Your baby is screaming because he needs a nap, and your toddler is crying because she wants someone to play with. The house is filled with boxes, and so much clutter that your head is spinning. Laundry piles are about to reach the ceiling. The dog is whining to go outside, and the dog fence has been taken down because you have to get your septic tank pumped, which is under the fence. There’s a pile of bills to pay, all of which need address changes so that you still get these bills when you make your move. You still have to make sure you find your family a new place to live, which needs renters insurance, and the electric put in your name. Don’t forget to sell your house, and make sure that you and your two little kids are not home every time there is a showing (usually in the evenings when kids are hungry and cranky) and OH YA… there’s a LIVE snake that somehow slithered its way into your car, that you have to find, and get out, the week of your big move… Yep.. that actually happened to me.
It’s no secret that moving is really stressful, but moving several states away with two little kids?? That’s a whole new ball game. There are several things to think about and consider before making the decision to move your kids away from family. It was definitely the hardest decision that my husband and I have ever made. Family is super important. Choosing to move your kids away from them shouldn’t be taken lightly. It will not only be hard for you and your little ones, but it will be heartbreaking for the family you’re leaving behind as well. Especially grandparents. So take the time to really think and pray over your decision.
That being said, here are 6 things that were deciding factors for my husband and I before we ultimately made the decision to move 600 miles away with a 3 year old and 5 month old. Keep in mind that this is written and meant for those who actually have a choice of whether to stay near family or move away.
- Do you have family and friends around you NOW that are able to help you with your move? If not, are you able to afford a moving company?
Moving is A LOT of work, but moving with little kids is pretty darn near impossible without help… a lot of help. We had our three year old stay with my grandparents for a few weekends leading up to the move, and had grandparents come over and entertain the kids while my husband and I packed and loaded up the truck. My parents and my husband’s mom drove down to North Carolina with us to help get our second vehicle down, and help with the kids and our dog during the whole process. We also had friends in North Carolina who helped us move stuff out of the truck and into the new apartment. I honestly don’t know how we could have done it without all of their help. We would have had to hire a moving company for sure, which can cost as much as $6,000 when moving out of a three bedroom home. So just keep that in mind for your moving budget if you don’t have people around that are physically able to help you. We used a company called U-Pack. They brought us a trailer, we packed and loaded it up ourselves, then they drove it to our new apartment for us, and we unloaded it. We were able to do this for about $1,300. That was the most affordable company we could find where we didn’t have to drive the truck ourselves, and it was definitely worth it!
2. Will your kids have more experiences and opportunities in the area you want to relocate to?
We took this into account when we were trying to make our decision about moving. It is hard moving kids away from their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. It was especially hard for my 3 year old who had already formed strong relationships with a lot of them. So my husband and I made a pros and cons list, and this was one of our pros. We knew that the area we were moving to would provide a lot more experiences for them to take in, and if we stayed long term, it could present a lot more opportunities for them as well. We had been wanting to move here for awhile, and we loved all that the area had to offer.
This brings me to the next question…
3. Will moving allow you to spend more time with your kids?
This was the number one pro for us on our list. Moving for us meant that I could afford not to work, which meant A LOT more time together as a family. Why move to a beautiful new area, with tons of things to do and experience, if you never have to time to do those things together as a family?? Plus, if your kids are old enough to miss their family that they don’t see as much anymore, it’s important that they have plenty of quality time with you! It’s an adjustment for everyone, and your kiddos will need you by their side as much as possible to help them through the process. If moving would allow you to have more time to do life with your kids, then it could definitely be a great option for you.
4. Will you have the room to have family come stay with you, or the funds to travel home if you want to?
Have I mentioned that moving away from family is hard?? haha… You will miss them, and your kids who are old enough to understand will miss them too. My husband and I made sure that it was in the budget to be able to travel home at least twice a year. We want our kids to know their family. After all, the biggest con on our list of moving away was, of course, not being able to take our extended family (and friends!) with us. Re-work your budget, and re-work it again! Go to a cost of living comparison website like this one – Click here for website – to make sure that your new budget in a new city is as accurate as possible, so that you can plan to have the funds available to do as many visits home as you feel you will need.
5. Do you have any family or friends in the area that you are thinking of relocating to?
Let’s be honest.. raising kids is so rewarding, but it is one tough gig. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” wasn’t something someone said just for the fun of it. It has a lot of truth to it. I’m not saying you absolutely can’t make it work if you don’t know anyone. You can make friends if you really push yourself to get out there and do it! But making true, close friendships takes time, and energy… both things that we as parents don’t have a whole lot of. My husband and I both have some family members in the area we moved to, and a few friends as well. That made the whole move seem a lot less daunting and more doable. Our kids mean everything to us.. but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else respond to their gazillion questions and requests to play for a few hours. 😉 We’re excited to get out there and make new friends as well, but it’s comforting to know that there are at least a few familiar faces around in case we’re feeling lonely, or needing a helping hand.
6. Will you always wonder “what if?” and regret it someday if you don’t give it a try?
This was a big deciding factor for us too. We’d talk for hours about the pros and cons, and we’d go back and forth from “yes lets do this!!!” to “what the heck are we thinking??” over and over and over again. We finally just decided that we had to try it. This is something we had been talking about even before we had kids. Moving South was a dream of mine, and we had a great opportunity with a lot of good things going for it. We knew if we didn’t take a leap of faith and try it, then we would have always wished we had. If you’re feeling like you’ll always wonder what it would’ve been like If you had done it, then maybe you should go ahead and do it so you don’t have to wonder. 😉
“I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.” – Lucille Ball
There are plenty of other things to think about before choosing to make a big move with your little family, but these were the ones that stood out to us that helped us decide that it was a good move to make. Worst case scenario is that we really don’t like being so far away from family and we decide to move back. If that happens, at least we can say we tried and we know. So far we are loving all of the extra time we have together as a family, and we love the area. Since making the move, we have even begun to alter our lifestyle in some big ways, and we are really enjoying the growth and benefits that we are seeing from the changes we’re making! Read more about that in my last blog post – Journey Towards Minimalism
We do of course miss our family in New York. It’s certainly not easy, but it’s an adventure and exploring is so fun!
Oh, and we’re MUCH closer to my favorite beach… Major bonus. 😉