This is the story of how one Mom and Dad packed and moved with toddlers underfoot. Surely others had gone before us, but in the thick of it, it felt like we were the only two people in the world figuring this out.
I was in shock. I had never allowed myself to think about what it would be like if we actually sold the house, not even once. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, only to have something fall through. But this was solid and concrete. We sold our house.
After one full week of planning and packing, I decided I can write the official manual on “How to Pack Efficiently with Toddlers”. Follow these steps exactly.
Walk around the house for about 3 hours staring at all the things in your house, uncomprehending. Let your eyes glaze over a little bit while trying to make some kind of decision.
Decide exactly where you want to start. Go grab a box.
Stop. Make lunch for your kids. Make lunch for yourself. Clean peanut butter and jelly off the bottom of the dining room table. Forget where you were going to start packing.
Find something and put it in a pile. Feel accomplished. Make yourself a cup of tea. Turn around to find your children pulling things out of your pile and strategically hiding them around the house.
Let the kids go outside to play. Think about packing some more. Realize that you haven’t heard the kids in awhile. Stop thinking about packing. Run down the street to find your 2-year old in front of the neighbor’s house watching them mow the lawn.
Nap time. Blog so your readers don’t think you’ve forgotten them. 45 minutes later, go lay with your 2-year old and sing “You Are My Sunshine” repeatedly while he tries to stick his finger in your eyeball.
Accept every single offer of help that comes your way. You have boxes? We will take them, absolutely. You want to drop them off? Even better. You want to mind the kids? You bet. It’s probably more fun than watching their Mom throw out all their broken toys that nobody plays with but insists that they are “My FAVORITE”. You want to come help us pack? Fantastic. You want to make us dinner? Perfect. How about tomorrow? This is no time to be noble and pretend you can do it all yourself.
Start pulling things out of the kitchen cabinets that aren’t everyday items and that you shouldn’t really miss. Plan to put them in a box. Stop. Feed your family. Clean up after your family. Three days later, notice that your kitchen counters are still covered and nothing has made it into a box.
Think seriously about just throwing it all away.
Any time someone stops by to visit and say hello or help, offer them something from your packing adventures. Would you like these five random tea bags that I’ll probably never use? Are you SURE you don’t want this extra apron that I’ve never worn? How about this stack of 10 foam cups I found hiding in the back of the pantry?
Realize that your children’s lives are probably in more upheaval and turmoil than yours when your 3-year old asks if his bed and toys will go to the new house. Sit down and try to explain what’s going on and make him feel more comfortable. Make it sound super cool that he is sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Think about explaining to your 2-year old, but after he punches you in the face and runs away giggling, realize it’s probably not worth the effort.
Celebrate your oldest son’s birthday, celebrate your husband’s birthday, celebrate your birthday. Take a 4-day trip to Vegas. Take your little brother on a college tour. All while attempting to maintain your sanity.
Eat lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Let the kids turn the house upside down because, well, the house is already upside down.
Take pictures of things you don’t want to forget. Take pictures of the front door that opened to welcome your newborn babes.
Attempt to enjoy a few peaceful moments of joy, realizing that after 7 long years of saving and sacrificing, you are moving into the house of your (realistic) dreams. The chaos and destruction are only temporary.
Stay tuned for Part 2. It will most likely be next week. Or after we move in to our new house. Or never. Did I mention we are trying to pack and move with toddlers?
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