Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Baby + Move + Job = What Was I Thinking?

When I found Monique Johnson and her sweetly-named blog Loving Caring Living, I knew we would get along famously. She read my blog post Take This Job and Move It, about how on earth anyone can orchestrate a family's relocation while working full-time, and she got in touch with me, saying she had done that very thing. And then she casually added that she moved with a 3-week-old baby. 


If you're thinking this is Super Woman, you're right. She survived that move and more - moving four times for her husband's job since 2002 - and now, as an educator and mother of four, she blogs about her life as an active mom at Loving Caring Living
Here is Monique's moving story. After you answer her question in the comments section, check out her blog.

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Monique Johnson
My husband was being promoted and we were both excited.  The promotion meant a move from Pennsylvania to Georgia.  At the time, we had been married for five years, had a 3 year-old daughter and were expecting another girl.  I was working full time as an administrator at a local university.  This would be our first relocation as a family. I was looking forward to the change.  I don't mind change, and quite honestly work was wearing me out.  So the move came at the right time and I was looking forward to taking some time off.

Prior to the move, my husband met someone who worked at the university there in Georgia.  He mentioned my background to the gentleman, and I sent my resume.  The rest is history.  I moved to Georgia in May and was due to begin a full time job in August as a full time assistant professor.

Oh Man!  What was I thinking!

The Birth and The Move

Just 18 short days after I gave birth, we moved to Georgia.  The move was not as challenging as I thought it would be.  My husband's employer takes great care of its employees by covering house hunting expenses, closing cost fees, and all moving costs.  We were also assigned a relocation counselor who walked us through all aspects of the move.  If we had to move ourselves, I'd still be in Pennsylvania to this day.... seriously.

I packed a week's worth of clothes for the family and that's about it.  A team of people spent a couple of days at our home packing up all of our belongings.  My neighbors, co-workers and friends stopped by to see our new baby and to bid us farewell.  I was excited about our new venture, but a little overwhelmed by all of the work ahead of us.

On our final day, my husband had to go into work for a couple of hours.  By the time he returned home, the truck had pulled off.  I remember just sitting in the middle of the empty family room in a folding chair, my 3-year-old in her chair, and the baby in the carrier.  We drove to Philadelphia to stay the weekend with my in-laws.  It was Memorial Day weekend.  The family threw a going away party for us, prior to our flight to Georgia.

Once we arrived in Georgia we checked into a hotel for a few days.  This was probably the worst part of the moving experience.  Four people in a hotel room, two of them being kids, did not work well.  Babies are up all hours of the night, and so is everyone else in the room.  I was nursing, so sleepless nights were sort of the norm.  If I had to do it all over again, I'd get a suite or a one-bedroom hotel.  Thank goodness it was only for a couple of days until the truck arrived with our things.

The Truck Is Here

The truck arrived and we moved into our brand spanking new home.  The great part about this move was that I was going to be five hours from my parents instead of 15 hours.

The not-so-fun part of moving is the unpacking, the paper, and the boxes.  Ten pieces of paper for one glass really is over the top but I understand the need to protect the stuff.  My mom, my aunt and uncle came to Georgia to help us unpack.  Their visit was planned.  So be sure to coordinate your support system early on.  It was nice to have help, especially since I was nursing and still recovering.  After they left, I had to hit the ground running because a lot had to be done.

Baby on the Way

By the time January rolled around, I was pregnant again.  I had a 4-year-old, 8-month-old, and a baby in the oven.  The graduate program I was teaching in was tough on me and my kids because my classes were at night and on the weekend.  The schedule was just too much for me.  I finished the school year out, and resigned from my position.  I continued to teach part-time and engage in contract work periodically.  This was the beginning of my stay-at-home-mom adventures.  I was finally going to take the break that I should have taken when I had the opportunity.

Keeping It Movin'

We made some good connections early on with couples who are great friends to this day.  I found the people in Georgia to be very friendly and hospitable.  What they say about southern hospitality is true.  Overall, I enjoyed my experience there except for the out-of-control humidity, the gnats, and the fire ant mounds.  I never could get used to seeing those things.  The best part of Georgia was adding a new addition to the family, the birth of my son.

We lived there for four years, and then it was on to Ohio.  So there you have it - the ups, downs, and everything in between.  It really wasn't that bad because there was a lot of support in place.  There will always be challenges but I choose to embrace each change with a positive outlook.

How have you handled a move recently?

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Monique Johnson is a program director or a reading program for five elementary schools. She holds a doctorate degree and is a former assistant professor, assistant dean and assistant director of career services in higher education. She is the mom of four children, ages 10 to 27. Besides blogging at Loving Caring Living, she enjoys reading, journaling, traveling and decorating. 


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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