Before I had children, moving to a new city meant that there would be certain challenges that I would have to overcome and back in those days, they were the absolute thorn in my side. They included but were not limited to the following:
Finding a new hairdresser
All the ladies with blonde hair definitely would understand me when I say there is nothing worse than a brassy or gold blonde and I can tell you from experience there aren’t a heap of hairdressers that can get the perfect blonde right. I have had many a bad hair colour that has either left me in the salon hours on end for it to be fixed or has led me to beanie, hat or headband wearing for 8 weeks.
A new beautician to, you know, be gentle
Finding the right beautician for me is always difficult because I like to take all my services there. This means in one appointment I get my waxing done (eyebrows, bikini) eyelashes tinted (my eyebrows are naturally white. Not blonde, white!), and manicure/pedicure. It’s not only less time consuming this way – because this personal maintenance stuff is truly the bane of my existence – but it means I get to know the salon and the staff which is always nice. But alas, I haven’t always come out of the tried and tested beauty salon feeling fresh, clean and radiant – I have had a few horror stories that I fear will continue for as long as aren’t permanently settled in one place. Oh the pain, the pain!
The search for the perfect Cappuccino
Everyone, everyone, loves to have a favourite coffee shop. I love walking by my local Michele’s Patisserie where I often see a little group of purple rinse elderly ladies sipping on a cup of tea while sharing a piece of cake or two – and you just know they have been doing that for years. Whether you like to drink coffee or not, its always nice to find a lovely local you where you can go and have a beverage of your choice with someone you love the company of. For me, the quality of coffee is up there, but you better serve it with a smile or we won’t be back.
So now I have kids – two of them. And while the challenges above still continue plague me whenever we move to a new city, a whole new set has been added to the list.
Finding the perfect house that’s right for your family
Pre-kids, my husband and I were always very adaptable. You could stick us anywhere really (as long as it had a cute coffee shop nearby) and we would be fine. We didn’t care too much for space- we were rarely home anyway. It didn’t have to be flashy or new, we just needed something clean and homely to create a “home away from home”. But when kids come into the equation it’s a whole new ball game. And when you are away from family and friends, its important to be as comfortable as your budget allows because you spend a lot of time at home. Finding the perfect house to rent always presents a problem in smaller cities like Newcastle because there isn’t that much around as people often buy to live here. And so it’s a competitive market with open houses packed to the brim with families just like us waltzing through on their best behaviour in order to win the lease of the rental in question. And just when we think we are doing an excellent job at winning the property managers over, our smallest child breaks a vase and the next person that walks in is one of an “executive couple” that happens to have gone to school with the agent. We all know who’ll get that house don’t we?
The search for a pre-school or good childcare begins
If you have read my blog you would know I placed Sienna, my nearly 4 year old, on numerous waiting lists for a good pre-school and until yesterday, we were waiting for that golden phone call of acceptance. We waited for over 6 months until we finally got accepted into an excellent school, which of course, was well worth the wait. But still. When being in this industry often means it’s not always guaranteed where you will be next week, let alone next year, how can you plan for these things? And what’s the solution? Unfortunately, there isn’t one. While schools understand how difficult it is to plan for someone in your position, there are other kids on the list with special needs or requirements and it means that they go first, when and if a spot comes up in the near future. This of course is fair and right, but it doesn’t make finding a school for my child at the last minute any easier. If only I had a crystal ball…
Finding activities and parks for your kiddies to safely run a muck
My children are high energy and a little fearless. I was once told there were two types of kids – Ticks and Runners – and unfortunately for me, I got two Runners. And climbers. Any object with a ledge of some description, they will climb. Any bush they discover they will hide behind and come out with their hands covered in dirt. I often call them Cairns jungle kids because no doubt they took after their father – one of two rebellious jungle brothers that caused a ruckus everywhere they went. Only mine are girls. So one of the first things I do when I move cities is find a fenced and safe playground so I am not hyperventilating every 2 seconds at their disappearance or the fact that they, in the space of exactly a minute, are 8 metres high about to slide down a super slide. Sigh.
And after the great big search ends and you have crossed everything off your list…
You settle and enjoy your new city. And hope you stay there a while… And if not, then the search begins again! Ah, the things we do for love.
This article was first published on motherpedia.com.au