Moving is the worst. There’s a reason it’s up there among life’s biggest stressors, right after the death of a loved one and divorce. OK, so I couldn’t find a reputable source to back up that claim, but I believe it.
In our family, big things seem to come in threes. We were three for three before the end of summer: New baby, new job, and new house. Moving has been by far the most stressful. And I wasn’t the only one feeling it. While we gave ourselves a year to find the right house, it found us much sooner than we anticipated. We were at the closing table just a couple months into our search. Even though we brought our kids to “meet” every house we seriously considered, nothing prepared us for the day of our final walk-through, when I suddenly heard sobs coming from what would be our new dining room.
I thought for sure “O” had run into a wall while spinning around or some other thing a four-year-old does in an empty house. But when I found her, with her little hands shielding her face, she seemed completely unscathed. I asked her what was wrong, and in between gulps of air she said, “I (gasp) don’t (gasp) want (gasp) to moooooove. I love our house.”
All I could do was cradle her little head and say, “I know, baby. I love our house, too.”
After all, it was the house where we brought O home from the hospital. It’s where we recently celebrated Baby #2’s first birthday. It’s where we stomped in puddles after it rained and blew bubbles in the spring. We had the perfect location, but it was time to consider options outside of our artsy, eight-block neighborhood.
As I dried her tears, I realized we still had a lot of work ahead of us, and I was determined to turn things around. After a little reading and a lot of talking to other moms who moved with little ones, I put together 10 reminders/suggestions that made things more manageable for our family. I hope this list helps to make moving a little bit easier to manage for both you and your kids:
1. Start the day off right. Whether that means pre-dawn yoga or a cold shower, go for it. For me, it means fresh-ground Jet Fuel.[hr]
2. Get the kids involved. We started packing a few weeks before the big move. Every time I put something into a box a small pair of hands was taking it out. So, we turned packing into a game. Both kids got to be big helpers and I got to pack some of the more fragile items in peace.[hr]
3. Technology is your friend. As a rule, I don’t have games on my phone, but I couldn’t resist this handy-dandy, free app from Sesame Street. Granted, it’s geared towards military families and some specific aspects of moving, but the ideas are universal and it really did help O feel more in control of the situation.
4. Hire professionals. If you’re tempted to say, “We can do it ourselves!” or “I’m sure my brothers won’t mind!” save everyone some backache and hire professional movers. Ours moved us out of one house and into another (in only two trips) in just over four hours. They had all the necessary equipment, and halfway through I didn’t have to bribe them with beer.[hr]
5. Accept help. Children roaming around near big moving objects sounds like a recipe for disaster if I’ve ever heard one. Thanks to lovely friends and family, our little ones were happily preoccupied and Mom and Dad kept their sanity. And, we got to baby-proof while we were at it![hr]
6. Take a break. Right after the movers hit the road, we took a few moments to savor the moment. Is there any better way to do that than with a cold one? Not only did it give us a chance to survey the rooms and make sure we were happy with everything, it also gave my husband and me a chance to relish in the excitement of our new home![hr]
7. Bring in the familiar. Thanks to my ever-considerate husband, O’s room was set up almost exactly like she had it at our old house. He made it his mission to unpack her room first, so that when she came home it was familiar surprise. Not only that, she also had her favorite dinner waiting for her![hr]
8. Breathe. For some, it’s the scent of chocolate chip cookies, fresh bread, or laundry that smells like home. Nothing says home to me like my favorite candle burning.[hr]
9. Make your bed. Even if you’re just going to crash, it give you a surprising sense of accomplishment. Don’t believe me? Perhaps a Navy SEAL can convince you![hr]
10. Celebrate. Moving is the worst, and the worst is over!