Here I am again, preparing to travel in a car for 2 days with three kids and a dog. What!? I know I’m not the only one who dislikes travel – even though it’s worth it to see family. The preparations and packing are a necessary part of the process, but I’d prefer to snap my fingers and be done with it. I realize the mental picture of packing is half the battle, and if I can get past that it’s not so bad. The hard part is worrying that I’m going to forget something crucial. (This is the reason for “overpacking”).
Everything (And) the Kitchen Sink
When my kids were little – toddlers, infants, and the like – I was continually worrying that I wasn’t packing enough diapers (although they can easily be found at any grocery and drug store), that I didn’t have enough Tylenol, Motrin or whatever medicine might be needed for the emergencies of life, and on top of all that…. did I forget to pack my toothbrush? I admit, my stuff was the last thing to get packed, and at that point I was too flustered to think through what I might actually need. I envy the moms who can think straight in these types of situations – the moms who pack two weeks in advance and make detailed lists of everything they need to pack, and in what order to do it. I just don’t have that gift.
Instead, I would obsess about what to pack, and put off doing anything until a few days before leaving. The details just overwhelmed me. Finally, I would begin a mad-rush to throw together whatever I thought would be appropriate. Often asking my husband, “How many pairs of underwear should I pack? Seven or ten?” He usually came up with a sensible answer. Poor man.
Life Goes On…
My kids have grown, and as they are older and (slightly) more responsible, I have less to worry about when it comes to packing. I make a list (at my daughter’s insistence) and have them use it to pack their own suitcases. Even my five-year-old can pack his own suitcase. Although I do check it afterward and make changes as necessary. It’s so refreshing to not have to pack diapers, a diaper bag, and all the essentials for babies/toddlers. Now I can focus more on my own packing and what I’ll need to take. Wow! Image that!
This time around, I found myself packing four days before we were supposed to leave (a record!) and this took much of the stress out of the process. I admit, I still worried that I wasn’t bringing enough underwear or medicines. But I remembered my toothbrush!
If you are still in the middle of the toddler/baby years, take heart. Life goes on. Someday soon you too will be able to leisurely pack your own bag, and hopefully your kids will be able to pack their own. And you can leave the kitchen sink at home. And the diapers, too.
-Keeping it Real, Sbmccoy
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