A Little Bit Lost

I’ve been boring friends, family, Twitter followers (sorry) and myself lately with the issue of where to raise Tom. I feel like as soon as he gets into any kind of trouble, I’ll blame myself.  I can’t afford to move to the posh end of town unless we get a lodger. Even if I do, the authority couldn’t tell me which school Tom would get in until we moved, so there’s a strong chance we’d go through the expense and upheaval of moving, only for him to get into a less-than-decent school nowhere near our new house. We could move to somewhere more rural, but I wouldn’t like that. Tom comes first, but a lonely and miserable mother does not a happy child make. I keep snapping my laptop shut late at night when I find myself considering eerie-looking cottages on the Moors.

We stayed with Mum for Easter. I don’t come back often, because it reminds me of living here when Tom was a baby. The memories are bittersweet: a mixture of taking him for long, sunny walks in his pram and of arguing with Mum and my obsession with getting back to Manchester. I felt like I had been forced out of the place where I belonged through my own stupidity – and like everyone else was having wild parties while I was changing nappies (which was true.) I was  too immature to realise that stuff like that isn’t really important. There’s still a photograph of a rainbow over Manchester hanging off the wall of the bedroom I shared with Tom – and a crumpled DPercussion sticker on the mirror. Even though I’ll be eternally grateful to Mum for taking me in when I was pregnant and despite the fact this is a lovely place to raise kids, I just wanted to get back.

So, I did go back – just before Tom was two. I moved in near one of my closest friends, not in the trendy part of town, but in an area where I could afford a great house near good parks, not too far from the city centre. And three years on, we’re still there, but when your child gets to school age, things change. Our friends who are still in Manchester mostly live in the opposite side of town and there’s much more happening there for children, which means the rent is extortionate.

Last night, we went for a dusk walk to the park where I took Tom when he was a baby. It was so quiet; all we could hear were the birds and the air smelt sickly with early summer flowers.

“Why can’t we live here?” he said.

“We used to.”

“Why did we move?”

“I don’t know.” I said.

After I put him to bed, I felt guilty. Then there was a programme about Lowry on the telly, he lived not too far from us. It made me feel excited about going home. The city has got loads going for it when it comes to raising kids and there is plenty of green space – you just have to look a bit futher for it. Parties aren’t the only reason why I love Manchester.

We do need to move soon, but not to the countryside or the suburbs. I’ve got a year or so before Tom’s going to start wanting to join the kids who play in the road. In the meantime, things aren’t desperate where we are, it could be much worse. I don’t know how we’ll get where we need to be, but there will be a way.


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11 responses to “A Little Bit Lost

  1. You’ve got a good knack of balancing the description of a tough situation with an entertaining, engaging tone. There’s a lot of issues I’ve shyed away from on my blog through fear of depresing people- but we’re not all robots. We deal with shit, and provided it’s handled right, people enjoy reading about it. I hope you and your boy do well.

    • Emily

      Thanks for this comment – I do avoid writing on here at times so I don’t come across as a complete whinge bag. (You should have seen the previous incarnation of this post, which I deleted when I thought better of it!)

  2. Your son is lucky to have a mum that cares so much about him. Nicely written, and I hope you work things out soon, and sure if not, things will work out fine too. I’m sure you and he are much more than sponges of your surroundings.

  3. B

    I grew up [and left and came back then left home again and then ended up back again] in the Flixton/ Urmston area, it’s no Chorlton or Didsbury or Sale, [less rich/ on plus side we have less ‘yummy mummies’ ] but it’s only a 20/30 minute bus ride away, or 40 minutes on the bus to the Centre of town. [most of my friends live in those areas/ or town ].
    There’s parks, good schools [ I went to school here and I did ok], fairly regular trains and buses to town [and only 45 mins on the train to Liverpool]. We’ve even got lovely meadows [and there’s your standard coffee shops and posh-er shops cropping up in town sports centres, swimming baths and thriving libraries…and also, close to the Trafford Centre, still not sure if that’s good or bad]. Parts can be a bit dodgy, but generally it was a nice place to grow up. It doesn’t have quite the same ‘community’ feeling as other South Manch areas, but I’ve always assumed that’s because it’s less affluent… and it is getting there.

    Stretford, also has a bit of a bad rep but is only the next area along from Urmston, on all the same bus lines, closer to the posher South Manchester areas, Old Trafford and it too, has meadows albeit with more pitbull owning hoodies!

    • Emily

      Thanks B. Where we live now isn’t bad, I just really miss that community feel sometimes. I’m sure we’ll find our way to where we’re meant to be eventually.

  4. My sister lives in Stockport just outside Didsbury (Didsbury is one side of the road, Stockport (Heaton Mersey I think to be precise) the other). Because of this her house was a lot cheaper as is the council tax!

    Not that I know if Didsbury is a good area but it looks it when I visit!

    • Emily

      Good tip for Heaton Mersey! I want to live in Chorlton, which is all trees and tie dye and lots of dosh. It would probably really do my head in after a week.

  5. Pingback: A Post about Self-Pity « Attached Mummy

  6. I second Urmston, much cheaper for everything, excellent schools, and a market, and is definitely changing…

    I’d go back there, if it wasn’t so far from the boyo’s school.

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