Ever since our oldest was born in 2012, the hubs and I wanted to move south. He is originally from Maryland and I, well, I was born and raised in the same town. Hell, I even went to college in the same town. New Hampshire (where I am from and where we met) is a beautiful place to grow up and live, but beauty only gets you so far. We were about an hour and a half from Boston where there was always something to do. And while we could muster up the energy to drive down there every few weekend to have some family fun, there was this other major fact that frequently kept us indoors; winter. Yes folks, the New England winters are what drove us away (well that and the mini high school reunions every time we went out – that’s what happens when you don’t leave the town you go to highschool in). And boy did they drive us away, a thousand miles away to be exact.
Moving so far away with a young family to an area where you essentially know no one is obviously no easy choice. Yet, it was something that we had to do. We were strategic about it, the boys were both young, and yes, our oldest did have relationships with the people we shared our lives with in New Hampshire, he was not yet in school and we felt it was the best time to do something like this. The hubs also got a job before we went down. Had we been young and childless we would have just saved for a bit then made the change and find jobs once we got down here. But with children going without insurance and no income is not really something we could or wanted to do.
There were a number of other things that made this move possible that are a little more in depth.
one. Spend Time Apart.
No- I am not talking a marital separation, I am talking about long distance parenting by choice. WHY!? you may ask, Why would you CHOOSE that!? Because we were not relocating by force (military or job relation), we had the advantage of doing this at our own pace and of course backing out at anytime. We decided that Richard would move down ahead of us and spend two months in our new home to get a feel for the area and job. While parenting essentially alone for two months was not easy (power to all your single parents out there) it was worth it. It allowed Richard to ensure that the job and location for our family was the right choice.
two. Open communication with all involved parties.
This was a relatively quick process. Hubs accepted the job in early July, moved down at the end of the month, and we followed suit in early October. Before he left, we spent lots of time together and made sure to keep Maddox (a very aware 3 year old) in the loop. We talked to him about daddy going away for a little and that we’d be able to talk on the phone whenever he wanted. We were in open communication with the boys school and they supported us in our transition. They allowed Maddox to call dad during the day if he ever needed to talk to him, they were understanding about bad days and helped us all.
We read lots of books about moving, The Berenstain Bears Moving Day book was helpful. Along with so many others I cannot remember. We talked about making new friends and all the fun things we’d be able to do. I let him pick the movies and toys for the 16 hour drive down and made sure he felt like he was contributing to the process so that he could feel good about everything and not like it was something we were forcing him to do that he didn’t want to do.
three. Pay for other people to move your stuff.
I wish with all my heart that we had just paid people to move our stuff. Being young and stupid our first thought was “why would we pay so much to have people move our stuff?” Well, after the cost of the flight up for Richard to drive the moving truck down and gas and his sanity we would have been better off. But he’s a trouper and he powered through that 16 hour straight shot drive in about 20 hours with rest and pit stops for both him and the do – my hero. And not to mention by the time I arrived with the boys on Sunday (After leaving NH Saturday morning) he had the truck entirely unpacked. Pay movers, make your life easier – a move of this caliber is stressful enough, spend a little more and take some of the stress off your plate.
four. Find Child Care before you arrive at your new destination.
Moving down I didn’t have a job so there was no need for childcare. We were going to take some time to settle in and I was going to start looking. Well the problem was that as soon as I started looking for employment, I started looking for childcare and soon found that all the wait-lists were much longer that I had expected. About FIVE MONTHS longer than I expected – funny story actually, I just got a call two weeks ago from a place that I had put the boys on the wait-list for, that they finally had a spot open for each of the boys, a near 12 months after being put on the wait-list. Once you have decided you are going to move, do some research, check state child care accrediting sources. Look at reviews on facebook, most schools have a facebook page and ask parents to leave reviews of their programs. Find parenting groups to join either on meet up, or facebook and ask for recommendations.
five. Rent first. Buy later.
If like us, you are moving to an area that you know little about, other than it’s where you think you want to be. I would suggest renting for at least six months. We rented for a year which allowed us to really get to know the area. And learn that on paper, the area that we thought we’d want to buy a home in would in fact not be it. Great schools, affordable homes and only 25 minutes to the city. Well all those things drew in lots of people, quickly turning what would have been a 25 minute commute into 60 minutes + easily every night. Things like this are things that are not necessarily on paper or on any website. They are things that you learn from spending time in an area. Check out my series on home hunting
Have you ever packed up and moved? How’d you do it? I’d love to hear!