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Help! We're Moving & Driving Each Other Crazy!

Help! We’re Moving & Driving Each Other Crazy!

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

My husband and I have two kids, ages 2 and 4 months. Next month we’re moving an hour away to be closer to his parents and his job. Since you’re about to be going through the same thing I thought you might have some insight into how to go about this process.

I’m all about planning and working diligently over the next month to pack things up we don’t use much and organize so that when the day comes all we really need to do is load up our stuff and go. My 2 year old is having a ball helping me pack a box a day and is super excited to go to his new house with a playground in the backyard. And really, the kids take up a lot of time so if I leave packing to the last minute we’ll be way in over our heads.

I’m having some disagreements with my husband over the best way to go about the move. Hubby is taking a more loosey goosey, go-with-the-flow approach. As in, I’ll pack the week before no don’t box up my winter shoes I’ll do it myself approach. He even had to be talked into renting a U-Haul truck so that we’d only have to take one trip. He and his dad thought it would be ok to use a smaller borrowed trailer and take as many trips over as many days and weekends as we needed.

Last night when talking about the aforementioned shoes packing, I got upset with him. I told him that I wasn’t going to spend whole days and nights watching the kids while he packed at the last minute. I don’t think he’s grasping how stressful it will be to have the kids in limbo for an unknown length of time. I want to load our stuff once, unload it once, and work on getting everything in order so the kids (and us!) are settled as quickly as possible.

He eventually relented to letting me box up the shoes. No word yet on if I can tackle anything else that is his but for now I’ll be content to do mine and the kids’ things. (I stay at home so really I’m happy to do it so it makes life easier.)

Husband has already mentioned that my planning when we move stresses him out. I think I come across as frazzled and excitable when this happens but it makes me feel better and helps me sleep at night knowing that I’m chipping away at the mountain of work ahead of me in a detailed way.

So my question is: how do I go about helping my husband let go a little in this moving process. He works full time with an hour long commute, and takes care of the finances and the yard work on over an acre of land. He NEEDS me to take charge in this process but I think living with boxes around for a month and not being able to organize it all himself makes him crazy.

Thanks for all your help!
Up in Limbo

(Lots of moving questions rolling in. I wonder why, because over on my blog I am pretty sure I’ve only demonstrated that I am a HOT MESS and should NOT BE CONSULTED about anything moving related unless it’s how to likewise be a HOT MESS.)

So you and your husband sound super similar to me and my husband! Are you us? Are you wearing us like skinsuits? Because my husband also had it in his head at some point that we were going to handle the entire move by ourselves. Even though he has a bad back and I am a puny weakling and we have approximately 11,000 pounds of stuff in our home. (And that’s NOT an exaggeration. That came from an estimate from a professional packing and moving company, who I FINALLY managed to convince my husband to contact because DUDE. DUUUUUUUDE. Our move out and into the new house has to happen on the same day, and that day is hurtling towards us rapidly.)

So you guys have different approaches to this, and you’re clashing because 1) duh, moving is stressy-stress stressful, and 2) your different approaches are each making the OTHER PERSON more stressed out, ouroboros style. The more he insists that his last-minute, DIY approach is the right one, the more you panic because you’re convinced that your planning-to-plan, let’s get stuff done ahead of time approach is better. He thinks you’re control freaking/micromanaging, you think he’s being an idiot, there’s so much to do plus kids for the love of God let me pack up some crap for you already!

What we need here is a good old-fashioned compromise. While he’s at work, you run things at home. You pack things, including his things. You are capable of knowing what not to pack (stuff he needs over the next few weeks), and will label anything you pack appropriately for easy location just in case. By allowing you to do this, he will also solve the problem of you “stressing him out” because the more you chip away at the packing process, the better/calmer you will feel. (HELLO I AM YOU. I KNOW HOW THIS STUFF WORKS.)

