Moving is a pretty miserable experience all around. There's lots of tape, that weird cellophane wrapping stuff for your couch which is just hilarious to try and get right, and of course, boxes and boxes and boxes. Who knew you had so much stuff? Add a lovely, helpful, accommodating toddler (read: teething, needy, napless) into the mix and you pretty much have the moving apocalypse of 2016 (coming soon to a theater near you). Having recently made a cross country exodus to the land of palm trees and juice bars, I feel I am well acquainted with those things I WISH I had known prior to moving with my almost 2-year-old. I have decided to pass on all of my newfound wisdom with all of you mamas and dads who might be making a little (or big) move of your own!
- START EARLY Do not wait until the last minute to try and get all your stuff together. This will absolutely lead to more tears, yours and babes, simply because you'll be a frantic mess. Work on putting a box together every day. Start with the things you know you won't be using, like decorations or your work-out clothes.
- ASK FOR HELP Some things are just straight up not going to happen when you have a toddler in tow, whether they had a nap that day or not. One of those things is going to rent your moving truck, another one of those things is putting away dishes. Just no. Ask your bestie to watch the little for a few hours while you do a few things that they can't be around for and you'll all be better off.
- PATIENCE One thing you need to realize is that your babe knows something is going down. They're watching you pack up all their stuff and run around like a crazy person with the packing tape and Sharpie, and they know there are big changes happening. Make sure to be patient with your little one, because they are dealing with big changes to their schedule too! Spend a little more time with them playing, or giving them a couple extra minutes in the bath so that they know your relationship hasn't changed.
- MAKE MEALS AHEAD If you are fine to eat out every night, then by all means skip down to #5 and pick me up a carne asada burrito. If you would like to save some cash during what is most likely a very expensive moving situation, then I suggest you make some freezer meals in disposable pans that you can pull out, bake, and toss when you're all done. We definitely spent a pretty penny on take out and fast food trying to save our sanity, and once our kitchen things were packed, we were out of options. Don't be like us.
- BREAKS Once you're all packed up and you've got your truck loaded down, you're ready to make your trip across the country... With a book on tape... With your toddler in the backseat... for 20 hours. Mama's gonna need a break. And so is babe! You need to make sure you aren't pushing yourself so hard that you're not going to be able to deal with your little one once you stop for lunch/dinner/the night. Making regular stops will definitely make the overall trip longer, but it will definitely make it easier!
- COMFORT When we're talking about strapping your kid into the backseat for 20 hours, comfort is KEY. It starts with the car seat, and you want to make sure that they're strapped in safe, snug, and tight. I would also recommend underdressing them, winter or summer. Chances are your babe is going to get sweaty in the backseat (especially if they're rear facing), and you can always throw a blanket on them if they need it (they won't). At the end of our trip, I ended up stripping my babe to his diaper... Good grief. But you'll also want to get a window shade (blankets work too) so the sun won't be beating down on them, and I've even heard of some genius mamas putting a clip on fan facing your babe so that they don't overheat. Also, I have two words for the mama driving this crazy train: Road. Soda.
- SNACKS Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. They pretty much solve every problem at all times. Even if you're just trying to make it to the next rest stop, handing your kid an apple or some veggie straws will keep them quiet and occupied for a few minutes while you take a deep breath to get you through the next stretch. I kept a cooler bag in the front seat by me so that I could keep some things cold like milk, squeeZ apple sauces/yogurts, and See's (which I did not pass back, so just judge me later).
- THINK AHEAD This can sometimes be hard, but try your best to think and plan ahead for certain utilities that you know you'll need right away. Water, electric and gas are easy ones that you'll want to make absolutely sure are on when you get there. But also keep in mind wifi, cable, or trash and try your best to schedule those things about a week or so ahead of time. This will save you a lot of stress once you arrive, and will make sure those things get done within a couple days of you moving in. The only thing worse than not having wifi is not having wifi when your toddler is demanding Daniel Tiger and you can't deliver. *shudder* Plan ahead. Life changing.
- PRIORITIES So you've made it to your new place! You've checked things out, taken a deep breath, and unbuckled your babe from the backseat. Now what? Where do you start with the 6 million boxes that need to be unpacked and put in their new home? My advice: Start with the crib, your bed, chargers, and your toothbrushes (assuming your diaper bag is full of diapers, but don't forget those). Your babe will thank you for a good night sleep (ha) in their crib after the long day in the car. Once you've got those essentials out, I would move on to the kitchen. I saved this until the VERY last thing (typical) and we had a hard time for a minute. We were still eating In'N'Out daily, because the kitchen was just so daunting. Just get it over with, unpack it, and get some groceries. It will be the main thing that makes this new place feel like your place.
- IT WILL COME Once the move is technically over, and you're still working on unpacking, putting up all your decorations, and purchasing a bunch of random things that you forgot you would need in your new place, you're going to start to get down on yourself. It is so easy to feel discouraged, and to feel like you won't ever get it all done, and that you're somehow falling behind schedule. My two cents? It will come. Worried that you've still got all your artwork, mirrors and the big clock to hang up? It will come. You've still got half your son's toys boxed in the garage? It will come. You can't get it all done at once, and you're making it work on your time! Spend time with your little one, explore your new home, and don't worry too much about getting it all done at once. It will come.
Good luck on your moves, mamas! XO