Relocating a family


Hello. My husband has a job offer that would require our family to relocate, possibly multiple times. It’s a good offer and great job opportunity. It fits well with his skills and interests. I’m a bit torn. I never really adjusted very well to our last relocation. I have made some good friends and I like our home and our church, but there are several things about where we live that I simply don’t like. If it was just my husband and I, we’d leave, but we have children to consider. Our oldest child will start college next September and wants to attend a college in the state where we live now. But it is $$$$$ and this job would help us afford to send him there. Our youngest won’t be out of the home for many years.

What are your thoughts on relocating with a family? Did you move your family? Did your family move when you were young or in college?


My dad is retired military. We moved a lot. They actually have moved 4 times in the time my sister and I started college. It’s not all that big a deal. Especially in college.
I say go for it!


Thank you for sharing your experience.


My family moved a lot when I was a kid since my dad was in the Navy. I was a shy kid, so it was hard for me to make new friends each time we moved, but in a way it was probably good for me too. As an adult, starting from when I was 18 and moved 500 miles from home for college, I have made several big moves, including two cross country moves while pregnant. I really don’t find it so difficult, I guess because I am experienced. My kids were upset about moving to the west coast when we did, but they adapted pretty well and admit that it was a lot better than they thought it would be. My oldest, who will be a senior in highschool next year, is already getting that restless feeling of wanting to be somewhere new, doing new things, meeting new people. I think that feeling was inevitably there for me everytime before I made a big move.

I’d say give it a try if this is an opportunity that your husband is excited about.


My husband’s army and we’ve been married seven years and moved four times (and have four kids). There’s been times where I really didn’t want to move, but it wasn’t up to us. It all works out and it’s makes our family a lot closer.


Dh has been in the service for 17 years, married 18, moved 9 times, not counting deployments, the last one just recently and dd1 is graduating in May. We always go together unless it is a restricted tour. A few times one of us has gone ahead a week or so to be ‘advance party’ so to speak when we were going to a new post, to be there when the movers get there, enroll the kids in school etc.

I will admit this move was hard on dd1 due to different state and grad requirements and that was a tough decision to make, but the city where the girls went to school was awful, I mean awful. That was one of our reasons for me not staying there with the kids till end of school year and having dh come by himself. These are the last few months before dd1 leaves for college (she is starting in the summer term). We wanted to be together.

Moving has it’s downsides but the strength gained in making it through makes the family even stonger. Plus we have the added bennie of a great school district here. Much safer/lower crime rate area at the new place. You get to meet all kinds of people, learn new things. Plus you grow as you move in faith and become a little more dependent on each other, really seeing how much each helps the other. I think it’s a little more obvious to me the blessings God has given us when we are like this. I’m often a gotta hit me over the head with it to see it kinda person.

Saying a prayer for you & your family


Former military spouse here. DH had been in the military 2 years when we got married and was in for 23 years after that. In that time we had 8 different postings, all over Canada. It wasn’t always easy but I found the kids adjusted better than I did.

Our last posting occurred just after DD graduated from high school. Although we were moving back to the Base where she’d been born, we left her behind because she was due to start university in that town only 6 weeks after we moved and we could see no logic in moving her with us and then having to spend thousands to take her back a few weeks later. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, much harder than sending her two brothers off to university and work. A few weeks before that move she looked at me and said “I don’t know if I’m ready to leave the nest.” “You’re not leaving the nest, the nest is leaving you.”

The one thing I learned was to get involved ASAP upon arrival in a new town. Except for our first two postings, the minute I got to a new Base I’d volunteer to be a reader for my parish. I have also served on parish councils, liturgy committees and as EMHC. I’d also find something I really loved to do and get involved in that in some way. For me that’s theatre, so I’d save enough to get season tickets to any local theatre or, as I did in this town, joined the local amateur group. I was in a few productions but settled to working backstage, usually as stage manager, assistant director or even as director.

My one coping mechanism is not getting emotionally involved. I’ve found that once I leave a place, I leave EVERYTHING behind, including any friends I’ve made over the years. I’m not sure if I passed on that trait to my kids but I remember the day that I realized that each time we were due to move they picked a fight with their friends – it’s so much easier to leave behind people you’re mad at.

The moves affected each child differently. DD considers my hometown HOME. That’s probably due to the fact that we were posted to a Base close to home from the time she was 10 mo. old to 3 1/2 and she developed a close relationship with both sets of grandparents in that time.

DS1 considers our next to last posting HOME. He went back there for university (also his sister’s alma mater) and lives there now.

DS2 is HOME wherever he hangs his hat.

