What does 23rd June mean to you?
186 days until Christmas? The 2nd official day of summer? Two days after Prince William’s birthday?
Or perhaps, and it still might be raw for you, the anniversary of the BREXIT referendum? #RIPNormality
For me, all of these things pop into my head when I think about that date. To explain the Prince William reference, I’m one day younger than him and my mum was convinced that mean that we were probably going to get married. Those postpartum hormones have a lot to answer for.
Now though, 23rd June holds more significance for me. It was the day, one whole year ago that we moved from London to Rugby to settle into our ‘forever home’.
On 23rd June 2016, as the votes were coming in, we were unpacking boxes and excited to start renovating our new house.
We had been planning our escape from London for almost nine months, house hunting remotely and visiting when anything of interest came up. So, having sold our overpriced house and eventually finding something with potential here in Rugby, we made the move.
What was it going to be like though?
A rather strategic move, actually.
Rugby would put us half way between both sets of parents, closer to friends dotted around the country, and within easy reach of London and loads of airports for my husband’s job.
On paper this was going to be ideal, but we still had reservations.
Will we miss London?
My pre-child self said yes, but I wasn’t going to miss getting a buggy on and off the dirty inaccessible tube. My husband would be there most of the week, so he would barely notice the change.
Will we make friends?
A big concern but as I wrote in another post, a child is actually the best thing you can have in your ‘making friends toolkit’. They are the best at introducing themselves to other kids (and by default to their parents too).
Will our grand renovation plans work out?
We planned to totally remodel the ground floor of a bungalow, and then whack a 2nd floor on it to add 4 more bedrooms. While we lived there… Don’t ever do that by the way – living through it was a stupid idea.
Worries aside though, it would buy us a bigger house with more land, a nicer view, and a better quality of life to bring our daughter up in. So the pros outweighed the cons.
Only time would tell.
Fast forward one year and three weeks, to me sat in my kitchen writing this guest post for the Parent Pause…
We’ve been smashing, renovating and extending for almost nine months and have a few more to go, but our dream home is really taking shape now.
I see my family and old friends every couple of weeks and now only have an hour’s drive to do it. Some months I have seen my Mum every week, which is the most in 10 years.
Our daughter is settled into her new (and better) nursery, and has also started early at the village preschool.
Our weekly routines now also include his new rugby club and my awesome running club.
My phone book is growing and I genuinely feel as though I’ve made some lifelong friends (it helps that they also like prosecco, gin and chocolate too).
And my non-work days find me struggling to squeeze in all of the fun stuff Rugby has to offer.
In short, we have settled in beyond my wildest dreams.
Living in a big city can seem really exciting, and it was. I had great job opportunities and climbed the ranks of well-known companies pretty quickly. I had a great social life, and every weekend offered a party or gig to go to.
Then I had a baby.
I was 140 miles away from my family. My friends without kids were always busy (those parties kept happening). London was a dirty and daunting place with a little one. And I couldn’t flipping park anywhere, so I’d leave the house resembling some kind of sleep deprived packhorse with leaky boobs.
It wasn’t quite the exciting life it had once been. I was lonely and felt isolated. Sure, I had friends, but we were all just ‘too busy’. My general happiness needed more. I felt unbalanced, and as all parents know, it’s a really bloody hard job! If you don’t feel settled and happy in yourself, it just makes it even harder.
Getting the equilibrium of living somewhere that offers what you want and being surrounded by your tribe can’t be underestimated.
So I’ll finish the post with a massive thank you to the people of Rugby for welcoming us as your own. Thank you for offering so many family friendly activities and places to go. Thank you for the great schooling options. Thank you for each of my new friendships. Thank you for those incredible transport links back to my parents’ and for making us being here at all possible.
Oh and of course, thank you for the kickass retail parks too.