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The Frequent Mover's Card

by Mia Cronin

I remember back in the late 80's when frequent flyer programs and cards were becoming very popular, due to the increase in business travel brought on by prosperous times. Today, however, our global economy has necessitated the growth of another trend. More and more people and families are relocating to new cities, states, and sometimes countries for their companies. For those folks who do this often, there should be a frequent mover s card! I know we would have one. Membership might include a list of reliable babysitters in your new area, maps showing all the McDonalds with ball pits, a directory of other stay-at-home moms, and an express move-in service where someone comes to unpack your goods so that you can get your kids acclimated with no stress (just kidding...more on that topic below).

My oldest daughter is not yet four years old, and she's lived in four states. Hopefully, this will slow down for us before she enters school, but in the meantime, it has taught us a lot about how to plan for a move and how to prepare ourselves for the change. Perhaps others would benefit from our learning experience. I ve compiled a list of things to think about when moving so that your move goes a little easier.More and more people and families are relocating to new cities, states, and sometimes countries for their companies. For those folks who do this often, there should be a frequent mover's card!

Take some time to have a little celebration for Dad, if his job is the reason for your move. He needs to know that his family is behind him while he works for the betterment of your lives.

Hopefully you'll have some time to get organized before your things have to be packed. It s a good idea to use this time to go through your belongings and pitch whatever you don t want to take to your new home. It s easier now that it will be later when you just want to get settled and find places for everything so you can get rid of those pesky boxes!

Make a list of all your utilities, and don t forget garbage collection (like I did a couple moves back), and stop service with them accordingly. Depending on how your home sells, your realtor may have some ideas on that. Or if your relocating company is buying your home from you, they may make some preferences known, as well. If at all possible, it s best to wait until you have a forwarding address for the utilities so that you can still correspond for billing purposes. When canceling your telephone service, have your new number handy so that they can give that information when callers try to reach you at your old number, if you care to have that information available.

Make a list of all the places you will have to notify of your move. For instance, you ll want to tell all of your doctors and dentists so that records can be forwarded. Don t forget about your automobile insurance company. Also, you ll need to let your church know, as well as any other organizations to which you and your family belong.

Check with your homeowner s association to find out if you are entitled to any of your dues back, pro-rated during the paid year.

If given the choice of having the movers unpack you when you reach your destination home, think very hard about whether or not you want this. It has been my experience that it is much easier to unpack yourself. When you do this, you are able to attack boxes in the order in which you choose. You can put your belongings in the place that they will ultimately go, rather than having your things placed all over your home awaiting your decisions. Having the movers unpack for you has one advantage: they will remove the cartons and packing papers for you. Other than that, you will feel as though you are much more in control of the task when you do it yourself. Also, your things will not be scattered all over for you and your family to wade through until you can get to them.

Have two boxes set aside just for you. First, have a "last minute" box set aside in which you can toss important things; for instance, items that you ll need up until you walk out of your house. This might include cleaning supplies, rags, your telephone, a stray coffee mug, picture hooks, or whatever you might find as you do your final walk-through. The other box can be pre-packed with the following emergency-type items for when you get to your new home, just in case there is a problem with the delivery van:

Soap, shampoo, towels, and a shower curtain (liner only suits this purpose)

Box of crackers, jar of peanut butter, knife

Plastic pitcher, package of drink mix, paper cups

Cooking pan, package of pasta, jar of sauce

Extra diapers and wipes

Bed linens, bed pads, and blankets (these take up space you may need two boxes)

Telephone and answering machine

Toilet paper and garbage bags

Cleaning supplies and rags

Small tool kit

Children s books and maybe some for you and Hubby, too

Favorite toys

Change of clothes for all family members

Personal address/phone book

This box should travel in the family vehicle to ensure its safe arrival and to make sure it s with you at all times, since they represent emergency items.

Make sure you have set aside important documents pertaining to the move, mortgage papers, closing documents, etc

Always have with you (so that they don t get packed) your checkbook, credit cards, and driver s license.

If your husband is already working at the new location, that means you are by yourself, taking care of these delightful details. If your friends offer to take your children for you so you can think straight for a couple of hours, LET THEM! It ll save your sanity and that of your loved ones, as well.

Talk constantly to your children about the move. Tell them every detail you can think of. It s important that they can envision strange people putting their things in boxes before it actually happens. Tell them how the boxes will go on a big truck along with the beds, couches, TV, video tapes, toys, beanie friends, dishes, etc Explain how the truck will safely take your things to your new house and put everything inside! Have your children draw pictures of what they think will happen, and then talk about what they draw.

As soon as you are in your new home and have a minute to breathe, and before you do ANYTHING ELSE, take 20 minutes and have a celebration party. Your children will need to feel a part of the activity, and they will need your focused, stress-free (you can pretend here), and loving attention. It might be as simple as cookies and juice and singing a couple songs.

Take your children s picture sitting on the front porch of your new house on moving day. It s a special moment and a good one to record.

After you ve been settled in for a day or two, let your children write notes (with your help, if necessary) to their friends that they will miss.

As crazy as this sounds, try, try, try to enjoy this exciting time. Children pick up on our stress, and you want them to feel that this very big change is a good and happy one. If they struggle with moving away from friends, explain that you understand how much they will miss their friends, but the very important thing is that you are together as a family.

See if there is a playgroup in your new area. If not, start one! You can also find many mom' s clubs on the internet to see if there is a chapter of any club in your area. You will need the friendship for both you and your children.

Mia Cronin Copyright 2000 Mia Cronan is a married full-time mother of three girls, ages 5, 3, and 1, living in Pennsylvania.
She owns and edits www.MainStreetMom.com, the magazine for modern mothers with traditional values. Mia can be reached at cronan@a1usa.net

 

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