Its time for a lttle life catch up and to talk about how we are doing with our move from Kent to Devon two years on.
Can you believe that its been two years already? Time really does fly!
I have recently read a few blog posts and seen some Instagram posts about relocating (including Tigerlilly Quinn’s) and as Im always interested in hearing other peoples take on things, I thought that it was only fair that I share mine!
I will start by saying that I still want to move. I had hoped that we would have started the process by now, but the truth is that we still have not decided where exactly we want to move to, and with another baby on the way, we have decided to put moving off until next year at least. Moving house is bloody expensive and stressfull (so are new babies) so its best not to do both at once!
On the plus side its not that bad where we are. I have started to get to know more people through my weekend job and daily activities. I stuck it out with the unfriendly baby group (its much better now all the snotty mums that didn’t say goodbye to me and took the piss out of my accent have gone back to work full time!) and I now have a few (much nicer) mum contacts for play dates and the like. We even have a Whatsapp group and everything!
To be honest, this has given me confidence that I can move anywhere, settle and meet people. And I am a friendly and likeable person. I can meet new people,get along with them, make them laugh and be myself. It sounds silly, but when I left my long term job 7 years ago, I doubted this. My confidence was knocked as I was criticsed and bullied at work, and during my twenties I lost a few friends (its complicated, but it turns out they were not who I thought they were rather that it being my fault. Toxic friends are a drain!) I was down about this back in the day and for a while I did lose my confidence, but thankfully have regained it back in my thirties.
So yeah, its all good. Im in a good headspace and enjoying motherhood. I am still adjusting to certain changes in my life like the quiet life and my relationship with my family (which I will go into more in a minute!)
Rob is good too. He has not really met many new people as he works long hours from home and is busy with family life etc (he has Dylan at the weekends when I go to work) but plans to join a cycle club at the weekend when I go on maternity leave and might be hotdesking soon as one of the mums I know’s friend is setting up a place in the village, so this will get him out of the house and talking to more people soon! He likes the quiet life down here and enjoys the novelty of going for a run or bike ride without being shouted abuse at (we lived on an estate before) and taking Dylan to the beach.
Even though we are more settled (I do appreciate that it takes time) we have both agreed that, long term, moving again to somewhere nearer our families is the right thing for all of us, and to somewhere a bit more built up for me (because not a fan of the quiet life). Its just a case of where?
I know that although all towns are all the same really, there are better places to live than where we come from in Kent – we just need to find one! This takes time and money, both of which we do not have much spare of right now. So far we have explored and eliminated Weymouth, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford and pretty much every small town/village on the Isle of Wight!
In an ideal world we want to live somewhere that is around a 2-3 hour journey to my family on the Isle of Wight and Rob’s back in Kent. We would like to see them more often and to be able to do daytrips to the grandparents. I would also like to be able to hop on a bus or train on my own (with my future monster truck sized double buggy – eek!) to meet up with my folks independently in one of the IOW ferry port towns without relying on Rob to drive me to see them. I also want to be back in civilisation again, i.e a big town/city with all the facilities that I used to have in Kent, good schools for D and his future lil’ bro, but yet near good beaches and countryside (read that as places to camp at) so that we have the best of both worlds, town for me, countryside for Rob.
Its a big ask isn’t it? Somewhere in Hampshire would be perfect as its kind of in the middle of both sets of grandparents journeywise (as the ferry always adds an hour to the journey) and it has the New Forest, but we don’t like either Southampton or Portsmouth enough to want to relocate to them and the rest of the county seems to be made up of either small towns or semi-rural villages (which I want to get away from) or places way too expensive for our budget (Im looking at you Winchester!) We have found one Hampshire town that is a contender, but to me its still a little bit small and isolated. Plus there is a spanner in the works…..
….The spanner in the works is Exeter. We both really like the city. Its a small city, about the size of the town that I used to live in, but much prettier and much better. It has everything I want like decent sized shops, leisure centres, employment opps, stuff to do with small kids and teenagers, a museum, pretty historic bits, independent shops and cafes, farmers markets, its posh enough but still a little rough around the edges, has a uni so it has a bit of a young buzz to it (sorry for sounding so wanky there!), good road and rail connections and plus the added bonus of a newly opened Ikea store! Its also near the beaches and countryside so we would still get all the benefits of Devon on our doorstep.
Yet Exeter would only knock an hour off our journey visiting the family if we moved there.
So we would not see them anymore often.
But would we see them anymore if we moved closer anyway? I have to be realistic, I have a job now (which I am going to have to go back to after my maternity because we need the money) so free weekends are few and far between. The ferry and petrol etc costs a fortune each visit and D will go to school in a few years time so we will only have the school holidays free for visits anyway. Plus both sets of grandparents have their own busy lives etc.
It is hard. Currently, I have only seen my parents once since Xmas. They are visiting us next week and I plan to visit them in June for my Dad’s 60th birthday. Then the rest of the year is a no go as we have told them we do not plan to travel much with a new baby etc. It is a bit shit. I used to see them every fortnight (at least) on my day off from work and Rob used to go for a morning bike ride with his Dad twice a week and see his Mum after for a cooked breakfast.
We both do and don’t miss this. Its nice to have our own family now, but we still want to see our parents and nephews etc more (just not too much as we like our own space!)
But then in a way my relationship with my parents has changed. The dynamics have shifted a bit. It is in part due to moving away and how we see them now and in part to D arriving on the scene. Back in our hometown I would meet my Mum for lunch and go out for the day with them. Our relationship was more like friends than a parent/child one. Nowadays they don’t want to see me, they want to see Dylan, which I understand and I am not bothered about! But also my Mum has gone back to being more of a Mum to me (in telling me what to do with D and giving me unasked for advice etc) so when we stay with my parents we end up getting on each others nerves and arguing with each other! For years we have all had our own space, seen each other little and often instead of being guests in their homes, and I guess the relationship role shift is a downside to having kids later in life. We have all been used to how things were for so long now (including our parents) that it will take time to adjust all our relationships and roles to this new period in our lives.
The only way things could go back to how they were for me (as much as they can with D on the scene) is to move to the IOW which I do not want to do. Even living nearby in Hampshire things would not be the same because of the bloody ferry making it difficult to pop round to see them.
I love my family dearly, but Rob and I do have to live our own lives. I have to remember that my parents chose to move away (with the added complication of my sister following them so now we are expected to follow too). All families are challenging at times and I know that I am very lucky to have mine. We just need to do a lot of soul searching and decide what is the bigger compromise.
If you have made it to the end of this post – well done! Sometimes its good to have a heart to heart on my blog. Phew! Also if you know of any great cities/towns in Hampshire/Dorset/West Sussex/Wiltshire then hit me up! Ta!