Making tough choices as a parent

As a parent you make choices every day about your children.  What they should wear.  What they will eat for dinner.  When they will go to bed.  Whether they can go for a sleepover or not.  And so it goes on.  A day doesn’t pass when I don’t make decisions for my children.

But sometimes, as a parent, you have to make very tough choices.  Not the every day decisions but life-changing decisions.

Last year, I was faced with having to make this type of decision that would impact not only on my life, but also the lives of my six children.  And, as a single parent, I had to make the decision by myself.  It was a huge responsibility to make the right choice.

 

At Easter 2014, I spotted an advert for a part-time English teacher while visiting my parents in Telford.  It had been in the back of my mind for some time to move from Exeter to Telford but with everything else going on, I hadn’t taken the time to really consider it.  Seeing the advert forced it to the front of my mind and I decided to apply and leave it to “what is meant to be, will be”.

As I was busy, I nearly forgot to apply but managed to chuck something together, send the application in an email at midnight, get an interview and then a job offer.

A job 200 miles away from my home, the childrens’ nursery, schools and most importantly, friends.

I had a tough choice to make.  And it wouldn’t affect just me; it would have an impact on my six children too.  They had only ever lived in Exeter and the older ones had their lives built around it.  Michael had a full-time job, Natasha was about to start college and Kaiya was going to begin her GCSEs.  They all had close friendships and clubs that they loved going to.  Yet, here I was, considering taking them away from all of this to start a new life.

As with all decisions, there were advantages and disadvantages.

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The disadvantages included:  leaving all of our friends, having to sell two of my businesses, needing to sell the house quickly (which would mean not getting the market value), moving the children out of nurseries/schools etc.

The advantages included:  a fresh start away from the memories, being close to my family, moving before the court injunction expired, getting a bigger house for less rental costs than in Exeter.

Remembering that I had said to myself, “what is meant to be, will be”, I knew a job offer was a sure sign that I was meant to move so I decided to go for it and accepted the job.  I won’t tell you that there weren’t doubts, because there were many but there were also many reasons to leave.

Then the panic set in.

The first thing that I had to do was break the news to the children.  I wasn’t worried about the younger ones.  They would adapt easily.  But I was worried about my three teenagers and how they would take the news.  Michael decided that he would not move with us but stay in Exeter.  Natasha was quite happy with it and agreed with the reasons for moving.  Kaiya cried for a week and tried to persuade me to change my mind, using a variety of means and reasoning.

This was possibly the hardest time.  Knowing that I had made a decision that had caused such distress in one of my children.  I worried a lot about whether it was fair to move a 14 year old girl who didn’t want to go and whether she was right with her persuasive arguments to stay.  Emotionally, it was definitely a tough choice to move.  I had the responsibility of my childrens’ happiness on my shoulders and I couldn’t see a year into the future to know whether they would be happier in Telford.

On a practical level, it was also very difficult.  The house wasn’t selling and I needed cash for the moving fees, rental deposit, a months rent and enough to be able to pay for two houses until it did sell.  After struggling for a year to pay the mortgage on my own, I wasn’t going to let the house be repossessed at this point.

So, for financial reasons, I took on extra work.  At one point, I was working 7 jobs at once.  Never again!  Especially, while packing a house, trying to find a new house, nursery, schools etc and doing the day-to-day tasks of having six children.

Here’s just some of the photos of the chaos as I went through a house sorting out things for the tip – quite a few tip runs – selling piles and packing piles.

Waiting for a tip run

Waiting for a tip run

More for the tip

More for the tip

 

Stuff for selling

Stuff for selling

More boxes of stuff to sell

More boxes of stuff to sell

 

It seemed to never end.  But, through working and selling a lot of belongings, I managed to raise the £7000 that I needed.

There were many points in this period of time that I nearly stayed.  I was totally exhausted and stressed by trying to sell the house and juggling so many things.  It would have been easy to have changed my mind.

Chaos of packing

Chaos of packing

One more pile to sort out

One more pile to sort out

 

 

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, Tasha went through the ceiling when she was in the loft helping to pass things down.

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Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt but I think I had reached the point of tears when this happened especially as there was a house viewing that weekend.  Fortunately, a lovely friend came over and fixed it for me.  I didn’t know where to start with fixing it so would have been totally stuck without his aid.

Finally, it was Michael’s birthday and also the day before the big move.  The three younger ones had gone up to Telford two days earlier to make it easier for me and the removal company.  So, we made the most of it and went out in the evening to celebrate Michael’s 19th birthday.  It was a bittersweet day.

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Moving to Telford from Devon was a tough choice but the right one.

My children really love their new nurseries/schools and college.  Kaiya and Hannah enjoy going to a stage school once a week.  Tasha and Kaiya are members of a gym and go swimming whenever they wish.  Most importantly, they have made friends and settled in.

My new job is supportive, friendly and has an interesting mix of students.   My family are only ten minutes away and my children get to have a relationship with their grandparents.  The house is lovely – lots of space inside and outside in a quiet area – and far more than I could have had with my budget in Exeter.

