For my husband and I, moving is a way of life. We both grew up on the move, and I think it is one of the things that I love about him. No one quite understands the new kid like someone who has been the new kid repeatedly themselves. The only problem now is that as adults, neither one of us knows how to stay put.
My son is only 4 but has already moved three times. Four if you consider the months that we lived at my mom’s while we waited for our house to close. To some people this might sound absolutely insane, but I like to think of it as an adventure.
I was worried that moving with a baby would be difficult, but honestly, there were only a few differences.
The need to adhere to some semblance of a schedule
Fun fact: babies are apparently unwilling to wait 4 hours for a dinner of pizza and beer so you can get that last drawer packed. They don’t care that the couch is the only thing left to get off the moving truck. It is dinner time and they will eat now damn it. I mean really, it is kind of a good thing because it forces you to you know, eat and sleep and stuff, even if it is a little annoying. Although I will say that putting the baby to bed is a really good excuse to peace out on your spouse before you get stuck moving the boxes with the books in them.
Having an extra set of hands
Babies and toddlers go through phases where they hate toys. You know what they love? Pulling shit out of drawers. They live for it. Find a drawer of clothes, set an empty box beside it, and show them the wicked fun amazing new game you’ve just suddenly invented. Sure, your clothes won’t be folded… but you’re a parent. What’s a wrinkled blouse when it’s already covered in spit up and poop? Only downside: you’ve now reinforced the whole pulling shit out of drawers phase. But don’t worry, they really do grow out of it anyway. For the most part.
The ability to function at unprecedented levels of exhaustion
Sure, we all pulled all nighters in our early twenties. But I think every parent can agree that missing sleep one night does not compare to the lack of sleep you experience as a parent. Usually one of the worst things about moving is that there is so much work to do and so little time for sleep. Sweet sleep. I am fantasizing about my bed as I type this. But the reality is “so much work, so little sleep” is the motto of parenting. You’re boss at this by now. True story: I can pack and unpack my entire life in under a week.
Congratulations, all of your kid’s favourite toys are brand freaking new again
I am all about hiding favourite toys. In fact, it is pretty much my only tip for travelling with babies. Hide the favourite toy for a week, voila! Brand new. See, when you buy new toys, there’s always the probability that your kid is going to hate it. I mean think about it: what is the ratio of toys bought to toys played with in your house? You already own the greatest hits. And while people will say “don’t pack the favourites” they are idiots. Pack those babies up. If you’re hiring movers, okay maybe bring them in the car or on the plane with you so they aren’t gone forever… movers suck. But if you’re U-Hauling* pack. that. shit. up. I mean, label it well and know where it is at all times, don’t be insane, but don’t let your baby know you know where it is. Leave out the security object, a few books, and if they’re old enough, play dough. Yup, play dough. It’s messy as all heck but kids of all ages can play with that stuff for hours.
You have the perfect excuse to downsize all of the baby crap
You know all of those awesome gifts that your amazing friends and family gave you which you so appreciate or the stuff you bought because the registry lady at Babies R Us gave you horror eyes because “everyone knows you have to have this” and you didn’t want to look like a shitty parent before you even were one? And you know how your baby hates all of it but it cost too much or it’s sentimental and stuff? Now is the perfect opportunity to get rid of it. Cut ties. If your baby hasn’t used it by now, are you really willing to haul it cross country just for it to collect dust? Bye Felicia. (Psst… if someone notices you can blame it on that darned moving company.)
And one last thing to consider:
Moving with a baby > than moving with a kid
Our last move was when our kid was 2 so hey, maybe I’m wrong here. But babies are literally the most portable creatures in the world. As Melanie Lynskey’s character in the classic film Sweet Home Alabama says, “This one’s still on the tit so I can cart him anywhere.” Truer words were never spoken. Pop that baby in the baby wearing device of your choice and carry on with your business. They will be just as happy playing with the Tupperware while you unpack the kitchen as they would if you were playing with them and their toys. It’s the actual kids who are whiney and demanding. So if you’re wanting to move but think it will be hell with a baby… it will be, but not any more hellish than a normal day as a parent.
The truth is: moving isn’t hellish at all if you know how to do it. Especially if you have time off of work for the move, it can be a little mini vacay. If you can, drive to the new house and take an extra day or two to see the sights along the way. Blare music while you unpack or watch a favourite TV series from start to finish. ( I strongly recommend Friends.) Is there anything more romantic than eating pizza straight from the box and drinking wine from a mug on the floor of an empty house? The answer is no. There is not.
It isn’t easy. But when is life easy? The important thing is to take a deep breath and see it as an adventure. The two weeks spent sleeping on the floor because moving companies are assholes? It’s like camping. Going to successive job interviews in the same outfit because you have no clothes? Cute story to tell at the company picnic. Getting lost because your dad asked “left?” and your mother answered “right” instead of “correct”? That’s from my childhood and look, obviously I still find it hilarious.
And OMG I can’t believe I almost forgot:
Boxes!!! Unlimited boxes!!
Boxes are literally the only toy babies (or heck, anyone!) needs. So. Much. Awesome. Save some of those suckers and get creative.
*U-Haul is my preferred method as you don’t get stuck without your shit for weeks past your estimated delivery date. I have PTSD from that shit and I didn’t even have a baby yet. Yes it’s cheaper, even with gas. Yes you can drive it. Happy moving.