The day before I hit 20 weeks in my pregnancy we found out that my husband had been accepted into flight school. Our excitement was mixed with uncertainty; we had no idea when his class dates would be. What if they sent us when I was hugely pregnant? What about when I was due, and I couldn’t even travel?
Lucky for us, my husband was able to talk to them and choose his own class date. So it was that we were going to be PCSing (the military-only verb for changing duty stations) when our baby was a little newborn.
Shortly after our daughter hit six weeks old, the movers were scheduled to come. That week was probably the most stressful of all. Not only were we having to pack bags for all three of us, we also had to clean the house and work around the movers all the while taking care of our baby. It is a good thing that she is easy to work with because we would’ve been extra stressed.
Here are some tips if you’ll be moving with an infant:
1. Take your time. We cleaned the house for two weeks from room to room so we weren’t doing it all on one day. We still had to clean a lot right before the inspection, but it could’ve been much worse.
2. Have a place to sit. We realized shortly after the movers came and we sold our couches that we had nowhere to actually sit. This wasn’t too much of an issue for us but our baby couldn’t just lie on the floor. We kept an inexpensive bouncy chair, one we had found at a garage sale for two dollars and we gave to a friend once we were done. When we didn’t have that, we had the car seat.
3. Have a place to sleep. We kept the pack ‘n’ play so that the baby would have somewhere to sleep that she was familiar with, as she had been sleeping in it since coming home from the hospital. We also borrowed an air mattress for that final night in our house.
4. Drink water. It was difficult for both of us to eat healthy (who doesn’t want pizza with the movers?) but I at least kept drinking water. Keeping hydrated made the cleaning and packing better.
5. Pack light. You’d be surprised how much a newborn needs sometimes! Between clothes, blankets, and diapers, she has her own suitcase, while my husband and I are sharing one!
6. Choose your hotel wisely. We were PCSing from Hawaii, so there were plenty of hotel options for the ten days before we left. On the suggestion of a friend, we decided to stay at a hotel suite, which had a separate bedroom and living room. It was almost like living in a small apartment. The extra space definitely helped. On top of that, the hotel provided breakfast in the morning. That saved so much money!
The first leg of our trip is complete and I’m sitting on a plane headed towards Los Angeles as I write this. The second part, a cross-country road trip visiting family on the way, will be just as much of an adventure with our world-traveling baby. Also, the best thing about moving with an eight week old? She sleeps through most of it!
Keep calm, have a plan, and you’ll survive your own PCS with a newborn.