Back in September, as beautiful as it was with warmth and lack of Christmas, I had a major anxiety wobble about applying for a school place.
There was, essentially, no easy solution to my logistical quandary, aside from winning the lottery. The realisation that my commute to work would be at least an hour each way and involve two separate pick-ups and drop-offs slowly came home to roost, and made my husband and I seriously consider our next steps.
Sadly, we’re still lowly renters, unable to harvest the £20k or so deposit required to have a little sniff at the bottom rung of the property ladder. By chance, a private rental opportunity was mentioned to us, which we initially dismissed. “We can’t possibly move. Moving house is dreadful. We don’t hate our house, yet. We just don’t like the location. Or the neighbours. Or the here-nor-there relation on the map to our two sources of childcare. Or the fact it’s not near either of our workplaces. Or that Peeping Tom dude opposite who stands at his skylight with a pair of binoculars.”
We let ourselves go and have a quick look at the prospective house, just to rule it out. The house was an absolute beaut. We walked around, mug of coffee in hand, both nodding along politely and trying not to appear too nosey. I clocked the massive under-stairs storage. He clocked the shed. I clocked the airing cupboard. He clocked the loft hatch with integrated stairs. Did I mention the fucking airing cupboard? We said goodbye to the owners, trotted down the path arm in arm, and started the tentative “so what did you think?” conv. Halfway through my husband’s deliberations, I cut him off. “We’re having this house, aren’t we?”
“Yes. We’re having this house.”
A major, major pull is the proximity to Mouse’s current nursery, which Moo will also go to from January. It’s literally no more than a five minute walk from Chez Dreamland. What’s more, two of my favourite catchment schools have an after-school provision AT OUR NURSERY. So, from September, Mouse will finish school, be chaperoned to a bus, and taken to the childcare setting that she’s known and loved for the last 2.5 years. I can leave my office at 5pm and park at home about 15 minutes later, and walk to fetch both children. The mornings will admittedly still be a bit of a ballache but all told, I cannot enthuse enough about the prospect of my home leg.
I feel like I’ve been given a golden egg by the working parent god. Yes, I’ll still be paying a UTI-inducing amount of money towards childcare. No, three days a week I won’t be there at the school gates to greet Mouse. But two days a week, I will. Yes, most of my earnings will go straight out the door again. But not all of them. I get my job. I get my freedom, my sanity.
It’s still a compromise. My husband’s commute will be slightly longer, and we’re moving from one busy area of the city to another, equally busy spot. It’s quite swift, too – we’ll have moved in about a week before the school application deadline. There’s also the small matter of me returning to work in January, possibly days after we move. This makes me feel a bit vomity, truth be told.
But I realised something this week. In our current house, we’re happy. A year down the line, we would not be happy. I’d be chasing my tail all over the city and being slowly ground down by the different demands pulling on my family. Short term contentment, long term resentment. Chez Dreamland offers short term stress TO THE MAX with moving, but long term enjoyment. Or to quote our tenancy agreement, “quiet enjoyment of the premises”.
I know it’s the right thing to do because I’ve gone hell for leather into admin and organisation mode. Spreadsheets have been created, wishlists are checked daily for price fluctuations, and I’ve already brought new plates on the sly. I only ever buy new plates when there are good things on the horizon. So, keep your eyes peeled for a future post entitled “Moving House Is Fucking Savage and I Smashed My New Plates”…
-SJW December 2016