As single parents, we daily make decisions that affect multiple stakeholders. Most of them are easy. Sometimes one comes along that isn’t so easy, especially when you are trying to stay altruistic in a potentially self-seeking situation.
Occasionally I employ the virtual pages of TC Jewfolk to initiate a dialogue about some of these more difficult decisions. Though topics generally mirror my own single parent experiences, I’m going to pretend that today’s issue is separate from my personal journey. With that in mind, I’ll broaden the topic beyond my own internal contemplations.
First I’d like to talk to the Minnesota born and bred, like me (we’ll get to you transplants in a minute). Assuming none of my readers are under the age of, say, ten, you’ve spent decades establishing your roots in our fine, if not perplexingly cold, city. You have your family, your friends, your job, and favorite hang out places. If you’re a parent, you’re likely even more entrenched. Your kid’s have their friends, their school, possibly their grandparents, and the only life they know. And adding the wrinkle of being a single parent, your kids may also have their other parent here. Maybe that entrenchment isn’t a bad thing, maybe it’s even a good thing. But does that entrenchment blur the ability to recognize or seek out non-Minnesota life opportunities of a more permanent nature? It always has for me.
Hypothetically, while deep in entrenchment, say something causes you to consider relocating outside of Minnesota. This could be for any number of reasons, such as:
- Job opportunity
- Ex-communication (I guess for us it’s called Cherem)
- Fugitive/escaped prison
- Search for Loch Ness monster
Regardless of the circumstance, you could be faced with the conundrum:
- Relocate, and leave the kids behind with their other parent, friends, school, etc.
- Relocate, and take the kids with you, away from their other parent, friends, school, etc.
- Don’t relocate, because it could be too much disruption to your children
My primary question on this topic is if you think it is selfish to move for reasons of job opportunity, love, or a passion to find Loch Ness, knowing the impact it could have on your children? And how do any of the following bullets (I do love bullet points) affect that level of selfishness:
- The kid’s age: pre-school versus grade school versus middle/high school
- Ex-spouse’s ability to care for children full time
- Relocating allowing you to financially provide better for your family
- Relocating providing you an opportunity for long term happiness (read: relationship)
- Other places aren’t so perplexingly cold
And I’d like to hear from some transplants out there also. While I’ve met plenty of people that have moved here either when single or with their spouse or spouse and kids, I’ve only met one person who moved cross-country as a single parent, away from family and friends. If you fall under the latter category, how did you do it, why did you do, and would you do it again?
For now I’d like to avoid the topic of what to do when arriving at a new place, such as getting involved with the Jewish community, finding the right neighborhood and school district, frequency of visits back to Minnesota, etc. Maybe we’ll cover that in a future article. For now I’m interested in hearing about what and why you would move away from the place you grew up.
I also wonder if there is a Jewish perspective on this. Obviously keeping family close is important to our people. But pursuing passions, success, or happiness is not exactly discouraged either.
Minnesota is a great place, a wonderful place to grow up, a good place to work, and a terrific place to bring up children. It’s also perplexingly cold, and it’s not the only great place in this country or around the world. What would make you pack your bags and catch the next train (even if that train isn’t leaving for a year or two) out of town?
And I apologize to my children for calling them “stakeholders”.