If you’re anything like me you have often felt like you’ve been thrown into adulthood a bit soon… even if it happened years ago, sometimes being an adult can feel far too much like hard work and being a kid (even if you hated it at the time) the far more relaxing and enjoyable part of life.
Can you remember? Parents did laundry. There were no bills that you knew about. If you were cooking it was mainly in order to claim dibs over the remains in the bowl. Going outside meant to the park, to run in the woods, or just to play a game of *insert make believe random game name here*. Even Christmas was fun because presents magically appeared, there was tasty treats being handed to you by every relative coming to stay and no-one mentioned the growing belly unless it was Santa’s.
Of course, things had to change, and they didn’t necessarily feel this way for the adults at that point in history either, but to land suddenly in the reality of decisions, and finances, and hard work can feel exactly that: hard work.
I’m not really complaining. I have been blessed in my life by many good things and being an adult has meant the ability to study, travel, get married, buy my own gorgeous puppy, and become pregnant. But I thought I would update you all with a sensible decision that Bear and I have recently made: we’re moving… again.
From Home/St Andrews to Dundee, from Dundee to Birmingham, and Birmingham to Solihull, it’s been a busy couple of years but ultimately this move has a real purpose, financial planning, and hope behind it.
What is exciting is that we seem to have finally made up our mind about where we are aiming for eventually: Scotland. No matter what we have tried, how much exploring we do, and what beauties lie elsewhere, the truth is we fell in love with Scotland, and more specifically the coast of Fife, a long time ago and that’s never left us. You might picture St Andrews as a tourist centre, golfers paradise, or real-life student-filled Hogwarts, but we picture our church, community, friends nearby, beach, food, country and life.
The strange thing is that despite Bear being perfect for a job that could take us right back there now we have decided to wait and prepare first. The truth is that renting is pretty rubbish long-term unless you really, really, love where you are, what you’re doing, and have enough money to fund it. When looking for a rental for 2 adults, a newborn and a dog it’s tricky and most of all expensive, and would probably take over 50% of our income. That would leave very little for baby, dog, life and more importantly saving for a more settled future home.
In comparison, the option of Essex and my parents called to us. It would mean paying something towards food, bills, etc, but not anything close to the rent and heating bills we’re looking at now (sadly LPG during the winter costs lots and doesn’t last long – and with a newborn expected in January it didn’t look like a comfortable place to be). We would also have more space for both dog and baby to play, as well as grandparents around rather than telling us off for running north. We could also, amazingly, even with a lower income, save almost three times as much and be looking at a decent deposit in just over a year. Of course it would be difficult as I bet a lot of home-returners would agree, but it would give us all more of a chance to get our feet on solid ground and really put some work into where we want to end up. Plus sharing chores sounds nice too…
It seems almost counter-intuitive to look at where you want to be and then literally move in the opposite direction, but the truth is after six spreadsheets looking at finances, budget, savings, rent, etc, and multiple conversations with parents and each other, the sensible decision is to prepare before we launch ourselves into our dreams.
As it seems to go against the grain, be unusual, feel almost like failure within our two year marriage and impending parenthood, we have tried to refocus our hopes for the coming year or so. Here is a list of pros and things which are good about moving back:
- Low rent, bills, blah blah blah (see everything above)
- Close to friends in London, Southend, “the South”.
- Surprisingly high number of jobs which could assist Bear’s career path.
- A good church to become a part of as a family.
- The chance for my parents and siblings to really get to know us as a new little family, and vice versa.
- Trips out can include the beach (finally), the country, as well as London, theatre, museums, galleries, etc.
- With a little more spending money comes more chances for visits back up north (a must!).
- The (limited) opportunity for free babysitting and continued date nights – a rarity for most new parents.
- Ability to study, research, prepare, and save for our future family and our move to Scotland (being planned for ~2015).
- The chance to rest a little more than we are now and not feel like we’re constantly treading water.
There are of course cons and dangers of living in community, and we have attempted to think and question and plan as much as possible. However, whenever anyone moves back to their parents things will feel different and need some alterations on both sides in order for harmonious living. Here are things we’ve considered:
- Payments. Financially speaking it is neither fair nor possible for my parents to suddenly take on all costs of two more adults and a newborn (nevermind the dog). We have had to chat about food, what we are responsible for, and what they need to allow us to give as supplements towards their bills.
- Chores. Jobs like laundry, dishes and hoovering do not magically disappear once over the threashold. These need discussing and organising so no-one expects anything silly.
- Noise levels and space. These two go together because when you’re sharing a house you need to be kind to others so you don’t end up accidentally messing up a nights’ sleep or driving someone crazy with unwanted music. Our way was a move from my old bedroom, to one the other end of the house, which, when Cub arrives, will mean my parents won’t be awoken every two hours even if we are.
- Understanding Emotions. I know that when sleep-deprived I am not friendly. I know through harder points in my emotional life that sometimes I can find human contact incredibly difficult. I also know that everyone else has issues too and these must be respected just as much.
- Life. Despite moving back in with parents, and having a baby, Bear and I are still hoping for a life. This will mean we make plans, visit people, travel a little, and go out without expecting too much fuss. I wouldn’t expect my parents to run everything past me, and we hope they don’t feel like we need to either (unless it effects the house in general).
So, you’ve had our update: we’re moving to Essex, giving birth, and saving as much as possible. We are also hoping to move north as soon as we are able to financially to bring up our family in the place we love most in the world. I must ask you to pray for us in this because it is a scary, big, long-term goal which will take a lot of work and perfect timing. I hope we have your support and love because we are going to need it.
Although our decision is not ideal (ideal would be having an amazing increase of money, a beautiful house appear magically on the shore for us, and a sustainable future) but it is the best option we have right now and we are making this decision with being sensible and responsible parents in mind. This is in a way our leap of faith, we have jumped from place to place, and this seems to be the longterm goal we are being led to. The thing is very few missionaries “just went”, many of them studied and prepared, and one day we hope to be valuable members of the community in Fife. I pray God helps us become this.