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Humor@Home: Packing to Travel...with Kids

I’m not a procrastinator. I’m not. But sometimes a task is so overwhelming that I just don’t know where to start. Do you ever feel like that? Like the entire universe is folding in on you, and somehow you have to push it back out, but no matter what you do, it keeps falling back in?

For example, let’s say you live in Bakersfield, and you want to take your 14-month old and your 3-year old to “see the snow.” Because that’s what we do here in Bakersfield, right? We take our kids to see snow. Like it’s Disneyland. Like it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Like it’s worth any amount of driving, discomfort, or inconvenience. “Come on, kids! Get in the car! We’re going to see the snow!” 

So there we were one day, getting ready to take our kids to see snow. We wanted to get an early start because the snow was a good 75-minute drive away on this particular day, and we weren’t planning on spending the night. So, my husband and I got up early and started packing. We had bags with gloves and hats and boots and coats and everything you need for taking two kids to the snow. And every time we put one thing in a bag, one child or the other was taking something out of a bag and playing with it. They were so excited. And they just didn’t know what to think of all those winter accoutrements. It took us hours to just get out the front door.

That’s what I mean about feeling like the whole universe is folding in on you, and you can’t accomplish anything. You just sort of wander around retracing your steps, trying to remember where you started and what you’ve done (or re-done). 

That particular snow day was a game-changer in our family. Now, when we “go to the snow,” it is just my husband and the kids who actually get in the car and go. I do the packing, but I stay home to recover--from the packing--and let them enjoy the cold and wet and misery of the actual trip. That’s right: Just call me Champion Mud Stick.

As for packing for other trips, we get a babysitter, AKA Super Grandma, while we pack. Just, you know, so we can avoid that sense of impending doom, like the trip is never going to happen.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t completely work. That’s because when the kids aren’t home, I don’t know what to do with myself. I just wander around the house in circles eating all the junk food in sight and wondering where to begin. 

The kids are old enough now that if we let them “help” pack, they no longer unpack mittens; they just unhelpfully put every single stuffed animal they own into suitcases. And no underwear. So now I’m the one doing the unpacking, pulling stuffed animals out of suitcases behind their backs. And then, of course, no matter what, I always forget something anyway. A mitten. A boot. Socks. A snack. Something. 

Sometimes, while traveling, I indulge in looking around at all the moms who have it Completely Together, and I think to myself, “Someday I want to grow up and be like them. Someday I will have this All Figured Out. Then I will be a Real Mom.”

I actually remember a time in my life—before kids—when I did not forget things. It is a bit of a foggy memory, though. 

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Tags: Parenting

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