Moving With A Toddler
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Moving With A Toddler

We are preparing to move and we are also preparing for a 2nd child, while our first child is about to turn 2. Could we possible seek more chaos? Since this is all taking place during the holiday season, I suppose the answer is Yes!

We love living in Southern California, however the cost of living has really outstripped the ability to live the lifestyle we’d like to enjoy. Like many others, the housing bubble hit us pretty hard and we now find ourselves in the precarious situation of wanting to buy a home again, and one that is going to be comfortable for a family of 4. Spending $500,000, that’s on the low end, for a home in San Diego seems ridiculous. Neither my husband nor I want to work simply to pay for a mortgage, and put more time into commuting and chasing careers than spending with our young children.

Where to Live

Living in California isn’t for everyone, but for those of us that do it’s a hard place to give up. Like any comfort zone, California happens to be one both my spouse and I hold dear. We considered a move to Colorado, but the idea of being landlocked seemed more than we were prepared to handle. Out of our West Coast options, we settled on Sacramento, which has come with a variety of feedback from just about everyone we know.

Ultimately, it’s a location that works for us. The cost of living is much friendlier, we like the proximity to the ski resorts of Lake Tahoe, the wine country that winds its way all through Northern California, well past the infamous Napa Valley, San Francisco, and the rugged woodsy coast Northern California- Oregon has to offer.

We have friends in the area, and family close by, which adds to the comfort level of such a large transition. We also know it’s a lovely place to raise a family and for our children to have as a base from which to explore the world.

The Planning

As a child I moved several times, always as a result of a project my dad was working on. This move is entirely different. We had to generate a strategy and then patiently wait for the stars to align in order to execute our strategy. Here are some of the questions we had to answer:

• Would we both hunt for jobs at the same time?

• What happens if one person gets a job offer?

• Do we want to buy a home or rent?

• How long could we survive on one income?

• What’s our time frame?

Our first decision was that we did want to buy a home, if we could pull it off. Interest rates are not going to get lower and although the housing market has been rebounding, prices are still pretty decent, in Sacramento anyway. We had a few hurdles to jump in order to make that an option.

The next decision was made for us, as I fell pregnant the ability to job hunt for me was negligible. We all know companies are not allowed to discriminate in hiring someone who is pregnant, but in the current job market it’s pretty unrealistic to expect a company to be interested in someone who may not return from a maternity leave. To some degree this locked us into staying in our current roles for longer than anticipated, but also allowed my husband to job hunt at a more selective pace.

We’ve been in a slow transition for nearly a year in preparing for a move and getting our financials in order, as well as determining a reasonable budget that could afford us a home and primarily one salary. I hope to secure some consulting work to generate a little extra income while being a stay at home mom. This trade off would eliminate the cost of child care, not to mention the cost of commuting.

We’ve achieved pre-approval for a home loan and our next phase is to find a home we want to purchase. In the mean time, my husband is in the final stages of an interview process and with a little luck that will be secure at about the same time as the house hunting. We have most of our belongings in a storage Pod, so at least that part of the move will be relatively easy.

Preparing a Toddler for Moving

There are lots of changes on the horizon for our almost 2 year old daughter. I’m a bit nervous about turning her world upside down, and yet I know kids are generally more flexible and resilient than adults. Our plan is to take things slowly and introduce new things over a period of months. The move will be her first adjustment, and I believe she’ll be delighted with a new room and space to explore. I’ll seek a preschool for her after a month or two and she’s comfortable in her new home.

Her baby brother is due to arrive in March, and by that stage I anticipate she’ll be comfortable in her new home and new routine. Grandparents will be arriving and she’ll be getting lots of attention from family to compensate for the new intruder.

Our next task will be discerning how to prepare our toddler for her new brother and having to share her parents, her dog, and her toys!


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