Libby had always wanted to move to Australia but when Tom came home and told her that there was an opportunity to move to Sydney but he needed to be there at the end of the following month she ended up in the bathroom throwing up and crying while Sam howled at the door. She could not imagine any worse timing and the joy of living Downunder was replaced by certain dread! She had moved before when Sam was six months old and that was quite stressful enough but to move across the world was a thought too awful to bear.
The reality is that these opportunities often come when you have just settled into starting a family: it is the time of life when all the hard work is paying off, recognition is knocking at the door but it coincides so often with sleepless nights, teething, terrible twos and morning sickness. So how do people cope?
The first thing to do is to get help! Employing a relocation agent at your new destination can be a lifesaver. They will be able to take out so much of the legwork of steering you to the right suburbs where you will be able to connect with people at the same stage of life, arranging your first off short term accommodation, finding a new home, renting furniture until your own arrives, introducing you to playgroups, kindergartens and family assistance. They will have tips about swim school, maternal health nurses and centres, doctors, dentists, and then all the practical stuff about driving and where to buy a car, where to get your licence changed, reasonable mobile phone plans and even where to get your hair done!
Most relocation agents can start the process for you of getting removals quotations and recommending removal companies with a good reputation. Ask each of the removalists how they make it easy on young families: choose the one which is most caring and has some thought through strategies for move day! Make it easy on yourself and get them to do all the packing for you. You can also get a valet unpack at the destination to unpack those boxes and put them away. At home enlist the help of family and friends so that you can get as organised as possible but try as far as you can to keep normal routines with your toddler. Toddlers immediately sense stress and can react badly to change so gently does it with lots of cuddles and shared quiet time as far as possible keeping disruption to times when they are asleep or not around.
Remember when the time for packing comes that there will be some things you should leave out to take with you: a packed bag for yourself; favourite toys; snacks for you and the toddler especially but nothing too sugary, a couple of favourite books, nappies and wipes, a first aid kit, the stroller and child seats for the car when you arrive. (Make sure your car seats comply with Australian regulations). You may prefer to have a car meet you at the airport, in which case make sure they know to have a seat installed for your toddler or if you are hiring a car also ask for a seat for your little one.
Libby’s move to Sydney didn’t have much lead up time at all but thankfully her relocation consultant was exactly on the same page and was able to help her enormously. In their case they decided to secure a rental home before they arrived so that when they landed they went straight to their new home which their consultant had set up with rental furniture: suburb, home and furniture were all chosen by photos sent over emails. Libby, Sam, Tom and baby Hudson are well settled in now and love their new life but her strong sentiment to others in a similar predicament is, “Get the help and save your sanity!”