In 2017, my husband and I made the big decision to accept his job opportunity in Nashville, TN and move over 3 hours away from the place that we were born and raised. While it may have been a little upsetting to some, it was one of the best decisions that we made!
The decision to relocate to another state has changed our lives.
It has brought us financial peace.
It has brought us new life-long friends.
It has brought us closer to our dreams and our goals.
But it has not brought us any closer to home.
When we relocated to Tennessee, we knew we’d be sacrificing time with our families. We knew that we’d have to make intentional trips home to visit. We knew that we’d be the ones traveling back for the holiday’s but what we didn’t know was how exhausting it would be.
The first year after we moved, we made the 3 hour road trip back home to spend 3 days and 2 nights with our family. For a childless couple, this would’ve been minor, but for a married couple with 3 kids 5 and under- it was major. So major, in fact, that we won’t be doing it again.
Now, this is one of those things that will, undoubtedly, cause some trouble. It will cause some criticism and chatter.
Have you ever made a road trip for 3 hours, then visited 4+ homes in 1 day with 3 kids ages 5 and under?
Then, sleep in a bed that’s not yours for 2 nights, in a house that’s not yours, with a noisy dog that’s not yours that makes the kids that are yours wake up and not sleep well?
Everything goes off schedule. The nap time routines are gone. The bed times are out of whack. There will be late afternoon naps that turn into super late bedtimes and no sleeping in. Then we’ll be toting around 3 cranky kids who don’t want to leave the first house where they have been playing with their cousins.
Not to mention the packing that takes place before the trip.
It’s cold, so that means pants, shirts, jackets/coats, hats, gloves and boots for everyone.
3 kids ages 5 and under means, not just 3 outfits, but also 3 extra changes of clothes for each kid (18 outfits).
Then, the baby that’s still in diapers will need, probably, 5000 diapers and baby wipes and diaper cream and milk and bottles and sippys.
It just goes on and on.
Then there’s the actual road trip where the kids devour all of the snacks in the first hour, and whine and cry the next 2 hours.
There’s the dire need for a potty break when we just passed the last exit for another 10 miles.
Then there’s the loading and unloading of stuff and kids X 100.
Unload everything into grandma’s house. Unload the kids. Load the kids back up. Unload them at the first stop. Load them back up. Unload them at the next stop. Load them back up X 100.
Then there’s the less than relaxing time with family, where you’re constantly monitoring your kids, standing guard at the bottom of the steps that doesn’t have a baby gate.
There’s the shooing away from the hot fireplace that the baby so badly wants to touch. There’s the waiting to make your own plate of food until after you feed your kids, then scarfing it down as quickly as you can, because, again, hot fireplace and steps.
While grandma’s house is spacious enough to host the gathering, it’s far from baby proof, which means there will be no relaxing for the parents.
You’ll return home from the holiday trip not feeling relaxed, but exhausted, with tons of laundry to do just to catch up.
Not to mention, it’ll take a week to get everyone back on track with sleep.
And it’ll feel like, just as soon as you get back into the swing of things, it’s time to make the Christmas visit to do it all over again.
Christmas- where we will have to also bring a crap ton of presents along with everything else we packed. Where we’ll have to buy gifts for a kid we honestly don’t know well enough to know what she likes. We’ll spend a ton of money for sub-par gifts, hoping that they don’t already have it or that they don’t hate it.
So, this year- we won’t be home for the holidays. And it’s not because we don’t love them but because thinking about it already makes us tired.
It’s because rushing from one place to the next just to spend a small chunk of time with each gathering is pointless. We leave each one feeling guilty- wishing we could stay longer.
So, we won’t be there for the holidays, but we will be there to visit another time. And it’s not going to be a time when the house is so packed that it’s impossible to connect with everyone. It’ll be a time when we can truly visit and enjoy ourselves instead of running on a schedule.
We’ll be home some other time.
Just not for the holidays.