What a beautiful picture to envision … a brand new home, your children running around the backyard, and picking out rooms. You picture lovely HGTV and Pinterest décor filling your new kitchen, and cascading plants partnered with new furniture along peacefully colored walls. Everything is sparkly and shiny, and you will make spectacular new memories in this blank canvas of a home. Certainly, moving will be a headache, but the end game is clear. It will be tough, but should surely only take a few weeks. Finding the house was super fun and so will decorating and making it ours, right?
Wrong! Well sort of… this is a beautiful dream. Reality is pretty much a chaotic mess.
Moving is difficult. Moving with children is challenging to the core.
My husband and I recently moved into a new home with our 4-year-old and 16 month old boys.
Here is my “beautiful” picture in reality…
I have a brand new home, with children running around putting their dirty little fingerprints on every freshly painted wall and new appliance. They scuff the walls with the old furniture in their new bedrooms. They accidentally lock you out in the backyard while playing with the new locks (they figured out in 2.5 seconds). Your new furniture is a new jungle gym (which they promptly fall off of). And they scratch your new floors (16 month old decides to rearrange the furniture), tracking in more dirt than you thought was humanly possible.
There are boxes piled up in corners for weeks (back to reality occurs faster than you can say “unpack”). You maybe get fresh paint on the walls in a room or two, and you might actually get your clothes put away in the first month or so (if you are lucky). Your youngest decides to cry the whole first week you hoped you would be be productive.
We tried to be organized. We tried to time everything exactly right. Some of you may be more gifted in the art of moving with children, but I have learned a few things that may be helpful for the next brave soul who decides to take on the move to a new home with young children in tow.
If its possible to allow more than just a day or two to move… DO IT!! Life tends to set you back here and there so the more time you allow yourself the more likely you are to get more done.
Ask for help
Family and friends can help with the kids. I promise you will be much more productive WITHOUT the little ones around.
Prepare a space for the kids
Get your children’s rooms as ready as possible early on so they have an easier transition into this new normal. Talking to them about the big move well in advance is also helpful.
Shut the door
Great advice from a friend … “If the room has a door, close it and you can come back to decorating it once you are more settled.” This is so true. You have plenty of time to make this house everything you want it to be. Focus on the spaces that need to be most functional for your family.
Paint before you move in.
You won’t have to worry about paint fumes with the kids in the house or them stepping in a tray of wet paint and making not so adorable little foot prints on the carpet.
For me, just completing 2 or 3 small projects around the main living space made me feel productive, accomplished and was therapeutic without taking up an entire day. Its the little things in life, right?! (these are “me” things)
Work in stages
Get your main living spaces in a state of normal function first so you have a place that is ready for you to be together as a family. I highly recommend “child-proofing” immediately so you are ready when they try to climb in every cabinet and crevice.
Take breaks for family time
When you feel like you are at the breaking point, remind yourself why you decided on this home, take a break and make a memory with those perfect little reasons.
The truth is even though it’s challenging, and you feel the urge to hover above your children with all purpose cleaner, this is a place your children will remember forever. It is the home of their childhood memories. This is your home. Embrace your beautiful, chaotic mess.