How quickly things can shift.


Snort and Coconut love their grandparents, but live near none of them. On our recent trip to Country A, my mom and my stepdad separately offered to buy a house if we moved back to that country. I won’t go into the curious mix of feelings those sorts of statements prompt in me, not now anyway, but.


Earlier in the spring TMD’s dad & partner, and mom & husband, (four grandparents, keep up kids, it’s the age of the modern family) had cause to come up to our house and help us. These issues are always related to my health, or driving an entourage to the airport, etc. So after a lot of interaction with them, we then had two solid weeks with my family. That’s a whole lotta grandparent, and it sure was nice.

TMD grew up in a city about three hours from where we live now; all of her immediately family (with the exception of her brother, who actually lives ten minutes from us) still live in that city. The first time I visited it, almost eleven years ago, I remember pronouncing, ‘I will NEVER want to move to this place, so I hope you don’t have that expectation.’ She replied that she’d spent her whole life trying to get OUT of that place, to move to The Big City (where we did move, and have a good life, for seven years before moving out into our current place in the ‘country’), and there were no worries about her wanting to move back to surburbia.

Here we are now. It was all my idea, my saying, ‘Maybe we should move to Suburbia.’ There are so many reasons to do so, not least of which is how important our grandparents were to us growing up. My grandmother was the defining force in my life. And while my children sadly live across the world from MY family, they still have a lot of family over here that love them desperately and want to see them more.

Then, of course, the other reasons. We want to move to a place in the southwest eventually, but this is a good middle stepping ground. We want to move to a house, anyway. I would have people around to help on bad days. I would have TMD’s mum to help with the kids as they grow. We plan to home educate, at least for the early years and probably all the other years too, and if she took them a day a week my world could open up a bit more. I could write. I could get back into the world of counselling. TMD has actually already found me a nice little counselling centre for young LBGT people.


The flip side of all this is that we are discussing moving in with TMD’s father. THIS is the huge lifestyle change. He feels relief, he says he’ll spend more time at his partner’s house without worrying about the house, he is overjoyed at the concept of us living in his house, etc. But there is a lot to consider. While we love him dearly, he makes comments about foreigners stealing jobs, he makes jokes about women needing to wash the dishes while the men relax, and he’s dirty. Not a thing has ever been replaced in his house. We’ve actually never taken the babies there because we didn’t want them crawling or playing on the carpet.

We also haven’t stayed with him in ten years – partially because the house is sort of gross, mainly because he and I had a blow out when he took it upon himself to stay out his welcome in our VERY TINY studio flat.

I have flushes of extreme worry. Every job is about a 50% pay cut for TMD. This makes my heart worry. On a single income, a paltry income, would we be able to get a mortgage? Because the plan is staying with TMD’s dad (who is a lovely man, despite the shortcomings I just mentioned.) until we find our own house. A few weeks ago TMD said we’d never get a mortgage, even on the salary she was on now, and that has stuck with me. She is now glossing it over, while I live in terror of getting into her dad’s house (and feeling somehow like I am regressing, and being uncomfortable living my life in someone else’s space) and us never being able to move out again. You know, until he dies unexpectedly and we have to move out because his estate does not leave the house to us.

I swear I’m not a pessimist.

I love our little flat now. I love the wildness around us, the berries growing alongside the road, the horses in our backyard, the winding paths Snort and Coconut and I walk and explore and sing on. I’m finally making local friends. TMD says, ‘But you are the one who said you didn’t care where we lived, that you had no ties!’ She’s right.

And in my head I know our flat is too small. I know it’s best for the babies to live in this other place. I am aware that the areas surrounding this city (yes, sigh, I guess I admit it’s a pretty hip place, too) are breathtaking country. We’re closer to the sea, a certain forest I really like, and it IS cheaper to live there. We’re also lucky to have family who will let us stay for a year or two – gulp – while we find a house we’d like to live in for a long time.

It’s just the little voices. There’s a job going in the southwest, a job that is rare as there are so few people there no one ever leaves their job, a perfect job. But an even bigger paycut, a paycut that is unliveable. And, really, I think the paycut we’re considering now is bordering unliveable, except we won’t have a mortgage.

We’re never going to be rich, especially if I don’t return to work. It’s what is best for our family, now, a quieter gentler existence without school uniforms and timetables. It’s all feeling sort of real. And am I grown up enough? What if our flat doesn’t sell, we can’t afford to pay the stupid mortgage earning a fraction of our current money. What if we get trapped in that other house? Can I feel comfortable there? Will he replace the carpets so Snort will be able to breathe?

