Migration’s take on a specific season of parenting, and why it’s surprisingly true.

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I often describe myself as a "mother in the middle". A term I dreamed up when reflecting on this new season my husband and I entered as our youngest child started school and the eldest moved into high school. 

These days, it’s less about sippy cups and solids, nap schedules and finger painting and more about after-school sports and impassioned discussions about why a Frank Green water bottle is essential. My kids aren’t yet "properly" grown up, but they aren’t little anymore either.

It’s an interesting new stop on the parenting path with unique challenges, which is one of the reasons we enjoyed the family-friendly comedy Migration so much.

The next action-packed original from the geniuses at Illumination (creators of fam-faves like Minions, Despicable Me, Sing and The Secret Life of Pets), Migration introduces us to the Mallard family: Mum Pam, Dad Mack and tween-age Dax and Gwen as they take flight (quite literally) from their idyllic home beside a safe and cosy New England pond in search of new experiences outside their comfort zone. 

The family tackles the familiar challenges we face as "parents in the middle": our kids growing up, the desire to see our kids soar (while still being part of their life), the pros and cons of taking risks (and the mixed results) and learning to let go, making it especially apt for this season of parenting.

'Tis the season to embrace adventure and expand our horizons.

The Mallard Family in Migration. Image: Universal Pictures.  


The Mallard family feel like they’re stuck in a rut. There’s a whole wide world outside their cosy pond and yet they haven’t had the chance to explore any of it. And I totally get it. 

Travelling with young children can be a living nightmare. But, as they get older, the balance tips towards more manageable and even "necessary for growth and connection as a family". That’s where Pam is at when she suggests they take the lead of their quacking contemporaries and head to Jamaica. While Mack is initially hesitant ("Migration, what a stupid idea!"), the rest of the family is onboard and, for Pam especially, the chance to adventure with her growing flock is worth any potential risk. 

While the trip doesn’t go EXACTLY to plan (think an epic directions fail, a stint in the big city and a murderous, duck-hating Chef), the experience bonds the Mallard family closer together. They learn new things about each other, deepen their relationships and take on the sticky situations as a family. 


Which, when you think about it, is kind of the ultimate outcome.

'Tis the season to learn to let go.

Just like in the Mallard family, two of my three kids are reaching the tween and teen years. And just like Mack and Pam, realising that our littles are not so little anymore comes with a whole host of emotions.

The desire to keep them close in safe, known surroundings (Mack) versus showing them life outside their own pond while they’re still part of our nest (Pam) is an all-too-familiar struggle faced by parents during this season. We want them to grow but not too fast and soar but not too far! Finding the sweet spot is tricky but necessary. 

As we watch the Mallard kids go from pond-dwellers to adventure makers, we also see them gain maturity and understanding about the world around them, while Mack in particular learns that he needs to back off and let Dax and Gwen experience the highs and lows of life.

'Tis the season to face our own fears.

We are acutely aware, as parents in the middle, of not passing our own fears onto our tweenage kids as they start to take their first steps outside the nest. It’s a constant source of tension between the Mallard parents as Pam becomes frustrated with Mack, who struggles to overcome his own fears to look at the bigger picture. 

In the words of Pam: "I don't wanna miss out on life because you're afraid to leave this pond! Is that a little scary? Sure. But, isn't it worth it?" Taking those steps towards a new season of life is scary.


Taking our kids on adventures where we no longer completely control the itinerary or what they’ll be doing while we are there, inviting their friends (who we might not actually know) into our homes and on our holidays, to become part of our lives, it’s new territory and it’s scary. 

But, as Mack learns after his daring rescue of imprisoned Macaw Delroy, assisted by Dax, facing our fears is sometimes the only way we can truly grow as people AND as parents!

'Tis the season to learn to embrace life (and its challenges).

The Mallard Family in Migration. Image: Universal Pictures.  


As is often the way with Illumination films, the best-laid plans of our main characters go awry, and of course, the results are hilarious (my kids haven’t stopped laughing at the Pigeon versus Duck sandwich battle in NYC), but they also remind us of a larger lesson: the best laid plans often don’t quite work the way we hoped. It’s how we handle that spanner in the works that really matters. 

Life with tweens and teenagers can be incredibly challenging. As the saying goes: "bigger kids, bigger problems" and that seems especially true as you realise that fretting about what puree to try next really didn’t matter in the light of current-day decisions like deciding when your child is old enough for social media. The Mallards' journey to Jamaica is certainly not linear. 

As Uncle Dan declares pretty early in proceedings: "We aren’t going to make it, are we?" but make it they do and the result is made almost sweeter knowing the challenges they faced to get there.

Migration is a must-watch for families, regardless of what season you’re currently in. We loved its humour, relatability and most of all, the discussions it helped create with our kids about our own family. It’s the perfect new release to cuddle up and enjoy during the fast-approaching school holidays.

Watch Migration, now available to buy on AMAZON Prime VideoApple TVFetchGoogle TV and YouTube Movies

Feature Image: Universal Pictures. 

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MAKE MOVIE NIGHT, FAMILY NIGHT. Get your flock together and watch this heart-warming family comedy at home. @migrationmovie #MigrationMovie