Be sure to check out Part 1.
We’re in the thick of moving and it’s super hard to do well, so I asked my mom friends who are also moving this summer what they’ve learned. I love some of their ideas, so I thought some of you might appreciate them too.
We’ve got concrete strategies:
- Start by packing three-quarters of your kids’ toys. First, it gives them an opportunity to really enjoy the toys they’ve got: one little boy we know is happy for hours with Duplos and little cars and empty space. Second, it keeps the millions of other toys out of the way so you don’t have to clean them up. Again. Ever. In that house. I love that thought.
- Moving can be an opportunity to free that long-submerged organized person you used to be before you had kids. Label, label, label! One friend gets a frisson of delight from beautiful color-codes.
- Put a note on any item that needs special instructions. One move, for instance, I had intended to take my jewelry in its chest, but helpful friends pulled all my jewelry out and packed it in a separate box, anonymously. I had to go to the mall and buy a pair of Tardis earrings to tide me over until I finally found them by opening every last box in the house. (Poor me, I had to go shopping.)
- As for diapers, I can’t improve on this math: “Calculate how many diapers you think you’ll need before the actual move, and then multiply by three. Add one pack for emergency stomach bug. THEN you can lose the rest in the black hole of boxes that is your living room.”
- Save some of the unpacking for lousy winter weather. While it’s worth hanging art to make your house feel like home, it is not immoral to leave other boxes of “framed art” in the closet until cabin fever strikes around early February. You’ll want to change up your house by then.
- Meal plan! It makes you feel so amazingly on top of things when that one thing is under control. I have a friend who actually planned an entire month’s worth of dinners around her move, which basically makes her Superwoman.
- Ask for help. If moving seems overwhelming, well, it is.
Moving is discouraging. It destroys my plans, disrupts our daily schedule, prevents me from doing what I want to do, and makes me spend lots of money and time on things I don’t even like. It steals my summer and scribbles all over the margins I keep. On top of which, it’s just plain emotional to go through every single object you own and try to decide whether to keep it or not. Well, obviously I hate the thing and want to throw it out if it’s the 3,451,098th decision I had to make today.
But as we all know, mom’s attitude sets the tone for the entire family. I personally would rather manage situations rather than address my own heart, or better yet, hide and play Candy Crush, but it never works. I can’t hide from myself. So, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Don’t borrow trouble. One friend pointed out that moving might stress out your kids, but then again they might adore having naps in their froggy sleeping bag instead of a bed.
- Reset your attitude by being thankful. When Paul encourages believers who are miserable, he always reminds them to be thankful. If you need help starting, be thankful for totally outlandish things. I was having a hard time with this last week, and the only thing I could think of to be grateful for was that no monster was breaking into the house to eat family members like in Beowulf. (Perspective.) And to my own surprise, it genuinely helped. I think the Lord honors it when you try, even if you have to be creatively grateful like a weird person.
- Both your current and new places are opportunities. One of my favorite bloggers writes that every house has a silver lining. I cannot wait to get out of this place, especially now that the good stuff is all packed for the duration, but at the same time – we still check out spider webs beaded with dew, and go poke the yard mushrooms, and admire the bunny as it nibbles at dusk. This house does have a silver lining.
- Allow some things to take a lower priority. Another friend calls moving deadlines a “tidal wave,” which they are, and points out that when you’re about to be drowned, you can declare some parts of housekeeping nonessential. Yes, you can. Her exact words were, “Give it to the Lord and ask for mercy as you go.”
- ENOUGH WITH THE MOMMY GUILT. TV dinners are not a sin. If you’re sure the checker is giving you the evil eye for buying a whole cart of frozen food, smile sweetly and it’ll be fine.
And last but not least, “It’s just a season”, says my friend moving in two days. She’s right. “In a couple weeks it will all be over and I’ll probably say some romanticized nonsense such as ‘Oh, moving isn’t so bad. In fact, I think it’s kinda fun!’”
Photo Credit: All photos taken by Carolyn Bales.