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Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father’s Perspective

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father's Perspective
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Guest Post by The One & Only Frank O’Grady–Retired Firefighter, Solar Entrepreneur, My Right-Hand Man, Husband, Best Friend, Partner-in-Adventure, Father to Our Children and Love of My Life…

Authored by Frank O’Grady

Our immigration to Mexico was my dream, not my children’s.

We moved here when they were eight years old and, in my eyes, still babies in so many ways. 

Their faith in us was paramount to us having a successful move to Mexico—a part of Mexico where we were not going to be able to bounce back easily over the border to whatever perceived comfort zone that might have existed. 

My dream for Liam, Mairead and Katie was for a life that was not completely centered on commercialism and struggling to keep our heads above watera life without the incessant chasing and worrying about dollars in a world gone mad with the need to buy and consume just a little bit more than can be reasonably earned…a life with involved parents, instead of home just being a place everyone gathered at night after a day or days at work.

I knew there was a different and a better way and like with many of my other dreams I laid plenty of groundwork.

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father's Perspective

Retirement at 50?!

We did not just pick up and leave a life in the USA on some fantastical mid-life crisis.

We prepared our children in a multitude of ways with many experiences in and about Mexico well before we even broached the subject of moving here.

Katie was only a few months pregnant and Mairead and Liam were fishing with us on the Sea of Cortez out of a tiny aluminum boat. 

We journeyed down the Baja Peninsula, stopping at the same restaurants, rest areas and hotels…our twins hugged and held and squeezed and cheeks pinched by every female worker in these stops.

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father's Perspective

Redheaded Twins in Mexico Make for Fun Rest Stops!

A love for Mexico was born in our twins from a very early age…

Moving to Mexico With Children, A Father's Perspective

Little ducklings following Katie down to the water’s edge~Camp Gecko, Bahia de Los Angeles

As they became more aware of the differences in their country of birth and the country we vacationed in, they eagerly looked forward to our journeys to a place where we all felt very much at home, a place where we had the time to be together as a family instead of constantly trying to meet an agenda or drive across a city of two million to get somewhere.

Moving to Mexico with Children~A Father's Perspective

Jumping for Joy!

It felt as if every time that we went to Mexico that we were actually going home.

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father's Perspective

Driving lessons on the Baja Peninsula!

At a certain point in our careers, Katie and I both realized that continuing to support our lifestyle in Southern California was going to essentially condemn us to many decades of work so that someday, when we were close to 80, we might have a paid off house that we hadn’t had much time to enjoy because we were constantly working to pay for it.

When Liam and Mairead were around seven we really started talking to and involving them in our plans to move to Mexico. The existing paradigm wasn’t working for us emotionally, physically or mentally…we knew there was a better way and we were determined and committed to create it together, as a couple and as a family.

We viewed this move through our children’s eyes…how they would experience it as 8-year-olds, as 10-year-olds, as teenagers. We knew that we had an age window to move successfully with them and to do it as a team.

I retired from firefighting at 50, Katie from teaching at 44 and with our 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old chocolate lab, we immigrated to Mexico in 2012.

Our children speak, think and navigate life in two languages and through the lens of two cultures. 

They know that their lives are not just their parent’s dreams and creations, but also their own evolving adventure and story.

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father's Perspective

San Pancho, Nayarit *photo by Shannon Hughes*

They know and see that living a life with intent is a choice.

For more on our family’s move to Mexico: 

Moving to Mexico~ A Wife & Mom’s Perspective

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Lori January 27, 2015, 9:53 pm

    I love this post! We are coming to SMA for the same reasons you mentioned, but I think we may have waited too long (as you also mentioned). Our youngest daughter (8) would gladly head off on a permanent adventure, and our son (10) could be swayed, but our oldest daughter (13) has her heart set on going to high school in our hometown. We’re planning for a year in SMA, but who knows? 🙂 See you in el Jardin!

    • Katie O'Grady January 27, 2015, 9:56 pm

      I totally get it Lori!

      Looking forward to our paths crossing and our little ones meeting up!

      Cheers,

      Katie

  • Daniel Reveles January 27, 2015, 10:41 pm

    As I have said, you have the living material of a GREAT book. Read a similar book by Ann and Art Buchwald just to get the rhythm. You’ll have a best seller on your hands!

    • Katie O'Grady January 27, 2015, 10:51 pm

      I’m going to have to take all of this encouragement to heart!
      Thank you Daniel!
      Katie & Frank
      🙂

  • Ulises January 28, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Such a nice post that says so many things that reverberate with me. Will be looking forward to the video. Thank you.

