able to join. Taking the enormous step in combining your families will require regular maintenance as your kids grow older and develop into various life stages.