I Love Change. My Kids Don’t.
When I was little, I would rearrange the furniture in my bedroom every month or so. I can remember the excitement of coming up with a new scheme, the physical anticipation of sleeping in my bed with a whole new viewpoint, of waking up that first morning and momentarily feeling a little lost and confused as I found my inner compass again. I can vividly recall changing out the posters on my walls, moving picture frames around, even flipping my pillow over to the fresh side was a welcome moment of change.
It was the only space in my life I had some semblance of control over (my parents weren’t letting me paint the walls red or anything) and I twisted it and turned it as often as I could. I craved the change. And it’s an attribute that has managed to stay with me for most of my adult life.
I love change. I truly believe it’s the only thing that propels life forward. I like to change my skincare products. I like to lease cars so I can change every few years. I am a consultant and the best thing about it is that I get to work on new things all the time and no two days are the same. I am always house-hunting…much to my husband’s chagrin. Sometimes in another state. Occasionally in another country. I thrive on change. Too much of the same old makes me itchy.
Fast-forward 25 years or so from my early redecorating days.
Little D is five and has had the same bedroom for the past two years. So one day a few months ago we thought it would be fun to switch it up a bit. Move the bed under the window, change where her dresser sits, rearrange some stuffed animals. I could almost feel the excitement of being a kid again. I was so giddy to show her how much fun it would be to rethink her space. I told her with excitement how cool it would be to sleep in a new spot and wake up to a new view. So we tucked her in that night and turned out the light and went about our evening. Minutes later, the whimpering started and it quickly graduated into full-blown crying. Little D didn’t like the new layout. She wasn’t excited to sleep under the window. She did not want anything – not one stuffed animal – to change. At all.
So we moved it all back.
That’s the life of my 5-year-old. Stability is king. She wants the same yogurt every morning with her multi-vitamin and her pink spoon laid out and waiting for her. She wants to brush her teeth in my bathroom in the morning and her bathroom at night. She wants me to pick her up from school between 3:30pm – 4pm every day. No earlier because it wouldn’t give her enough time to play on the yard. No later because it would make her feel left behind. She wants her Friday night movie and she doesn’t want it on Saturday. And she wants her bed right where it is, piled high with stuffed animals every night.
And as her mother, it’s my job to give her all that. To maintain schedules and predictability. To give her a sense of comfort and reliability and security…even when I am starving for less of the same.
So how does my nomadic nature fit in with the happily routine life my kids are longing for? Can it? Will it ever? I say yes…and no.
I need to create a sense of stability and comfort for my kids but they can (and should) also learn about adapting to new things…in baby steps.
Moving to a new house? Ok. Doable. Moving to a new country? Probably not the best idea. For now.
But the way I see it, as long as her bed stays in the exact same place, mine can move around just a little.
*tired of me using Pinterest quotes as images? sorry! this one was too perfect to pass up*