    • Katie O'Grady January 28, 2015, 3:29 pm

      Hello Ulises,

      So happy you enjoyed the post. Even more powerful I believe will be what our children share…As they say,”out of the mouths of babes”….

      ~Katie 🙂

  • Survivor January 28, 2015, 1:24 pm

    What a well-written piece! Our now 12 year old son often makes comments about how much he enjoys his life, although I wonder how much he remembers about the good old USA since he was 4 when we moved here. He even compares our rural homesteading life to the town boys here in Mexico and finds it so much richer. I know your children will have a fuller life here and will one day thank you for it!

    • Katie O'Grady January 28, 2015, 3:28 pm

      Hello Survivor,

      Thank you so much for the nice compliment. I just took a look at your blog and look forward to reading more!

      And you are right…..our children are for sure having a fuller and richer life, know that we have their best interests at heart, and that part of that is living this “out of the box” life that we wonderfully do.

      Cheers,

      Katie

  • Donna Quinton January 28, 2015, 1:59 pm

    Love the read Katie and Frank, As always…. you get it!

    • Katie O'Grady January 28, 2015, 3:19 pm

      Thank you Donna!

      Nice to know there’s other folks out there that get it too! 🙂

      ~Katie & Frank

  • Frank November 1, 2015, 11:06 pm

    So nice to read this again and reflect….I had forgotten writing it.
    Thank you for being a dreamer, too, baby.

  • Lorena Robinson December 18, 2015, 7:57 am

    Very interesting story! I am happy that when my husband and I had to move abroad my daughter was just 1 year old, so she couldn’t feel the change. Sometimes for the kids it’s much more difficult to adapt to the new place than for us. Greetings

    • Katie O'Grady December 18, 2015, 8:08 am

      Hi Lorena,

      I think “feeling the change” is good in some regards…allows one to reflect, compare, appreciate, be ever present in the moment.

      Cheers,

      Katie

  • VANESSA May 25, 2016, 6:04 pm

    I love the reasons as to why you moved. Im not a city person and i dont want my children to be consumed by material things and lifestyles that have no real substance either. But you were prepared for that trip. Im somewhat scared of Mexico. Ive been there only once. Our move wouldnt be much of a choice. Did you save a lot then buy land? Do you not work at all? How safe is the environment?

    • Katie O'Grady May 25, 2016, 10:36 pm

      Hi Vanessa,

      I asked my hubby Frank to chime in on this since you commented on the guest piece by him…Here is his response:

      “We did not buy land, we very much like the freedom of renting at this point in our lives..it is just too large of a country to commit permanently to one area. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t in our financial capability to purchase at that point.

      Any large decision in life is scary. Moving to Mexico may or may not be scary but change is stressful. For us it was very natural since we had spent so much time vacationing in Mexico. We had a pretty good idea of what we were in for.

      You have to be aware, like anywhere else, but millions of people live in many areas of Mexico quite safely.
      There are no guarantees in life and bad things happen, I made a living off of those things as a professional firefighter.

      Yes, we work. Katie online and myself with solar. However, we also have a modest pension from our careers.

      In this environment I feel as safe as I have anywhere. That being said, I also keep my eyes open just like I did in the the USA.”

      If you have any other questions that I might be able to answer Vanessa, I am more than happy to.

      Best,

      Katie

  • Tina Ernspiker April 16, 2018, 3:53 pm

    Nice post! We retired to Mexico at ages 33 😉 Only because my husband became disabled at a young age. Becoming disabled wasn’t a choice but… moving to Mexico was! And it was a great choice! We moved here in 2013 with four kids, youngest was 5 months. This October we will be here for 5 years! Time flies 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story! Tina

    • Katie O'Grady April 19, 2018, 10:17 am

      Hi Tina!

      Thank you for sharing part of your story!

      What part of this beautiful country are you raising your children in?

      Saludos,
      Katie:-)

  • Sascha April 19, 2018, 8:13 am

    I feel so strongly about all the reasons you mentioned to leave the soul-destroying consumer culture. I am a solo mother & a meditation facilitator and I am so happy you made this webaite & have shared your experiences. We need to think about our children’s futures outside of the box. I applaud your vision, foresight and your ability to make it happen. Many blessings to your sweet family. 😊

    • Katie O'Grady April 19, 2018, 9:32 am

      Thank you so much, Sascha, for your kind and supportive words.

      It is always so nice to cross paths in this world with like-visioned folks.

      Best Regards,

      Los O’Gradys in Mexico 🙂

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