By Taryn Dryfhout
Massive columnist Taryn Dryfhout looks at how to juggle a ‘study mummy’ life, at the same time as working, raising children, volunteering and maintaining her sanity throughout.
I’d rather jump into a pile of broken Lego than pack up my house and move, but unfortunately, this week moving was on the cards for us. Moving houses is a mission at the best of times. Moving houses with four small children and a chest infection, is Mission Impossible.
According to a recent longitudinal study, Growing Up in New Zealand, kiwi families with children under two, move houses far more often than they used to, and far more often than families in other countries. This came as no surprise to us – this marks our fourth move in three years, and our tenth move since our oldest child (10) was born.
Like everything, our primary intentions for this relocation were to be as organised as possible. As soon as we are offered a house, my husband and I sat down and tried to map out our master plan – we will spend two weeks packing up this place, move into the new place over several days, unpacking as we go, before coming back here for the final clean, and to say goodbye to the house we have called a home. Of course, the reality is very different. We ended up with 36 hours to move out of our current house and into the new one, return to the old one to clean it, and return the key. In true Dryfhout style, I also developed a severe chest infection while I was knee deep in the packing phase, rendering me almost useless until the multitude of pills I was prescribed kicked in. The move quickly became mania, as we attempted to deconstruct our entire domestic environment in a matter of hours.
Of course, the major obstacle in moving is having four children, one of whom is like living with a two-year-old hurricane. While boxes full of stuff might, to the adult eye, look like things that are packed and ready to go to the next house, to Mr Two, they are boxes full of fun party materials which are to be strewn around the room, stuffed into the couch cushions, and put back in the places from which the items originally came. He also loves to undo any cleaning out that I attempt. When I am moving, I like to sort as I go. In every room I am packing, I have a box in the corner dedicated to the nearest Salvation Army Family Store, and I throw unwanted items in there, that I don’t intend to take to the next house. When Mr Two sees these boxes, he suddenly realises that all of his favourite things are in there, including the toys he has ‘been looking everywhere for’, and the ones he needs to sleep with tonight. Once he has manipulated his way into keeping all his stuff, I have three items sitting in the bottom of the ‘donate’ box.
Whilst these things are challenging, the real killer is trying to move to a new house whilst keeping up with the usual routines. Apparently, moving to a new house doesn’t mean that the kids don’t need to have a bath, that they don’t need to have their school uniforms washed, or that everyone doesn’t still have to eat. Who knew?
Two days, several injuries, and a flat tyre later, we are in our new place, and very relieved, as are the kids. I can’t see us volunteering to move again anytime soon.