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Remember that Kaiya really didn’t want to move to Telford?  Well, I asked Kaiya this week if she was happier here or in Exeter and she replied, “Definitely here.”  Thank goodness.

It was a life-changing decision that wasn’t easy to reach or to achieve but it was the right one.

Of course, I miss Michael and my friends a lot but, fortunately, with mobiles, the internet and social media, they are never far away.


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21 Comments on Making tough choices as a parent

  1. Hannah Mums' Days
    February 19, 2015 at 6:05 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, I’m choked up reading this. What a woman you are, such a tough decision and with so much to sort out on your own…I would have packed it in!! I’m so pleased it’s all worked out so well, you should be bloody proud of yourself. We moved last week and had loads of help and it was just down the road, but it still felt like a huge, exhausting big deal, so seriously, props to you!!!

    Thanks so much for linking up xx #TheList
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  2. Elizabeth (Wander Mum)
    February 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm (3 years ago)

    A very brave decision and you sound like one inspiring woman, Janette. Glad to have found your blog. Making a decision like that is never easy but the rewards can be huge. It would have been far easier to stay put but you want to give you and your family more. And if we don’t change something, nothing will change. And change really does keep us alive and vibrant. It always amazes me how adaptable children are. Sometimes the things we worry about usually amount to nothing. Having family support must also be a great help. All the best with your new house and life in Telford #brillblogposts
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  3. Kaz (Ickle Pickles Mummy)
    February 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow – you are amazing! What a truly brave thing to do _ I think you are setting a brilliant example to your children. Well done you! x
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  4. Lisa (mummascribbles)
    February 13, 2015 at 10:04 am (3 years ago)

    So glad that this paid off for you – it was a very brave decision but it definitely sounds like it was the right thing to do 🙂 #mmwbh

  5. Lewis@Dadwhoblogs
    February 12, 2015 at 6:27 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow. I was talking to my sister in law (19 weeks pregnant) yesterday about how crazy it is making decisions that affect our kids. I was talking about schools and clothes and what to have for dinner…this is just crazy and I am happy it all seemed to have worked out for you!
    Good luck for the future!
    L

  6. yanique
    February 11, 2015 at 9:28 pm (3 years ago)

    As parents we do have to make those hard choices and you just hope and pray you are making the right decision. I’m glad your choice to move paid off. You really are superwoman. I moved when I was 9 mos pregnant and nearly lost my mind with all the chaos. You moved by yourself with 6 kids while working 7 jobs! I feel so lazy right now lol!
    yanique recently posted…Activities That Boost Children’s Self-EsteemMy Profile

  7. JoyandPops
    February 11, 2015 at 2:25 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so glad this decision worked out well for you – it must have been so hard at the time.
    We’re currently deciding whether or not to make a move. Our children are 7 and 2, obviously our youngest isn’t really bothered but our eldest daughter isn’t keen at all. As parents we never want to upset our children but we must also remember the greater good, that perhaps only we can see.
    Great post!
    Xx
    #brilliantblogposts
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  8. Mummy Fever
    February 11, 2015 at 9:28 am (3 years ago)

    What a brave and clever mummy you are – well done! #brilliantblogposts
    Mummy Fever recently posted…How to revive tired eyesMy Profile

  9. Emma | TheMiniMesAndMe
    February 11, 2015 at 9:24 am (3 years ago)

    It’s lovely to hear that despite the original stress and chaos a move can bring that everything went well and the kids are happy!

    Over from #MMWBH

  10. Mim
    February 11, 2015 at 7:41 am (3 years ago)

    What a wonderful and brave thing to have done and it absolutely sounds like you did the right thing in following your heart. Sometimes that’s all we can do when making such big decisions. Oh my word 7 jobs – yes, I also hope you never have to do that again! Mim @ http://www.mamamim.com #MMWBH
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  11. International Elf Service
    February 10, 2015 at 10:14 pm (3 years ago)

    Gosh you are a brave and strong lady – I find the logistics of moving so overwhelming and difficult that it completely puts me off. I really admire you for it and particularly with the 6 kids too. All credit to you! It does all sound like you made absolutely the right decision x
    International Elf Service recently posted…Asian SpinachMy Profile

  12. Sarah
    February 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm (3 years ago)

    Tough decisions come with the role of being a parents, but props to you! That was a hard decision but you made the right one and all that hardwork payed off. Happy for you Superwoman! 🙂
    Sarah recently posted…8 great things about my 8 year oldMy Profile

  13. Alice Young
    February 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, you really had such a huge decision but it looks like you made the right one. Although it didn’t come easy, you worked so hard and should be really proud of yourself. Pleased your happy and enjoying a fresh start, sometimes they are just needed! Thanks for linking up #MummyMonday xx
    Alice Young recently posted…Fruit & Vegetable PaintingMy Profile

  14. Eimear
    February 9, 2015 at 11:41 am (3 years ago)

    You’re some woman to do all that, fair play to you got following your gut and doing what was right for you and your family! #mummymonday

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