This morning TMD got a letter in the mail, inviting her to interview for the first job she’s applied for. In that city.

Yes, it feels real now.

And while I was the excited one, the one who suggested moving in with her dad, TMD has now taken over that role. I am now the worrier, the hanger-backer, the glum one. I’d love to make that giant sweeping move to the place we really want to live, to have our cottage on some cliffs somewhere, big trees shading the yard. We just can’t do it now. What I need to decide is: does this current step feel like we are moving forwards or backwards?


15 Responses to “How quickly things can shift.”

  1. Violetsouffle Says:

    Oh wow.
    First, what lucky babies to have so many people who love them so much. My little one asked me this week “mama, who loves me?” and I only had six people I could say, and that includes two people we met on the Internet. I think it’s SOIMPORTANT for babies to grow up knowing they’re loved by lots of people, so being closer to those people is probably good. I don’t know if that situation is right for your family- probably not unless her father is willing to make some major concessions; giving up his space is noble&generous but not if he doesn’t really mean it or would come to regret it, not if it’s not a safe place for babies.
    IF this is the right job for her, the right move for your family, those things will have to work out. Worrying and stressing can’t make them work out, they just sort of have to *click,* much like TMD would over the right job 🙂
    Best luck to you all ❤

    • existere Says:

      This is not a dream job. It’s okay. It’s A job – in an economy where jobs are hard to find. She’d keep looking for other work once we got there (no, it’s not a TERRIBLE job, but it’s not a job you sell your soul for). I think her dad would be out of the place about 50% of the time, maybe more. It’s got a nice, fenced in yard, a greenhouse, it’s on a quiet dead end street. We would also make it okay for them. Her dad is taking it all so seriously, replacing things, throwing things out, etc. I guess it’s the emotional space I worry about more than the physical. I am babbling.

      We love you guys.

  2. Gnome Says:

    I’m sure the locals would be delighted to have you in the neighbourhood! I appreciate your dilemma though. Have you thought about investing the money from the sale of your flat in a small property in this new place? You could cover the mortgage (or some of it) by renting it out, while you live with TMD’s dad. That way you’d still be on the property ladder, with something to fall back on if needed

    • existere Says:

      I know we’d like to spend more time with the locals! 😉 I don’t think we’ll actually make any money from the sale of our flat. That remains to be seen, I guess!!

  3. Jenny Says:

    Big dilemma. We did similar just before i got pregnant and upped sticks to be nearer my family. Wasn’t cos of the little one but actually that has been an unexpected bonus. Having family nearby is such a godsend to me. But only you can weigh this all up. What about renting out your current place (if you own it) then you’d have an exit route if thing don’t work out.

  4. tia Says:

    But moving to Country A to be around your family isn’t a viable option?

  5. mamacrow Says:

    Papacrow and I lived with his parents (and various siblings – one brother and his sister I think) the first four to six years of Saurus’s life. We all survived!

    I think too, it was very much the mental and emotional space that was the issue, and (suprisingly, knowing me) for Papacrow much more than for me.

    Its a difficult one… I guess it depends on how much you can live with waiting for all the steps – job, selling flat, finding right house – to happen? I suck at that, so it sounds somewhat frightening to me!


    • existere Says:

      I suck in terms of wanting everything to be instant, but I do think doing things in stages is probably easier. I know many people who lived with grandparents and the kids always have good memories. The adults? Sometimes. Heh.

    • existere Says:

      Shame it was months rather than years. We may be looking at years. Ha.

  6. How quickly things can shift. ? existere (latin): to stand out, to … | odulirysefu Says:

    […] Source: […]

  7. Lauren Says:

    I think the city you are thinking of moving to is the one I live in? If you want to talk areas within the city then feel free to Facebook me as I think it’s a great city but it does depend where you are in it. I love where I live, you can’t go 30 second without seeing someone with a baby/toddler/bump. There are lots of children’s centres and everything you want within walking distance (SPD walking distance).

  8. Winnie Says:

    It’s hard to move in with a third party, even if it is just your father-in-law. I know that my parents are pushing us to move in so we can save money for a house, but I don’t want that kind of pressure and watchfulness from my parents. I understand some of your worry, but it sounds like a good move for you for right now. But only you two can judge for yourselves. I wish you the best!

  9. mamacrow Says:

    umm, have just re-read my comment.four to six YEARS?! I meant MONTHS!!!

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