Change = Stress

Most of our moves have been a direct result of Steve’s job.  But not every job change came with a move.  Just recently, Steve started a new job that didn’t require a move.  Well, it was new and old at the same time.  He actually went back to work at a company and with people that he had previous work with for several years and ahem, caused a few of our moves too.  In fact, when I posted on Facebook that Steve went back to work for that company, friends from 3 of our previous locations all asked if that meant a move back.  And I’m going to be completely honest with you…I know this company and I know my husband and his career.  I will not be surprised in the least if he is asked to move in the future.  I know it won’t be for the next year or so.  But after this role and this specific project, I bet we have the “move” conversation.

Even without the moving, a new job brings change!  Guess what causes stress?  CHANGE (even good change) causes stress!  This new job is 100% answered prayer for us.  Steve couldn’t start soon enough!  He was going to be working with amazing people that he already knew and that in return, already knew his  work style, his strengths and even his family.  But even though all of this was great, it was still a change.  As a couple and as a family we had to navigate this new job.  It did not help that his first day back was also our baby’s first day of kindergarten, first day of our middle daughter’s new school and first day of our oldest daughter at the Junior High.  Yep, it was a banner year of new schools for all of girls and hubby’s new job too.

I’ve learned to roll with the punches around here.  Was I disappointed that Steve was flying out for his first day and wouldn’t be here for first day of school?  You bet!  But you know what is just as important to me?  My husband starting his new job with my full support.  Friends, I have seen too many wives withhold their support of their husbands in an effort to make a point or “punish” their husbands for making them move or just stressed.  Your marriage is worth so much more.  Most men are not as talkative as their wives.  They are less likely to share their feelings, their fears, and their worries.  But that doesn’t mean they are not thinking about it.  When our husbands make huge decisions like changing jobs and moving their families,  I’m sure it is not without giving thought to how it affects the family.  In our case, I know that Steve is always praying about it.

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What would happen if as wives we simply support our husbands?  What if we not remind them (as if they need it) what you and your kids are giving up to make this move or job change?  Could it be that our nagging and punishing don’t actually bring about anything good?  I’m not saying that the stress isn’t real.  Listen, Steve started a new job and spent 2 weeks in Europe on rather short notice.  I was inconvenienced.  We were still getting into the new school year routine on top of activities, sport practices, PTO meeting and just general life.  But at the same time,  I love this man.  Why wouldn’t I want him to enjoy some cool stuff while working to provide for us?  It won’t take long for the newness to wear off and it’s just a job again.  I want to do whatever I can to help him enjoy it while he can.

But let’s get practical.  How do I actually deal with new job stress?  Be honest with people.  I gave a heads up to the girls’ teachers that we were in some uncharted territory with new schools and Daddy away with a new job.  Also, give yourself some grace.  Your house will likely not be looking its best  especially if you are still unpacking (but with a pumpkin candle it can smell good).  When Steve is gone, I have a hard time getting to bed at a decent hour before I have to get up before the sun to start my day.  I have learned that some nights I need to just leave the sink full of dishes so that I can get some sleep.  The dishes are usually still there in the morning.  Ha!

And what if you just moved for a job?  Both you and your spouse will be busy navigating all things new.  It likely feel as if your spouse is busy and focused on the job while you are focused on everything else.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Don’t you want this new job to work?  Be cognizant that a new job often brings about a huge amount of work in the beginning.  And remember there is a season for all things.  Check out Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 if you more convincing.  And please give your self a break!  You probably have a to-do list as long as your arm, but you need to carve out some time that you can stop and breathe.  It may be just a five minutes of flipping through a magazine while you let your little one play at the park.  Or go ahead and get a starbucks to sip while you walk down every aisle of target (I have a good friend who buys icees and popcorn for her kids to enjoy in the cart at target while she shops).

And finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed or seriously depressed with the change, do talk to someone about it.  You can still be supportive of your spouse and need to talk to them about how you are feeling.  There came a point in my husband’s two weeks away that I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  I just didn’t know what to do next.  And instead of insisting that I was fine, I gave myself a “mommy time-out” and retreated to my room.  I sent an extremely honest text to a dear friend sharing how I was feeling.  She was able to validate my feelings reminding me that it was ok for me to feel exhausted and such because I was in fact exhausted! Sometimes we just need someone to listen and validate our feelings.  Did she do anything to elevate the stress?  No.  I was still dealing with three kids on my own.  But I knew it was ok and that Steve would be back in a matter of days.  Just try and talk to a friend that will be supportive and not one that will add to your misery.  You know the type…always one upping you on how terrible life really is or telling you how horrible your spouse is for traveling and leaving you to deal with the kids alone.  I can do a whole blog post (and probably will!) on avoiding the trap of Debbie Downer.

This blog was something that Kim and I really wanted to start back in the Spring.  I had no idea at that point that Steve would have a new job and that I would have one of my kids basically home schooling two days a week.  So it hasn’t gone quite as we have planned.  But I do enjoy it and I know things will eventually settle down.  So hang in there as I adapt to the stress change going on here and I will do better about blogging!

angeline3

 

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Back to School…After a Move (part 1)

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One of the most stressful parts of a move with children is facing the challenge of a new school for your kiddos.  With three kids each, this topic is near and dear to both Kim and myself.  For that reason, this very important topic will be covered by both of us in multiple parts.

First thing you must understand that unless you homeschool, where you house hunt is going to have the biggest impact on where your kids go to school.  Even if your kids go to private school, location and commute are huge factors.  This is probably a good time to share with you that Kim and I for the most part, have had our kids in public schools but not exclusively.  Our kids have attended private preschools and I’ve had at least one child enrolled in private school (but then we moved and switched her to a public school).  For this next school year, I will have each of my girls in different schools with my middle child enrolled in a private university model school.  More on that later…

So doing your homework BEFORE you begin the house hunting process is huge.  You and your spouse need to come to an agreement as to how important schools are in your housing decision.  For example, there have been moves where I ruled out fabulous homes solely based on school feeder patterns (which middle and high school the elementary school would feed into years later).  Honestly, looking back, I may have been a bit over the top at the time.  However, in that phase of my life and that location, school feeder pattern was a huge deal breaker.  You need to know what matters to YOU at the time.  In this particular move, I was looking for the trifecta of good schools (elementary, middle and high schools) within a certain large school district and short commute for my husband.  This narrowed the possibilities way down and I ended up in a house that I did not love, lots of phone calls to Kim and daily tears for a while.  That lead me to ease up on the crazy school requirements in the next move.

If this is your first move with school age kids, you may be asking how do you do this elusive school/house hunting homework?  I’ll walk you through my process!

First, get a handle on where you and or your spouse will be working and how much of a commute you can tolerate.  Things to consider are proximity to airports if regular travel is involved, price of toll roads if needed, number of possible routes, public transportation etc.  And remember, alway add at least 15 minutes to whatever someone tells you, especially if they are trying to sell you on a place or location.  That is my experience.

If this is a job transfer, you may know someone who lives or works in the same area.  Ask them!  My husband knows that he should immediately start asking around to where potential co workers live and their thoughts on the cities/suburbs, neighborhoods and schools.  But also know that what works for one family, may or may not work for your family.  You are the expert on your own kids.  You know what they need over anyone else.  For example, during our last move, I was much more interested in the size of the school and certain school programs than I was about the reputation of the school.  We went with a smaller school district instead of buying a home in the neighboring school district with more students and unquestionable high reputation.

Become familiar with online school reporting sites.  My favorite is www.greatschools.org and is similar to www.schooldigger.com.  I also spend time exploring possible district and school websites.  Basically, as soon as a possible move/location is brought up, you can find me on my computer or iPad, looking at houses and schools!  As for houses, my favorite sites/app are Trulia and Realtor.com.  Usually by the time we are in contact with a realtor, I have a good idea of how much house we can afford in an area and what school districts we are willing to consider.

I have so much more to say on this topic!  However, I’ll give you a break for today and maybe let Kim get a chance to jump in on the conversation…maybe.

angeline3