Guest Blog: Surviving Moves…with children!

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Guest Post: Life with the Spectrum

Go ahead. Be jealous. I’m moving and I’m not taking my kids with me. Don’t act like you’ve never considered it.
Yes, this is just how this blog post begins…I know you’ll enjoy just as much as I do!


My guest blogger today is Diane Laney Fitzpatrick.  She is the mother of three grown children, who live in Florida, Washington, DC., and Moscow, Russia. 
She is a former newspaper reporter and editor, and is the author of “Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.” 
As of this moment, she has one foot in Jupiter, Fla., and the other foot in San Francisco. And that’s not easy for someone who’s not very limber.

 

 Thank you so much, Diane, for submitting this excellent guest post. 

I’m looking forward to many more to come!


Go ahead. Be jealous. I’m moving and I’m not taking my kids with me. Don’t act like you’ve never considered it.

I’m not exactly abandoning my kids. I’m not winning any Mother of the Month awards, but even I would remember to put the kids in the car before a move. Technically I’m leaving my 20-year-old daughter in Florida as I move to San Francisco, but, hey, I offered to take her and enroll her in Berkeley. She chose to stay at her Florida school, where she says she’ll be fine living near the beach in an apartment with two swimming pools and in-unit washer and dryer. She says she’ll try to survive.

Her survival is unquestionable. She’s had to move five times before she was 16. My two sons, both older, have more moves under their belts. The three of them could write the book on adapting to new situations. God help me, though, if a therapist hears about all the moves I’ve put them through. If he writes their book, I’m in trouble.

So my current cross-country move is particularly fun for me: Not only because I’m moving to one of my favorite cities, but because I’m guilt-free. No stress about taking the kids to school on their first day as the new kid (and mentally calculating the risk cost-benefit analysis ). No fights over who gets the Princess Bedroom and who gets the bedroom the size of Michael Jackson’s sensory deprivation chamber. No embarrassment about regional rules on what to spend on a playmate’s birthday gift. No expensive bribes.

Anyone who has ever moved with kids knows that it’s parenting at its worst. With babies and toddlers, it’s bad enough, because you don’t have a second to yourself to grieve over the walk-in closet you’re giving up. As the kids get older, their adjustment to a new house and town will cost you a lot of anxiety, gray hair and cold, hard cash.

But even more challenging is a move while you’re pregnant. Which is why when I wrote my book “Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves,” I had to include a chapter about the pregnant move.

“You’re not going to write about the time you thought your water broke when the movers were at our house, but you actually wet your pants, are you?” my husband asked.

Yeah, I had forgotten about that. Of course I’m going to write about that, I told him. How else can I reassure other moms that their moves couldn’t possible be weirder and more embarrassing than mine? You can try, but you can’t outdo me on shameful bodily fluids.

So here’s what happened:

My husband and I were sitting in the upstairs bathroom looking at a box of – well, there’s no other way to say it – a box of crap that had been thrown together and hastily marked “B RM” which could have meant anything, Bathroom, Bedroom, Boys’ Room, Boiler room, Ballroom, Battering Ram, Basketball Rim.  Fittingly, the box contained things you might toss into your purse if you were going on the Let’s Make a Deal show. A box of lead pencil refills, a scalpel, a Polaroid photo of a stuffed bear sitting on top of a toilet paper dispenser, Lunchable coupons that expired in 1989, and a 1/3 cup measuring scoop.

“Is this stuff even ours?” my husband asked, picking up a tiny shadowbox with three seashells glued together to look like a crab with googly eyes.  “I thought we didn’t do beachy cute.”

“Oh, yeah, it’s ours,” I said.  “The wallpaper in that bathroom photo of the stuffed bear looks vaguely familiar. Was that from our house in Youngstown? It’s ugly enough to have been.”

Tim picked up a rubber snake from the bottom of the box and said, “Hey, let’s put this in the bathtub and scare the movers!”

It’s funny, picturing the mover we had nicknamed Jethro stealthily walking in the bathroom to try to sneak in a box marked X BLTZR and seeing the snake in the bottom of the tub. But not that funny.

