When you are having a baby, there is a naturally occurring “nesting” process, especially if it’s your first baby. You start with the questions… and the lists… so many questions and lists.... What am I going to need, like really need? What is my birth plan? What even is a birth plan? Where am I going to deliver the baby? What are these (insert random, unidentified baby or body products here)? Oh dear Lord, what is happening to my body? And so many millions of other questions running through your and/or your partner’s mind. It is an exciting, yet overwhelming time. And this isn’t even the exciting and overwhelming part. With our first child, we bought EVERYTHING, and set up a beautiful nursery for her. It’s just what you do because you don’t know what you need. With our second, we're working with a bare minimum. His changing table (dresser with a topper) is in his “nursery” (by nursery I mean multipurpose storage room with a desk crammed in for virtual learning for our oldest). The crib is in a corner of our bedroom—though admittedly he is still sleeping in our bed—and his giant playpen, to keep him contained and occupied when chaos ensues, has taken over our entire dining room. That is it. It’s not perfect, but it works for now.
One question that always comes up, while prepping the adorable, thoughtfully decorated nursery is “Do we need to move?” You start to wonder if your trendy loft in the art district, full of beautiful things, concrete poured floors, and spiral staircase is really the best place to bring home a baby. Is my 2 bed/1 bath, California bungalow, tucked away in one of “Richmond’s best neighborhoods to live” going to cut it? What are the schools like here? I’m not letting go of my “x”; I love it here. How much is private school? You have so many questions that you are now spiraling like that staircase mentioned above. Just take a few breaths and a step back. It’s a tiny little baby. And yes, tiny babies need lots of things, and there is so much to consider, but you don’t have to freak out in month 2 of the pregnancy and go out and buy a ginormous house deep in the suburbs. We are still kicking it in our 1300 sqft. 3 bed/1 bath ranch in Rosedale. Do we need to move for more space? Yes! But not yet. We have a plan and are taking our time.
There are so many factors that go into deciding what your and baby’s needs are when considering what to buy and where to move. The biggest question is WHEN do you actually need to do this? If you are in the art district loft mentioned above, then yes, you might need to move sooner rather than later. If you’ve ever tried carrying an infant down a spiral staircase, wearing a long robe, after weeks of no sleep, you’ll know that’s not going to work out well.
But, if you have enough space, you will be okay for a bit. Depending on your practices as a new mother or father, your actual needs may be minimal. Does the baby have a place to sleep? Crib, bassinet, snuggle nest that fits into your bed, etc.? Do you have a place to change the baby? This can be as small as a pad that you lay on your own bed or as large as an oversized dresser with a topper affixed to it. Do you have an extra drawer or two or closet space to build some shelves to store baby’s clothes, linens, etc? Where are you going to keep the stroller and car seat when it's not in use? Depending on the layout of your house, you may not even need an extra room for the baby and nursery. It might sound crazy in our maximalist culture, but this is really it as far as immediate must-haves go.
Remember how I mentioned our little ranch in Rosedale? Well, we came by it honestly and stressfully. When we had our daughter, we said goodbye to our well decorated, quiet, adorable, rental in Bellevue to buy across the way in Rosedale when she was 8 weeks old. I don’t even remember the experience because I blocked it out. I don’t know what we were thinking with that timeline, but I wish someone had been there to tell me what I’m telling you. I would have waited.
Planning is key. Whether you need and are able to move immediately or can wait a year or two, call your realtor. They can help pair you with a lender, and together they will help you form a plan. You may need to continue to rent for a bit while you save for a down payment, build credit, pay down a debt, etc. There could be grant programs available to you that your lender can help you access. If you are already a homeowner and plan on coordinating the sale and purchase of something new, your agent can help strategize the marketability of your home and determine what needs to be done to get it ready to sell. If schools are important to you, you’ll need to do your research so your realtor can help you find a home in the district of your choice.
Moving can be stressful and overwhelming in itself without the added pressure of a new baby. If everything lines up, and it makes sense financially and logistically to move before baby comes, that’s great! But if you need to wait a while, it’s okay. Just breathe, take it all in, and call your realtor. whether it’s planning an imminent move, strategizing on how to modify your current living situation, or just leaning on us for experience and advice, we’re here for you every step of the way.