I’ve heard it said that moving is one of life’s most stressful experiences. I didn’t really understand that, having moved many times in my life. Of course, that was before I had kids. Even so, I imagined that the stress of moving a family revolved around being in a new environment – new schools, new friends, etc. For us this wasn’t an issue given that the kids aren’t in school or daycare and I’m still a part of the various networks of friends and mothers that I’ve built up over the years.
What I didn’t appreciate was how much I would be unavailable to my children, and how much that would affect them. DD in particular is still expressing some rather obnoxious behaviours but I think we’re starting to get a handle on the attachment issues that lie at their core. I’m also actively figuring out ways to get some one-on-one time with DS during the week.
The move also took a huge toll on me and DH. We were scrapping alot, and the emotional exhaustion of that added to my burden. I find it interesting that I often don’t realize I’m stressed until I suddenly break down over something that might seem relatively innocuous. I mean, you’d think one would anticipate that packing a whole home alone (while your husband is away on business) while caring for two young children, starting a new homeschooling program, and teaching a five-part university lecture series all in one month just might be alot to handle! And yet in my stoic way I just plod along…and truth be told there were daily infusions of happiness at being in our new home. But I noticed that I was hermiting myself. Sure, we didn’t have phone or internet for almost a week, but I have not been in touch with many people – including some mama friends that I normally spend time with regularly. I kept thinking it was because I didn’t have any time, but I noticed after a while that it became a downward spiral situation – the less time I was spending with my support network the harder I found it to reconnect. Sounds eerily like depression.
I decided after this past (particularly emotional) weekend that it was time to mentally finish up the move. Yes, there are many items that don’t have a home yet. One big wall in the living room is primed and the whole living area is a mess because there are several other walls that need painting, too. But mentally I am done. Time to get back to living, I said to myself. This morning I had to cancel my lecture due to babysitter failure and suddenly a bright fall day loomed ahead of me. I decided to take the kids out on a day trip somewhere, and was fortunate to find that my friend and her 5 year old boy (a good playmate for both my kids as he’s built like a brick wall and can handle anything DS throws at him) were free. So we headed off to a local bird sanctuary, conveniently located next to one of my favorite pumpkin farms.
Despite a traffic accident that closed down a major highway and prolonged our journey by over an hour, it was a lovely day. I got to chat with a friend for a long time and the kids were happy to have a friend involved in their day, too. It was gorgeous early fall weather, the air crisp and cool, the sun shining warmly, and signs of autumn everywhere. We enjoyed a lovely walk through the sanctuary, followed by a picnic lunch. On the way out we stopped at the farm, where I fell into a Martha Stewart trance and bought a handful of decorative little pumpkins and a shoe-box sized bale of hay with which to decorate my front stoop. On the way home were were able to pick DH up from work, and when we dropped off my friend she gave us two small bicycles that her son and niece had outgrown.
I’m already noticing a difference in the way I parent this evening. I’m more patient, able to withstand DD’s more obnoxious tone of voice and demeanor, and enjoying my children again. I’m feeling more organized, and less stressed. I’m looking forward to continuing in this vein and reconnecting with my friends and communities.