When he’s at home, you will refrain from nagging/bugging. Channel the frazzled/excited energy into the hours when he’s not there, and try to make sure you guys are having conversations about things OTHER than the move. It can get all-encompassing, I know. But the rest of life is happening around it, and needs attention and love as well.

As for the actual move itself, I gotta admit if we could have done the several-small-trips-over-a-few-weekends, we would have. Definitely cheaper, although yeah, it prolongs the period of feeling unsettled. I don’t think it’s The Worst Thing, though, especially given how young your kids are. They’ll be okay, since it’s more about you guys being there and remaining a constant than whether or not you moved the dining table out already. That might be your area of compromise, with an agreement to revisit the idea of a One And Done truck rental if it seems to be stressing the kids out too much. (And promise that it really will be about the kids, and not you.)

But take heart! Eventually even my super stubborn husband woke up to our reality: We have to do it in one day, we HAVE to hire movers for our furniture, and honestly, we probably need to shell out some money to have packers come the day before to pack all the crap we won’t have time to get to. Yeah, it sucks. I’d rather use that money on new furniture or something! But having the packers as a last-minute fallback means I won’t drive us both insane by trying to pack up ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW YOU PACK TOO DO IT DO IT while my husband procrastinates, and also I can cut myself a break on having the entire move/packing process on my shoulders while trying to work and care for the kids.

Take a deep breath. Compromise fairly and calmly. And tell him that some person on the Internet gave you permission to pack up his stuff while he’s at work, because come on, man.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Lindsay
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Lindsay

I don’t have anything incredibly useful to add here, but just wanted to mention that it seems you are also me! And your husband is also my husband! Or something? In a sort of similar (but should have been way easier!) scenario we had recently, I had a full on anxiety attack (my first. ugggh!) eventually when he was not helping me over-prepare for a trip we were taking. So I just wanted to throw out there that you should NOT be like me. If you catch yourself going into that territory, let your husband know. I think I was… Read more »

Lydia
Guest
Lydia

Oh man, packing takes WAY more time and BOXES than you ever think possible.  I’d look at a bookshelf, pull out two good sized boxes and think “these will be more than enough for that stuff” and 30 minutes later both boxes were full and the bookshelf was still 3/4 full of stuff.  Packing early is also key to getting RID of stuff.  All those trips to goodwill or the dump take time.  We moved my husband two blocks once (before we got married).  We figured it’d be super easy to do with a large pick up truck and many… Read more »

Becky
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Becky

Maybe it is a husband thing as mine was JUST THE SAME (no, we CANt use plastic carrier bags!! We need boxes!!!). Totally. I totally agree wih packing up his completely unused stuff while he is at work (HE WONT NEED IT. Come on dude) and don’t inundate him with details about what you have packed. Just quietly get on with it. He doesn’t need to know and he is clearly choosing a mountain to die on in reaction to the stress Of moving. Also, we found moving all the packed boxes into one little-used room (the study, in our… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Oh god moving. Hire movers, do not wait until the last minute, pack and purge start now. We had to be out of our house a day or two before we could be in the new one so I rented a monsterous Uhaul, hired a crew to load it up. Couple days later I drove it to the new house and the crew came back to unload it. What did I learn? If you don’t drink martinis, get rid of your martini glasses. Seriously, I have carefully wrapped, packed, moved, and unpacked those damn things twice in 11 years and… Read more »

A.L
Guest
A.L

This was totally us too! Why are husbands so weird about moving? We also had to compromise so we didn’t wind up killing each other. I stayed at home with our 11 month old and packed up everything in my own time. I packed the stuff I knew we didn’t need first, of course, and didn’t bother him with the details of what I was packing or when. I then deposited each box into our sun room (the most unused room in the house). I even brought out small pieces of nonessential furniture, pictures, potted plants, etc. Having all the… Read more »

