A year ago, with a move to Dallas in my family’s future, I took to Google searching for Dallas Mom resources. With every query, I patiently waited for Google to plop me into a fully-renovated, completely unpacked home in an excellent school district with Mom friends next door to bring casseroles until I found the nearest grocery store.
As it turns out, Google can’t do this, so I’m offering a very distant next best thing. Below are my Top 5 Tips for Families Joining The DFW Metroplex. The working title of the list was, “Do The Opposite of Everything I Did And You’ll Be Fine,” but martyrdom implies I knew I was making a sacrifice. I didn’t. I was just grossly unprepared.
Don’t move in July unless you want your welcome to Texas to coincide with your welcome to toe and behind-the-knee sweat as well as a constant, and very real, fear of vaporization. Hold off until October.
If you know no one here,use schooldigger.com to research school districts. Also, don’t let your significant other fall in love with a house in a district you’d be nervous about sending your dog to for obedience school. This leads to promises about learning to start the lawnmower in exchange for buying in the better district that you both know will never be kept.
If you plan on renovating the house you buy, do the following:
1. Make sure you really want to live through it. Don’t cavalierly say, ”It will be fun!” without understanding how long it will be until you are truly settled in Dallas. Start to finish, it took us eight months to move out of our old house and into our fully renovated Dallas home. EIGHT months. Count those days out on a calendar, understand you may not have cable for a solid third of them, and then decide.
2. Unless you are a certified house-flipper, find a contractor. Ask your realtor for recommendations, meet them, and visit their work. Both our architect and contractor were wonderful and I’d highly recommend them to anyone looking.
3. If possible, complete the renovation before you move into the house. We moved from our old city, to corporate housing, to our unrenovated house, into a condo while our house was renovated, and then back into our renovated house. By the end, I wore a tent on my back and was comfortable pitching it anywhere in the metroplex. This is a weird skill to have.
Don’t be surprised that most of the houses you look at have pools (See Tip 1; there’s a strong correlation). If you’re not accustomed to “Pool” on your list of things for which you provide care, either go to Leslie’s and ingratiate yourself to their employees or hire a pool service immediately.
I played the part of Pool Boy for our first six months. When we moved back into our house, a family of mallards was squatting next to our algae-riddled pool. I now have a pool service I can highly recommend to anyone looking.
Know your strengths. For most of us, it’s not pool care.
Also, if you have little ones, get a gate! Yes, they’re expensive, but I would pay 10 times what we did for the peace of mind that comes free with the atrociously ugly safety gate. I also have a referral for our pool fence guy, if you’re looking.
Lastly, and most importantly, find the other moms! It took a few months, but eventually I found our neighborhood Mom group. With membership came instant access to other women who share dreams of a three hour afternoon nap. They won’t bring casseroles. They’ll bring bourbon and babysitter recommendations.
Best of luck in your journey to Dallas! If you have specific questions or need recommendations, please stop Googling and get in touch.
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Annie is Brand Marketer, Mom, and self-appointed Household Executive. She spends her days balancing marketing and motherhood, not cleaning, never walking the dog, and pretending not to know what day is trash day.
She just finished an ebook entitled The Cape Doesn’t Work. How To Fly With Your Baby, Supermom which would be published on Amazon and ready for your purchase were she a bit more organized.
She writes with less frequency than necessary to become famous over at her tiny blog just a little tart, chirps as loudly as a bird run over by a bulldozer at @justalittletart, and is reachable at [email protected]