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Moving with a Toddler (and Living to Tell About It)

Yes, we recently moved in the Charleston Summer heat (with a toddler) and lived to tell about it. My husband and I had this crazy dream to renovate a brick ranch on the Isle of Palms four years ago. We survived that renovation, and even enjoyed the process of cash flowing one project at a time. Then along came toddler #1, and we soon outgrew our beloved beach brick ranch home. So, we turned our attention to another dream, which was building a home from start to finish. This began the long process of putting our current home on the market, living through house showings, and finally making it to the dreaded moving date.

Moving with a Toddler (and Living to Tell About It)Before the anticipated moving day actually happens, there is a lot of work leading up to it. When I envisioned moving, I thought to myself that this was the time to stay focused and organized. I began with gathering moving supplies. (Tip: I looked on Facebook for local mom swap pages to find free moving boxes, talked with the local stores about free moving boxes, and finally used the Nextdoor app for moving boxes.) I picked up all of our moving supplies for free from other, very generous, moms. So far so good, I was staying focused and organized. Boxes were packed and being moved into two different locations of our home for three months, as well as split between a few storage units. We cleaned as we went, packing throughout the house. After each room had been packed I used Post-it notes to capture what needed to occur in the room, such as move the bed and dresser, or clean the inside of drawers.  

When your toddler wants to “help”

My two-and-a-half-year-old wanted to “help.”  This sounds sweet, however his version of helping included taking items out of packed boxes, especially his toys. (Tip: please please do yourself a favor and pack all child items when your child is sleeping and move boxes immediately!) Otherwise you will find yourself repacking boxes several times. I did as much packing as I could while my little was sleeping, but as I needed more packing time, we used babysitters to occupy and distract.  

The wheels began to fall off my focused organization about one week prior to moving. I ran out of steam, I was exhausted, I was cranky, and I tired of moving…and we hadn’t even moved yet. Luckily, my husband picked up where I had left off and worked to keep me focused. (Tip: find a moving buddy or partner to push you when you feel defeated.) I trudged through with several mommy melt-downs, wondering if the actual moving day would ever arrive.  

After my meltdown, I began to change my mindset. I was moving away from our family home of four years. This was the home that my husband and I had renovated, and where we had brought our baby home to. This was where I nursed, read stories, and cooked family meals. I began to balance packing and moving with enjoying every single, last moment in our family home.

It has now been one week in our temporary home and I am finally feeling settled. Now it is time to refocus on spending time as a family. After you move, take time to enjoy the small moments. My little and I spent a fun filled day at the beach, no moving thoughts in mind. I can finally relax and breath. Until the next move.

Christine Jeanne’

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