Nicole
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Nicole

It sounds like you have some overlap time? Perhaps you and your husband can decide which things each of you is responsible to pack, and if he doesn’t pack his stuff before the big move day, then well, he’ll just have to finish it after. We recently moved (with a 15 month old and 4 year old) and I started packing several months in advance, knowing I could only do a few boxes each day. My husband was responsible for his clothes and his stuff in the basement: Music gear, video games, and random junk he can’t seem to part… Read more »

leslie
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leslie

Interesting fact: It’s not just husbands that are like this. In our house, the situation is reversed. My husband is the crazy planner/pack five million years before we move/have endless conversations about “the plan” person, where I’m the “eh, it’ll come together at the end, let’s not worry too much about it” Interesting fact: It’s not just husbands that are like this. In our house, the situation is reversed. My husband is the crazy planner/pack five million years before we move/have endless conversations about “the plan” person, where I’m the “eh, it’ll come together at the end, let’s not worry… Read more »

Allison
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Allison

This was us about a year ago–we moved an hour away, with a just-three-year-old and an eight month old. We did hire movers for the big stuff, but otherwise did the smaller things in bacthes (we closed two weeks before actually moving, and then were renting out our old home, so we had time). My husband really did not want to spend more than absolutely necessary on the movers, so they were very limited in what they could do. This was such a mistake. We went back and forth SO many times. Endless trips. I think I made three trips… Read more »

Melinda
Guest
Melinda

Get rid of everything.purge like your life depends on it.

Absolutely do it in one day. Get a truck and NEVER LOOK BACK.

I have moved at least 20 times in my life (25 yrs old). At this point I’m not sure why I bother having belongings.

You will never regret working fast and early.

SarahB
Guest
SarahB

Get estimates for packers and movers, stat. (I recommend using them!) But get the estimate and then tell him everything you do means you spend a little less than that total on packers and movers.

And what the heck, you are getting packing down with a two year old and four month old? And he dares criticize you for it? You my friend are a freakin’ rock star and he could at least say thank you!

Katharine
Guest
Katharine

Oh man get the big ass truck and take the one and done approach!!!!! I am also you and had rented a big truck but had uhaul cancel last minute and wound up with a rinky dink pickup truck. Making a million trips with a toddler and baby is hard!!!

K
Guest
K

I am with so many commenters – I absolutely recommend AGAINST the million trips back and forth. It always takes longer/is so much more aggravating than you think to have to drive back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, sometimes with the kids in tow. Get it all moved with a huge truck if you can, or rent a Pod. We did the Pod and loaded up our furniture in that, purged like crazy and stored the rest of the stuff we used a large trailer for at my grandparents, which was all of 6 minutes away from… Read more »

Shan from CO
Guest

i can add anecdote plz? We moved when DD was just over one and had the “help” of my ILs, who had moved twice in the past 30 years, once barely even counting since they left all the crap they didn’t have time to pack in their house, which their son took over (it’s still a major source of family stress, 5+ years later). Me, on the other hand grew up moving literally every three years, not to mention lots of apartment changing as an adult. Anyway, we had planned for a bunch of friends to come and help us… Read more »

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

Moving is SO stressful. I am a single person, and I don’t know how I would handle having to compromise with someone else. It took me a month to pack last time. I use movers. ALWAYS USE MOVERS if possible; they are more reliable than friends and also insured.

I am moving upstate next May, and I am already freaking the hell out. I have been saving boxes and I want to start packing NOW! Also unfortunately, I don’t have some extra, unused room to pile up packed boxes in.

Anyway, good luck and keep packing! You husband is nuts.

Cassie
Guest
Cassie

1. PURGE! Purge like your life depends on it! You don’t need most of your stuff and purging is so much better than packing, moving and unpacking.  2. Absolutely, positively hire movers. It is literally the best money I’ve ever spent. You have two little kids. If there is ANY WAY that you can afford movers, HIRE THEM! Get quotes, do not take the lowest quote – they will end up taking longer than anticipated and gouging you – pick a reasonable middle ground.  3. Pack when he’s not home, even if he doesn’t want you to pack his stuff,… Read more »