I HATE YOU AND I HATE IT HERE! (A Story Of Just How Much Kids Hate Change)

Kids hate change and here's how to cope.

I HATE YOU AND I HATE IT HERE!

Not the thing you want to hear after you’ve closed escrow on a fricking sanctuary of a home in a forest of redwood trees (or any home, really). But that’s exactly what I heard last weekend. And not just once or twice. My two youngest kids must have told me they hate me at least a half dozen times an hour over the course of three days. Why? Because kids hate change.

This is one of those pivotal moments in the parenting game. Are you going to level-up with patience and empathy? Are you going to tap out and go into full gaslighting mode and tell your whiney-ass kids to shut the f&*k up? Are you going to look for something in between, “I know you are maybe feeling a little scared but if you tell me you hate me one more time I’m going to lock you outside.”?

Last weekend was my chance to find out.

Two months ago we bought a new house.

I think we can agree that this house is a dream (unless you hate the beautiful forest, in which case, you should probably get that checked out). I won’t bore you with the details of the whole sordid affair.

Long story short: We bought this incredible house. It is far from where we currently live (3.5 hours). It is my literal dream.

Aaaaaand my kids hate it. (Did I mention kids hate change?)

Spoiler alert: sometimes your dreams don’t align with your kids’ dreams.
 

You Might Also Like: Stop Gaslighting Your Kids

 

See: I HATE YOU AND I HATE IT HERE.

Not the thing I wanted to hear on our first trip to the new house. We aren’t fully moving until school is out, but in the meantime we have the supreme privilege of going to the house on the weekends. My husband and I have both been up to paint and decorate. We both wanted to wait to take the kids up until things were feeling a little more settled.

I know they don’t really hate me or the house. They just hate change.

Because kids like normalcy, right? Routine. Pancakes on Sunday and familiar books before bed. All of that. And I thought of every detail. I decorated their room, filled their dressers with clothes. Stocked the pantry with favorite snacks. Made sure there was a TV (and Netflix), bought games and even a new vacation house for the hamster.

I mean. The bedroom has stag heads and wallpaper with BIRDS.

I mean THIS IS THEIR BEDROOM, OKAY?

But there was one thing I didn’t consider.

It doesn’t matter how many things you consider, your kids may (read: probably will) still freak out. Because kids don’t like change. It’s like the cardinal rule of parenting: Kids crave routine.

Routine =/ moving to a new house in the woods.

It all started out fun enough. New and exciting. And then it was bedtime. And LOL no. New rooms are scary and epic mom-fail I forgot a nightlight. So my husband and I ended up laying in bed with them and both promptly fell asleep (which was not my idea of a Super Fun Friday Night).  

The next morning, guess the first thing that happened (after the kids woke up at 4:30 am)? The power went out. Then the generator kicked on (living in the forest where trees fall down everyday = must have generator). The generator, while wonderful to have (because electricity is important), happens to sounds like a jet engine running at full throttle.

So that’s not terrifying at all.

Cue Max sobbing and Ella screaming bloody murder.

Then, because it wasn’t already enough of a shit show, my husband was making toast (in the oven, I don’t know why because I bought a toaster, but whatever) and set it on fire. (Note: cooking with propane, NOT THE SAME AS REGULAR GAS). The flaming toast set off the smoke detector. This would all have been fine — a beeping smoke detector is nothing new to our kids — except this smoke detector doesn’t beep it yells. FIRE. FIRE. FIRE.

So that’s not terrifying at all.

Try explaining to your over-analytical five-year-old that just because it SAYS fire doesn’t MEAN fire.

As you can see, things were going splendidly.

Then my husband started having a mini panic attack about running out of propane (because that’s how the generator functions and he has a more-than-mild case of anxiety), so he shut off the generator. This caused Max (the five-year-old) to panic even further. After which Matt (husband) realized that without matches or functioning electricity, our gas stove couldn’t even light so he turned the generator BACK ON (because we desperately needed coffee), which freaked Max out again.

All of this culminated in Max screaming. “I HATE YOU AND I HATE IT HERE!” for like the 17th time in 24 hours.

I know they don’t really hate me or the house. They just hate change.

Kids HATE CHANGE. Kids just really really hate change.

This could have been a helpful article, like 7 Ways To Prepare Your Kids For A Move or 11 Ways To Help Your Kids Feel Secure During Big Changes or 5 Ways To Lock Your Kids Outside Without Having CPS Knock On Your Door (jkjk. I mean, kind of.)

I can do any one of those articles in like 92 words.

1. Talk about it.

2. Surround them with familiar things.

3. Stay calm.

4. Keep all of your routines (bedtime, meals, etc).

5. Be patient and don’t take it personally when they tell you they don’t want you to be their mother anymore.

6. Move to the forest so when you lock them outside no one can hear them yelling “CHILD ABUSE.” (My mother totally locked me outside on multiple occasions and just so you know, screaming “CHILD ABUSE” doesn’t work).

7. Talk about it.

8. Sedate them with Benadryl.

(Just kidding. Don’t do that. I’m a Registered Nurse and I am telling you don’t do that.)

(I mean unless you’re really desperate.)

(Just kidding. Really, don’t do that.)

Here’s the thing, that is some Parenting 101 bullshit; you can find that anywhere.

I could write about how to maintain your cool head in the face of “I HATE YOU AND I HATE IT HERE!” But if you can actually consistently maintain your cool head in the face of that nonsense, YOU should write the article. Because I LOST MY SHIT.

I lost my everlovin' shit.

I did not level-up, I FLIPPED OUT. So now I am here to tell you six things you probably already know, but need to hear anyway.

1. Change is hard.

2. It is hard for everyone.

3. Even adults.

4. Sometimes during a big change, you will lose your everlovin' shit.

5. It’s ok.

6. Your kids are going to learn the f-word somewhere.

A few hours after the FIRE FIRE FIRE incident and the jet-engine generator thing, we saw some ducks frolicking in the stream behind the house. Max looked out the dining room window, jumping up and down on the white oak hardwood, exclaiming, “I LOVE IT HERE, MOMMY. THANKS FOR BUYING THIS HOUSE.”

So, there’s that.

By the end of the weekend the kids were sleeping until at least 5:30. The power was restored (fallen tree, as suspected). There was no more burnt bread. We ate pancakes on Sunday and read stories. They learned to love the clawfoot bath tub and I learned that in the face of change everyone panics at least a little bit.


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