You talked it over with your SO. Weighed the pros and cons. Eventually you decided to accept the job offer halfway across the country. Congratulations!

You will get teary eyed as you tell your friends and neighbors your news, but secretly you’re really excited about what’s to come.

Getting your house ready to put on the market will take some effort. Okay, it will be exceedingly stressful and exhausting. But you will prevail. Same if you need to help arrange new tenants for your landlord. The whole thing is logistics logistics logistics.

But somewhere around the time your house sells, or new tenants sign a lease, the reality of the move will sink in and your excitement will transform into panic.

What are we doing?!

Too late to turn back, you’ll plunge forward with a smile on your face (for the kids, of course).

Moving can be scary, especially when your headed somewhere unfamiliar. But you will survive these stressful days, weeks, months.

How do I know, you ask?

Because I’m doing it right now. My husband and I are relocating to Houston with our two and four-year-olds. Some days it feels like a big mistake. But other days it feels like the adventure of a lifetime.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

1. Go online

A quick Google search of “moving to Houston” brings up 88 million results. Pick a few dozen articles to scroll through and – surprise – Houston is hot and humid with horrible traffic. I’m willing to bet all 88 million articles reference the weather and commute in America’s fourth largest city, but there’s good news, too. Nearly every search result also talks about how nice and welcoming the people of Houston are and how much there is to do in the city. Plus, we found several resources that broke down the city by suburb that, combined with wanting to avoid a heinous commute time, led us to where we would eventually look at homes.

Take the time to do your research, because you can learn a lot about your new city before you even visit.

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2. Do recon…alone

While the Internet is a tremendous resource, it’s critical to actually visit your new city before moving there—if possible.

While you may want to plan a trip with the entire family (dependent on the age of your children and how much time until your move), I suggest making the first trip adults-only. Your kids are going to feed off of your emotions for better or worse, so take the opportunity to get comfortable, learn your way around the area a bit and find some fun things to do so that you’re stress-free (ish) when you welcome the kids for the first time.

3. Trust an expert

Find a realtor that you like and trust, because you may be spending quite a bit of time together. When my husband and I flew down to Texas to look at houses, we spent four full days with our agent. If we hadn’t gotten along it would have made our first experience in our new town quite unpleasant.

In addition to guiding you through the home buying process, a good realtor should be able to answer your questions about the area in which you’re looking to live, from describing the vibes of the various neighborhoods to directing you to the nearest Starbucks drive thru.

4. Don’t just buy a house

I really enjoy house hunting. It’s fun to compare floor plans, imagine where your own furniture would go, and even get some design inspiration (assuming it’s furnished). But when you’re moving your family to a new city, it’s very important to remember that you’re not just buying the house. You’re picking a neighborhood and a school district, too.

Make sure you love the part of town the home is in, be aware of how far away the grocery stores are and know what schools your children will attend. Also, put your realtor to good use and make sure you understand future resale potential in the area, as well.

5. Meet the locals

Unless your realtor lives down the street from your new house, it’s likely he or she won’t know every little detail about the neighborhood. Once you find an area you like, visit it during different times of the day. We love living in a neighborhood full of young families, so we were on the hunt for mini-vans, bicycles and sidewalk chalk residue.

While driving around we came across a family on a walk (the stroller was a dead giveaway) and pulled over to ask them about the area. That interaction was the most calm I felt about our move the entire time we were there. The mom even gave me her email and has been a huge resource ever since. (I told you people in Houston are known for being nice!) Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger, because they could just become your first new friend.

6. Feel all the feels

Moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Add kids and a brand new city to the mix and it’s downright overwhelming. So often when things are tough, mom puts on her brave face and acts like she is fine when she isn’t. You’re going to talk to your kids about the move and how they’re feeling, so do yourself a favor and get in touch with your own emotions – whether it’s uncertainty, disappointment or fear.

Let your partner know what you’re experiencing and talk through it together. You will feel better, I promise.

7. Remind yourself why you’re moving

When the moving truck arrives and you’ve said your goodbyes, try not to lose sight of what got you to this point. It all began with an amazing opportunity, a thoughtful discussion and a careful decision. Enjoy your new city. It’s chock full of adventure and possibilities.

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