Whether moving across town, across state lines, or across the country, it’s a stressful time and if you have a spouse and little ones in the mix too, then you have your hands full (per usual)! Whatever the reason for the move, there are some tips and tricks to get through it all with your wits about you. Yes, take it from me, a new mama who packed up life in Chicago with three-month old twins to head north to Madison last fall. We made it and I’m happy to report, everyone is doing great and loving Madison life!
- Make a plan. Do you need to break a lease or sell a condo? Figure out what your paperwork steps are first and enlist the help of your realtor, a trusted pal, or partner to get the basics lined out. How much do you need to sell for vs. how much to put down at your new place? What neighborhoods are recommended by locals? Good schools? Grocery stores? Parks? All questions to be answered while you’re making your plans. The more have on paper, the better you’ll be able to recall in a pinch (or when mommy brain strikes again)!
- Divvy up what the kiddos can and can’t live without for the next few months. In our case, the twins were three months old and we were moving into my mom’s condo downtown for the foreseeable future, so we took the 3-6mo and 6-9mo clothes bins just to be safe. The weather also went from summer to fall, so we took that into account too. Bottles, breastfeeding pillow, Boppies – check, check and check. Toys, we didn’t have many anyway and the twins weren’t mobile yet, but we did go down to one swing which took some getting used to! If your kiddos are bigger, they may not outgrow their clothes as fast, but obviously they may not want to part with their giant teddy bear for a couple of months of they sleep with it every night.
- Keep their sleep situation as close to the same as you can during any transition and when you get to your new home. This one is tricky, but I think of it like when I travel and can’t fall asleep in a hotel room – I wish I had x, y and z like I do at home. Your littles are no different! For our little clan, this meant bringing our sound machine, sheets and jammies washed in their detergent and the same routine to go to sleep every night (changing, feeding, rocking and down). I credit our diligence to this mantra with how good of sleepers we have now. They went from their adorable bedroom and beds, to crammed into a room with mama and dada in play pens, back to their beds in their new bedrooms – all while pretty much sleeping through the night (results not typical!).
- Try to paint/make bigger remodeling updates before you move in. I wish I would have taken my own advice here, which is why I’m sharing it with you. Try to make these projects happen prior to move-in, so you can avoid having to work around your babies, having them sniff the fumes (yes, even low/no VOC paint shouldn’t be inhaled by the littlest citizens), having them run into a freshly painted wall with their walkers. Then, when you’re all in your new space, you can start settling in a bit easier/faster/better – hang photos, place shelves, or organize to your heart’s content without worrying about when you’re possibly going to have the time to paint that wall, change that light fixture, or whatever the project might be.
- Explore your new surroundings together. It will get everyone used to the sights, sounds and amenities near by – so step out (or drive out) and see what’s what. Are there parks? Where’s the coffee shop (all the coffee shops for me, please!)? Groceries? Schools? Daycares? Pools and splash pads? Mom groups? Check it out and point out the fun new things you’re seeing, even if your pint-sized people can’t talk yet, they’ll appreciate the conversation.