Sometimes we find ourselves doing things we don't want to do. As children, we have the idea that once we're older we can do anything we want. But this isn't always the case. There are plenty of circumstances that restrict our freedom of action. Some of these restrictions come as a result of our own decisions. Sometimes our circumstances are dictated by the actions of others. And there are times that fate or luck or the vagaries of life press us into doing things we don't want to do.
I'm moving back to Idaho. This is not my first choice of places to live. Not that there's anything wrong with Idaho. I just like living outside Philadelphia better.
But sometimes it isn't about me and what's best just for me (although I acknowledge that this move will probably be good for me, in the circumstances).
Stability and Support for My Son
One of the best reasons to move to Idaho at this time is because it will offer stability and support for my son. There's been a lot of upheaval in his life recently, and a settled place to live would help him emotionally. He can make more permanent friends, and find support from my parents.
Because I travel between two and four times a year to attend conferences related to my work and career, my son needs support when I'm not here. Up until now, we've managed because he's been able to skip school some days or skip extracurricular activities and practices when I'm not around. He's getting old enough now, though, that missing events and classes like that isn't an option. Living near my parents will allow him to maintain his regular schedule even when I'm out of town.
Sanity for Me
It's not entirely about my son, although his health and stability are of top concern to me. I'm also counting on this move being essential to my own sanity and mental/emotional health. I could stay here and travel less. But I would probably go nuts. I am not the world's most motherly mother. I admire women who can make mothering their lives. But I won't join their ranks.
Moving to Idaho provides support and help to me. I'll be able to get away to meet up with people in my online community and make good work connections. Plus, it's a time for me to hang out with friends and cut a little bit loose. I'd be sad and stressed indeed without these trips. And that wouldn't help anyone.
Maintaining Our Quality of Life
My son and I had a talk about moving to Idaho since it falls into the category of doing things you don't want to do for him has well. He's excited to live near Grandma and Papa, but he's not excited about starting at another new school and having to make new friends.
However, just before the new year, I significantly cut back on my freelance workload. My husband's job, with higher pay and benefits, allowed me to make changes. I began spending more quality time with my son, and we were able to do more together. That dual-income lifestyle is at an end. While my income alone is enough to support my son and me in Pennsylvania, it's not enough for us to maintain the same quality of life.
I was upfront with my son about the reality of the situation. He doesn't want me to work more, and he likes the freedom we have to travel and do fun things. I sat down with him and showed him the financial scenarios that could result from staying here in Pennsylvania and moving to Idaho. With Idaho's lower cost of living, we decided that was the place to go if we wanted to maintain a certain lifestyle without the need for me to work extra to make money.
So, even though neither of us is jumping up and down with joy, we are confident in the decision.
Sometimes we end up doing things we don't want to do. Even as adults. Sometimes those are the things that make the most sense — and will have the biggest net positive result in the long run.