Mum-of-two Kerry Thomson on the trials and tribulations of pulling up sticks…
£829.92 could buy you a mini break for two in Paris…or, lots of these:
A huge box – filled with those ‘free’ toys that come with about two years’ worth of CBeebies magazines. We are now officially one stack box away from an episode of Hoarders.
Moving house is great fun. As long as it is happening to someone you know. We did it recently and have sworn never to do so again – as my grandmother sagely puts it, “…they will carry me out of this house in a box”. At the moment I am still carrying said boxes into said house. Except I’m not because I hurt my back, in comedy (if it happens to someone you know) timing. So here’s my top five things to bear in mind if you’re thinking of moving house with two under 5s in tow:
1 Do you really need them? (No, I’m not talking about your under 5s). Seriously, if you’ve had that box with your old Uni folders, dissertation and 3rd year essays on 18th Century melodrama tucked in your roof space for the last 15 years, chances are you aren’t going to miss it. And really, if you have two children under five and you still care who killed Macbeth then you clearly haven’t seen enough episodes of Hey Dougie.
2 The new home cards that arrive in the post and are meant to make you feel good. They will make you feel bad. This is normal. Your friends – and they are your friends they really are – have you tried to buy a card; buy a stamp; put the stamped card in a post box; miss location of post box; leave card in car glove compartment for two weeks; put card in handbag so you remember to post it; finally get to a post office a week later on your lunch hour, then queue for 27 minutes half-starved and dehydrated listening while people with more time than you debate the cost of a second-class stamp and weigh parcels to the Isle of Wight. Then you finally post it, five- and-a-half weeks after you wrote said card and then can’t remember if you definitely posted it. Trust me, if they sent you a card they are the Bear Grylls of communication and stalwarts of the postal system. These are the sort of people you would want to take into the jungle with you. But their card will give you the guilts. It will say something on the front, light and breezy about making memories and joy shared in your new home. Best read it properly in a few weeks’ time when you’ve started speaking to each other again en famille, retracted the divorce papers and found your shoes.
3 Pack and unpack logically. By logically I mean those cushions you waited for three weeks to arrive from a blind crafter in Stockholm – obviously stuffing those with cushion wadding and putting them lovingly on the sofa as it is carried in the door will endear you to every single man involved in the removal process that afternoon and will in absolutely no way stereotype you as an annoying person. The same annoying person who arranges cushions on the bed every morning only to take them all off before getting into bed that night. This is my answer to ‘keeping a little mystery in our marriage’ as my long-suffering cushion-ignorant husband exclaims for the 57th time: “But only we see them?”
4 Take time off. Buying a house while trying to schedule a multi-time zone conference call while you’re still in your pyjamas and organising the costume for ‘Medieval Day’ at school…while answering a slightly cryptic call about the local horse having escaped from a nearby field on your other phone – then sticking one phone on mute to quickly put in an offer and inadvertently hanging up on everyone – may make you feel like some sort of multi-tasking-rurally-based Ally McBeal for all of three seconds. In reality, it makes you a frazzled dafty. And if you’re honest you’re still sort of waiting for Phil to come off the phone and Kirsty to hand you a glass of Pinot and smile sagely and ask how you feel about knocking down walls.
5 Remember home is where the heart is – and the glitter. My children know they are at home when they see my face when they are playing with glitter – and they love it. The crazy sparkly, colourful, tiny glints of light everywhere, all over the floor, in the cracks of the wooden floorboards, under fingernails, on the carpet tread, in beds, on toast, even in poo (I suspect child number two ingested it) so even amidst the chaos, the unpacked boxes, the stored Uni papers, the cushions, the cards – there’s always a little bit of sparkle, and a whole lot of the crazy stuff you love that comes with you from one house to the next. You just need to know where to find it…
Beyond joyful for two small things. Work/life blender, half Scottish, answers to ‘Mum-meeeeeee!’ and ‘Do you have a window when we can connect?’ Likes poetry, symmetry, organised fun, trashy mags, airport lounges, quiet, discos, listening well, most food, except raisins. Reads when can. Co sleeps but not sure how that happened. Works hard plays soft and always brings her own socks.
Read Kerry’s blog at Ithinkthatsagibbon.wordpress.com