My husband and I recently landed in the DFW Metroplex after fifteen years living in the San Francisco Bay Area, eleven years of togetherness and over three years of a wild pixie girl rockin’ our world. Being a Cali native and not having ventured far from home, a move across say, oh four states, two of which are rather large, seemed daunting, scary, and nearly impossible.
When we found ourselves in Texas, surrounded by boxes, and needing to start the process of putting down roots, it was all about “okay, let’s check out the nearest this and that!” It felt so funny to have to look for new people, places and things after years of being in a familiar groove, and so, after a few of months of being in a new state, town and home, there are a few essential tasks I would recommend to any movin’ mama, whether it’s across the metroplex or across the country.
- Pack Up The Kiddo’s Room Last and Unpack It First- It was hard enough for our daughter to watch the whole house being boxed up, the last thing I wanted was for her to be saying, “where’s that favorite toy Mom?” when we still had a few weeks in California. When we landed in the Lone Star State, her room was assembled first because I knew she needed assurance all the little things she loves made it to Texas safely. It was also a great way to get her pumped up about a new space, being able to arrange her belongings in a new order, getting her train table set up with new tracks, helping me hang her favorite pictures in new positions.
- Join Every Mother’s Club and Kid’s Group In The Area - I am an avid internet junkie and once we knew the move was for sure, I went a little crazy looking for mother’s clubs and other sites to help out new moms in new areas. Needless to say, Dallas Moms Blog was one of my first discoveries and has been a super awesome resource. Meetup.com is another fantastic choice, there are about a million and one groups catering to each person’s interests. The local mother’s club has been fabulous, giving the pixie and I a chance to meet other moms and kids in the area. We’ve been to playdates, pool dates, indoor play spaces, the Dallas Arboretum, Kindermusik classes, Kiddie Yoga and cooking sessions, all within 3 months of moving to Dallas.
- Research, Research, Research – This goes along with the above tip but really, I looked for hours to find blogs, sites, and local tweeters in order to get the lowdown on cool things to do in Dallas with kids. Unlike San Francisco, it’s all spread out and needs to be discovered. I’ve got a list about a mile long with places to go, festivals to enjoy and where exactly the closest Trader Joe’s is located. Anyone moving anywhere should do some serious digging to find out what’s available in the area and what’s going on in the community. Find the community website, the Parks and Recs schedule, local fairs and fun.
- Hit the Roads - After doing all this legwork in finding stuff to do, what’s the use if the family doesn’t get out on the road heading to the fun? Even during the week I’m packing up the car and heading into the city, or up to Plano or wherever else people are hanging out. Yeah, I’m driving a little more than I did in the Bay Area but I’d rather drive to be around other moms and kids than sit in my house alone, with a preschooler unsure of her surroundings.
- Playdates 2.0 - When the bursting-at-the-seams schedule, new school and new friends just isn’t enough, we take advantage of living in these technologically awesome times. Most of my gal pals with kids in San Francisco have Facetime, or skype, and we’ve already put in a few calls to the West Coast. My daughter loves seeing her friends via the IPhone and while it may not replace having them at her side, it’s a reminder that all friends are only a lengthy video chat and a quick plane ride away.
How have you prepared your kids for a move? We want to know!
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Gabby Cullen is a Northern California native recently transplanted in Dallas. She is the proud mother of a four year old girl and soon to be baby boy due in November. After a full-time career in Media Relations, she opted for freelance writing and editing in order to kick it with the kids. It’s been a pleasure to discover all that The Big D has to offer. She and the family call Rockwall home base but are constantly heading into the city, they’ve got the bug for hustle and bustle! She blogs about her adventures in motherhood at calimamaindallas.blogspot.com and loves to tweet at anyone willing to read her 140 characters.