Moving with a Baby Tips & Challenges
Hi hi hi. It’s been so long. The thing is life got pretty wild. And to top it off, Memphis is a full-on Taby. He’s not a baby anymore and is very mobile. But he’s not quite a toddler yet and can’t communicate his needs. Which means he’s a Taby and requires 100 percent of my attention. My multi-tasking days are gone for now.
We moved from Kansas City to Memphis. Well, from KC suburb to Memphis suburb. Relocating can be challenging but relocating with a baby/toddler/taby makes it even more challenging. I’ll share why we made the switch and some tips that helped us get here without completely losing it.
Why We Moved
Kris (my husband) had a job opportunity here. We’ve always talked about living somewhere else. I’ve never lived outside of Kansas and we both wanted to experience something different. Moving an older child obviously isn’t impossible but switching schools can be stressful for them and we realized that now would be a great time to make a change before Memphis (our baby, not the city) has established friends/school/etc.
It’s incredibly ironic that we decided to move Memphis (our son) to Memphis (the city). That was never the plan, it just fell into place that day. Perhaps we wrote our own destiny when we chose his name.
So we’re here, living in Olive Branch, MS. The weather is warmer, the bugs are bigger, the accents are thicker and culturally it’s all different. I think that’s all good for us. We’re still very new here and discovering things to do beyond visit the Target down the street. But so far, so good.
Tips on Moving With a Baby/Toddler/Taby
The original plan was for Kris to move before us, since he had to start working, and we’d join him when the house sold. Fortunately, the house sold within 24 hours (it was quite a day!), and we bought a house shortly after that on the second day of searching. Despite this, there was still four weeks between the day Kris started his new job and the day we closed on the new house. So Memphis and I finished packing and moved all our stuff into U-Haul boxes (they are U-Haul’s version of PODS) and then moved in with my parents for a few weeks.
This transition was the hardest on Memphis. He had left the only home he’s ever known and was missing his Daddy like crazy. Once he woke up in the night crying “Dada” over and over and it broke my heart. On the plus side, we got some quality time with my parents before we moved 8 hours away.
I’m going to break up these tips into two parts. Tips to help with the emotional transition and logistical tips to help with a long drive (or flight).
For the transition:
Routine. As much as possible, I tried to maintain Memphis’s normal routine. Nap time and bed time were the same. Dad is normally in charge of bedtime stories, so we FaceTimed him every night to read “Goodnight Moon”.
Cuddles. Memphis isn’t a big cuddler, but during this change he was very clingy and needed my cuddles constantly. I didn’t mind this part, and was happy to oblige.
Explain the Situation. A 17-month-old can’t understand what’s going on. But I tried to explain things to him as much as possible. “You’ll see Daddy again soon.” “We’re leaving this house but you have an awesome play room waiting for you in your new house.” I’m not sure how much these conversations helped but I think he takes in more than I realize.
For the journey:
New Toys. Having some new toys on hand can definitely help preoccupy a toddler for a longer stretch in the car. Speaking of cars, toy cars are Memphis’s current obsession. So I made sure he had several options for the long haul.
All the Snacks. Forget about the healthy diet on travel day. I let Memphis have as many snacks as he wants as long as it keeps him happy. If you’re all about all-natural, organic, fresh foods, consider forgoing it for the day. It will be OK.
Active Stops. We try to stop as little as possible, but when we do, we make sure Memphis gets out and has an opportunity to run around. Look for a fast food restaurant with a play area, or better yet, stop by a grocery store and let your kiddo run around the aisles to burn off some energy.
Screen Time. During this transition, Memphis got a lot of screen time. I hate that and I actually cut him off from all screens for a while because he was becoming too dependent on them. But when you’re in the car (or plane) for that long, rules kind of go out the window for me. The iPad keeps Memphis entertained for long stretches. We use Amazon Prime video to download episodes of shows. His favorite is “Bubble Guppies” and “Sesame Street”.
Now that we’re all here together as a family, Memphis is content. He was thrilled to see his Daddy, and gave his crib a big hug. Even babies know there’s no bed like your bed. The transition here has been fairly smooth — I think the hardest part was being away from Kris — and everything is right in Memphis’s world again.