Wondering where I’ve been? This is where I’ve been!
A girlfriend of mine moved houses when she was eight months pregnant. I thought she was nuts to undertake such a physical project while swollen and exhausted, but now I understand the rush, because the only thing harder than relocating during your third trimester is moving with small children.
I just moved my four-year-old and fast crawling eight-month-old baby from a long-term rental into our first home and, boy, did I get my ass kicked. For weeks, I felt crazed, because with packing and parenting competing for my attention, I wasn’t doing either very well. But you can learn from my mistakes, as well as the few things I actually did right. Here my top tips for a low stress move with little ones:
1. Pack Like You’re Going on a Trip – Gather everything you’d need for a weeklong vacation and stick it in a suitcase that goes in your car, not on the moving truck. That way, you’ll have a laundry cycle’s worth of clothes plus toiletries, medicines, gadgets and their chargers, and your kids’ favorite books, toys and lovies at the ready without having to search through boxes. Make sure to include any baby feeding supplies (bottles, bibs, infant spoons, etc.) I forgot to put sippy cups in my suitcase and even after unpacking six kitchen cartons, they were nowhere to be found. I’m assuming they’ll turn up around the time my kids start drinking from wine glasses.
2. Babyproof First – If you’re making a local move and/or have access to your new home before move-in day, there’s a lot you can do to prep the environment so that it’s safe and comfortable for kids. Before we even moved in, we covered the outlets, put safety locks on the cabinets and installed baby gates. When you’re trying to set up house and mother at the same time, it’s reassuring to know your toddler can’t run away from home while you’re looking the wrong way.
3. Honor Mixed Feelings – My four-year-old, though initially excited about her new home, turned sullen when our moving date approached. “I’m going to miss our old house,” she moped. I could have responded, “Don’t be silly, the new house is so much bigger!” But she didn’t need me listing its amenities like a realtor—she needed me to acknowledge her real feelings of loss and displacement. We talked openly about the things we would both miss, like the flowering tree decal permanently adhered to her old bedroom wall. Taking some commemorative photos and videos helped.
Keep reading at Mom.me…