Although we’ll have been living in this town 11 years in July, DH & I consider our hometowns home (we grew up in communities just 6 miles apart, he in the town, I in the village). We head back there as often as possible and hope to retire there when DH finally retires in a couple of years. Water is what draws us back to my hometown. I grew up on the banks of a bay and I miss the salt water & the beach. My brother and I inherited the family home and property so it wouldn’t be too expensive to put up a small house on that beachfront property.

I say, go for it and make the best of the experience. Having a happy & fulfilled husband will help ease the transitions.


LoL! I did the same thing.
But there are still a few friends scattered about the US. They figured my plan out :wink: and refused to let me get away.


I see lots of military families writing their experiences. Thank you. We are not with the military, but it almost feels like we might be entering a similar mind set of going whereever the company tells you to go. That is a different mindset from what we are accustomed. Neither of us moved as children, and most people around us now have always lived here. We moved here expecting to live here permanently, but not much of what we planned turned out as we expected.

What types of things help children get settled in new areas, especially if frequent moves limit what the family brings? Are there any special items that always moved with you?


Yes, that is what I feel. The thought of him going off to college was hard enough!


Thank you. We need prayers.


LoL- everything always moved.
One thing that helped my sister and I was my family established a routine for packing and unpacking.
The bedroom stuff is always the last stuff on the truck and the first stuff off. My sister and I would spend the first unpacking day unpacking and setting up our rooms. We established our new area and that helped a lot. My dad would do my parents’ bedroom and my mom would do the kitchen. It really helped a lot to have those constants in moving.


You could call the chamber of commerce or visitor center of the town you’re moving to. Ask them for any information on the area – activities, festivals, historical places – and get the kids excited about the area they’re moving to.


We in the Canadian military are lucky because our weight allowance on a move usually allowed us to bring everything and since they moved us we didn’t have to lift a finger – the movers did everything.

The only times we were limited were when we went to an isolated posting where the MQs were furnished with everything from linens to pots and pans. Then we had to decide what to put in storage. The first time it was easy, we’d only been married a year and I just made sure I took my pots and pans (good move since all they provided were cheap aluminum pots). The second isolated posting was more difficult because we had the kids. We shipped their favorite toys and books and bedroom linens so if they had a favorite quilt, pillow etc, it moved with them. The third isolated posting was the one when we left DD behind and by this time the boys were pros at deciding what to leave behind, they were just happy to be returning to the isolated posting we’d left 3 years before.

Again, the stuff I always made sure I had with me were my pots and pans & anything I didn’t think I’d be able to find where I was going.

One gal I knew at this latest posting was bent on putting her own personal stamp on her MQ, I think she painted it every 2 months. Putting new color(s) on the living/dining room & entrance walls was the cheapest way to decorate. Unfortunately my decorating consisted of putting a colorful quilt on the sofa and leaving my books lying around. :smiley:


We moved several times while on Active duty then looked forward to settling down when I got out. However We have had to move twice since then. The first move was very hard on the family since we moved away from extended family and went to a place that was not very friendly. It was a big city with lots of crime even in the suburbs and drivers were very rude. The extra cost of living ate up all of my significant raise. The internet said the cost of living was only about 10% higher but the housing prices were more than twice as high for the same size home. We then moved to another city that has been great. We are a bit further from down town and love it here. We found a beautifull small church a couple of miles from our house and have really settled in. The big difference is I did much more research on the place we are living now. If you want advice on packing and stuff like that say so. After seven moves including two with kids I have a lot of advice on what not to do.


We are not military, but have moved several times and over great distance during our marriage because of educational and job opportunities. Each move brings its own challenges and rewards. Our 3 kids are close in age~something which has helped them get through the moves as they always have each other for company initially.

My first step in a new place is to take on as many parish/school/sports/community service/volunteer opportunities as I can manage to get myself and my kids networked and meeting people as quickly as possible. You don’t meet people by sitting home staring at the 4 walls. Our kids have adapted beautifully–even when they haven’t been as enthusiastic up front about the prospect of a move.

In the end, the career moves have paid off for us professionally and financially. There have been costs too…distance from friends, family and familiar locales. But we have made dozens of new friends and been exposed to travel, recreational and lifestyle opportunities we never would have experienced without a willingness to try something new. I also feel my kids have developed some valuable skills in terms of establishing relationships and adapting to new situations–things that will help them when they go on to college, take a new job or have to move someday on their own. Having experienced so many wonderful adventures, we feel our lives have been immeasurably enriched by our moves and the lessons we learned through them.


Thank you for sharing that. As I wrote, we are not military so we won’t have some of the support systems that military life might have.

Thank you also again to those of you with military experience who shared. Most civilian jobs don’t move as often as military jobs, so we haven’t been through what you go through all the time. Also, even with the re-location, the new company would expect my husband to travel quite a bit so we would be sometimes on our own as military families often are.

We have much to think about. Thank you.


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