Moving 500 Miles with Three Young Boys and One on the Way
Less than a month ago, my husband received a job offer for what’s basically his dream job. The only problem is that this job requires us to move from San Diego County to the Bay Area, California, near San Francisco. It’s not the longest move I’ll have made in my life – I’ve twice moved across the country – but those moves were made when my life was far less full than it is now.
We have three young sons, 6.5, 4.5, and almost 2. On top of that, I’m five months pregnant with a fourth son. Until mid-June, we had assumed that we were here in Southern California to stay. We bought a house just over 2.5 years ago, and we are well established in our small Jewish community here. We have friends and a good support system. My mom lives nearby. My sons love having Grandma around and look forward to spending time with her and with their friends.
So this news of a sudden relocation, even for the best reason you could imagine, is staggering. Our lives have turned 90 degrees, from a sure and comfortable future to adjusting once again to a new place, new people, and a new pace of life.
There’s plenty to look forward to. I’m trying to focus as much as possible on the positives. Our income will be higher and our benefits better. My dad lives up there, so we’ll get to spend more time with him. There’s a bigger Jewish community and more access to kosher food. And, did I mention, dream job? I work from home and am portable, so my job will stay the same, which makes things just a little bit easier on me.
There’s a lot of stress, though. A lot. First of all, my husband had to go up and start his job already, so I’m alone down here with the kids for three weeks trying to get everything organized for the move. The house has to be clean for showings to potential renters. With three young boys at home, maintaining the house in a reasonable state of neatness is almost impossible. I also have to arrange for repairs and maintenance that we’d been putting off as the homeowners that a renter needs done now. I’ve given up on doing any organizing myself, preferring to “throw money at” my problems by hiring my housekeeper and babysitters to come often and do the dirty work (literally). Of course, spending money left and right like this creates its own sort of stress, because there has to be enough to go around!
We’ve been eating out for nearly every meal. The combined duties of cooking and cleaning up has become too much for me. We’ve reached the point where we yearn for a healthy, home-cooked meal (as long as someone else washes the dishes). I rejoiced in going to Trader Joe’s and picking out anything that looked good, just so we could happily eat a few meals at home. It has actually become more stressful to choose a restaurant than to slap together a tuna sandwich and carrot sticks for dinner.
My digestive system is in havoc, too. While we had been in the habit of eating out relatively often (and by often, I mean maybe twice or three times a week, not 14), we are also used to eating home-cooked meals quite a lot of the time. Pregnancy doesn’t help with the stomach discontent. Nor does stress. Despite the disappearance of morning sickness at about 15 weeks, I’ve found it’s come back now, at week 22, and I can expect to throw up and have a sour stomach almost every morning again. This doesn’t stop me from eating terribly later in the day, and the past few nights, I’ve gone to bed just knowing I’m going to feel crummy the next morning while I pack my son’s lunch and attempt to prepare breakfast.
The worst part for me is the worry that the stress, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, insufficient sleep, and subpar diet is going to harm the baby in some way. Certainly there are pregnant women with far worse lifestyles than mine whose babies turn out fine, but sometimes I feel like in the hustle and bustle of trying to keep to my normal routine while simultaneously throwing that entire routine completely out the window, I come close to forgetting that I am, indeed, pregnant! I forget to take care of myself. I forget to take care of the baby. I put things off that need doing, or I do something mundane and simple to keep from having to do something complicated and unusual.