Thanks everyone for your feedback! Some answers to your questions:
I would be moving from the DC area to Northern California, so it would be a true coast-to-coast move.
I said “once in a career” because the new job is the kind of thing people don’t leave once they’re hired. The company is very job-secure for my notoriously insecure industry (journalism) and there aren’t a lot of options for equivalent jobs in the area. The position is open now because the woman in it for 20+ years is retiring. It might be another 20-30 years before the position opens up again. That’s why it feels like a now-or-never opportunity.
My husband’s mom — the only family that he speaks to, and vice versa — lives with us six months out of the year, and of course we would help her move with us. I don’t think she would want to.
My dad is terminally ill with end-stage renal disease. He may last another month or another year, it’s not completely clear. Luckily, he is surrounded by my mom and brothers and I talk to him every day. I’m not contemplating the move for him, since he may be gone by the time I get out there. My mom is 70, and also starting to struggle with debilitating health issues.
My current job allows telecommuting, but it’s to be used sparingly. The main benefit to working from a home office full time (not possible with current job, only option with new job) when the baby is young is the ability to breastfeed during the day.
Yes, this is more of a lifestyle decision than a career decision for both of us. I’ve long wanted to move closer to my family. There have been times where I go home for the holidays and feel out of place, where I feel like my brothers’ girlfriends are more the daughters of the family than me. I have a happy life here, but there is a hole where my family should be.
I talked to my husband again and he repeated that he would happily go where I go. He is very supportive, but I think maybe a little naive or overly optimistic about how things would pan out with the move.
Finally, this is far from a done deal. Other candidates on the ground are being interviewed. I’ve just been told by my bosses that they would support whatever I chose, and that I could return to DC if California doesn’t work out for me. Of course, I’d like to avoid doing two moves back and forth!