Some families go somewhere on vacation in the summer. Some prefer a “stay-cation.” And some use the precious months of June, July and August to pack up everything they own and move half-way across the country.
In last week’s Good Dads Podcast we caught up with Alex and Miriam Green who are preparing to move from a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts to a city near Nashville, Tennessee. The Greens have elected to use a moving service where they pack the truck and someone else drives it to the new location where they then unpack it. They’ve lived in the Boston area for about three years and are trying to squeeze in as many visits with friends, birthday celebrations (four of the six of them have birthdays in a one-month period) and trips to the ocean as possible before they head west toward the Midwest.
This week we touched base with Minor and Sarah Baker who are moving from Austin, Texas to Springfield, Missouri. The Bakers chose to pack all their belongings into a pod, which will be delivered to their new home near the end of June. In the interim, they’ve been living first with Sarah’s parents and then Minor’s, waiting for the dust to settle and their new home to become available—not an easy task for a family with four kids and two dogs.
The Bakers’ departure from Austin is bittersweet for them. They’re excited about moving to a new community with new jobs. They like the thought of having both sets of grandparents nearby. Nonetheless, they’ve spent the last twelve years of their lives in Austin where all four of their children were born and they owned their first home. Along with the stress of packing, there’s the emotion of saying good-bye to many happy memories. Sometimes, in the midst of heat, humidity and hot-pod-packing it can all be a bit too much.
What have they done, we wondered, to get themselves and their kids through this taxing period? Here’s what we learned from Minor and Sarah:
1. Embrace friends and family while you’re packing—especially if they offer to help. Ask them to keep an eye on your kids. Sarah noted what a godsend this was in the last nerve-wracking days of emptying the house into the pod.
2. Save room for couple time. Minor and Sarah agree that it may sound a bit odd to be planning a date night in the midst of moving, but they view it as an energizing essential to keep them going and reward them at the end of a long day. They agree that a little bit of fun for the two of you helps keep things in perspective.
3. Find some local stuff to do as advance preparation. Minor mentioned how much he has enjoyed reading the Springfield News-Leader and listening to podcasts originating in the region as preparation for life in a new context. Both agree it’s helpful and exciting to become familiar with your new community before you leave the previous one. Saying good-bye can be hard, so it’s nice to do something that helps build the anticipation for living in a new location.
4. Rent first; then buy. Initially the Bakers wanted to move from their home in Austin to a new home in Springfield. They could’ve done it. They sold their house and had a down payment in hand. However, after considerable thought and discussion they determined it might be best to actually live in their new city for a bit before committing to a new home and neighborhood. While moving twice can be a pain, Minor and Sarah decided it was a less stressful decision for them than trying to decide quickly on a new home 600 miles from their new location.
Most people don’t look forward to uprooting from one locale and re-rooting in a new area, but listening to couples like the Greens and the Bakers does help. Taking care of yourself and your couple relationship all go a long way to helping your kids embrace the experience of moving and the adventure of a new community where you'll hopefully be building happy new memories for years to come.