Nonetheless I let out a laugh and suddenly felt liquid running down my leg.

“Oh my God, Tim, I think my water just broke!”

My due date was a good three weeks away, but I had a feeling this baby wasn’t going to be the schedule-following type. She had already wreaked havoc with everything within a fetal leg’s reach of my uterus despite my soothing, sing-song threats to take away her My First Barbie if she didn’t stop.

“Oh crap,” Tim threw the snake across the bathroom and it landed on the toilet seat. “Get your purse. I’ll drive you to the doctor.”

“No, you have to stay here with the movers. I’ll drive myself into the doctor,” I told him. “You stay and keep these guys from spitting all over the front lawn. By the way, what is that stuff? It’s like some kind of minty dog shit. Like something a small forest animal would cough . . .”

“Diane! Focus!”

“Yes,” I shake my head and yank down on my maternity top to try to cover the wet spot.  “You supervise,” I said, “I’ll call you if I need to go to the hospital. This town has a hospital, doesn’t it?”

I drove to the doctor’s office, where I had only been once before, miraculously only getting lost twice, and explained to the receptionist that I think my water broke. Fitzpatrick. F-I-T-Z-Patrick. Diane. No, I don’t have an insurance card. It’s probably in that box marked FLT STRM that’s still on our front lawn

I got through reception and into an examining room, where they did a litmus test and after an agonizingly long wait in which I read the entire January issue of Working Mother magazine and planned my next career (undercover cop), the doctor finally came in holding the results.

“What were you doing when this happened?” she asked me.

“Um, I was sitting on the side of the bathtub with my husband, laughing at a rubber snake and a seashell crab,” I said. Better to just get myself out there with this doc. Low expectations make for a smoother road ahead.

“OK, your water didn’t break,” she said. “You wet your pants.”

An hour later, when I pulled the van up to our house (only got lost once coming home! Yay!) the front curb was mysteriously lacking a moving truck. Boxes were strewn over the front lawn and if you didn’t know any better you might think we had been the target of a Red Cross air drop, where emergency supplies of toys, VHS tapes and plastic parsons tables were desperately needed. The front door was off the hinges and leaning against the front porch askew. It looked like the movers had an emergency smoke break out of state and had to respond stat.

I found Tim sitting in the living room with a stack of inventory lists and sucking on a cold pizza crust.

“What are you doing back here?” he said. “You’re supposed to be calling me to meet you at the hospital.”

“I wet my pants. Where are the movers?”

“I sent them home. I got nervous about the baby and everything.”

“Oh, for God’s sake, Tim! The boxes aren’t even all in the house yet and nothing is in the right rooms, and – hey – weren’t they supposed to unpack for us?”

“I told them to just hit the road. I can’t believe you just wet your pants!”

“Shut up and help me find the box marked JLY FTZ. I think the extra large diapers are in there.”

This is why I compare letting a pregnant woman move to sending someone who wears glasses up into space. It’s just not a good idea, because it adds too much unpredictability and equipment to an already complex situation.

I’ve moved twice while pregnant and many more times with babies, toddlers, bouncing-off-the-walls fourth-graders, and sulky teens. And now, I can say with all authority that the easiest moves are the ones where you leave your adult kids in luxury apartments and a big budget for airfare. I miss my grown-up kids so much it hurts, but remember, parents: When your children grow up, if you don’t move, eventually they will. Plus, in this move, I get the Princess Bedroom.

Make sure to read Diane’s blog at http://just-humor-me.blogspot.com/ for more funny stories! Her book,  “Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves,” will be on Amazon.com this month! Look out for it!

About Natasha

Hi, I'm Natasha! I'm a 30-something Program Manager and blogger at Epic Mommy Adventures. Most importantly, I'm a single mom to my adorable son, who drives me nuts in one moment and melts my heart in the next. I enjoy sharing our epic stories, giving advice to other single moms, and sharing my co-parenting woes. I also share blog hops, giveaways, product reviews, and so much more. Join the fun!

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