I am packing to go on a week long trip with the kids and my parents. Packing with children takes monumental effort, and it doesn't seem to matter whether you are going for one night or a week, it's all approximately the same amount of stuff.
1 suitcase for the boys
1 suitcase (smaller) for me
1 bag assorted shoes for six assorted feet. (generally two feet of each size)
1 bag toiletries/medicine
1 bag stuffed animals
1 bag library books/DVDs
1 bag food for car/hotel snacks
1 bag of my portable office
1 bag of ipads/laptops
1 swim bag
1 bag baseball stuff
1 dog bed
That's 12 bags plus a dog bed. I realize that some people think that all you need is a few changes of clothes and off you go, but I have found that my life is easier if I bring it all.
1. Kids cry less when they have snacks readily available, the kind they like, that they can get themselves.
2. If you don't bring medicine, you will need to go to the store in the middle of the night. If you do bring it, it will be unneeded and spill everywhere.
3. Driving stresses me out. If the kids have toys, books, DVDs, etc., I have half a chance at some sleep/relaxation.
4. Of all the things that I pack, the only thing that won't be used is the clothing. They will live in bathing suits if it is nice out and PJs if it is not. Bringing a change of clothes for each kid each day is a complete waste of energy, but I somehow feel like a bad parent if I plan on them not changing their clothes all week. That's like not wasting space on toothbrushes. You know you have to bring them to be a good parent, even though you will probably never find them before the last night anyway.
5. It is supposed to rain every day. I have to be prepared for being stuck in a small space i the middle of nowhere for 5 days. But in case it doesn't rain, I have to be ready for horseback riding, canoeing fishing, swimming (damn, forgot to buy poles today) and playing outside.
The sad thing is that we are stopping for one night at a hotel, then staying the remaining time in a cabin. That one night will require me to bring in most of the bags:
1. snacks. My kids eat every 8.735 minutes.
2. clothes for them
4. stuffed animals
5. swim bag for hotel pool
6. my computer
7. oh, yeah, clothes for me.
8. dog bed
9. cooler, which will need new ice
On the plus side, I don't have to bring a giant bag of cloth diapers, a potty chair, or a pack n play. On the down side, if there is room I have to fit in two sleeping bags, a tent, and a blow up boat.
Oh, and I meant to grab a dog crate, just in case my parents are late for my Very Important Appointment Monday as it is too hot to leave the dog in the car. I figure if he is boxed up I can shove him in a storage closet somewhere for an hour.
Going home, everything will be thrown into a big pile and shoved in the trunk haphazardly, never to be unpacked. But half the stuff will get lost, so that will make it even easier.
My kids don't even care that much about vacations. They just want to go to the gift shop at the rest stop.
Chocolate. I need to pack lots of chocolate that I can secretly eat after the kids are in bed…better start eating now and get my levels up to an acceptable level. Safer for everyone that way I think.
Actually, I like traveling a lot with the kids. Nothing makes me love them more. They are flexible, sweet, charming little monkeys who go with the flow better than 90% of adults out there. After Big Pants throws up, that is. You see, every car trip with Mama he throws up in the first 45 minutes, which by now I should be prepared for but somehow never am. He never throws up on road trips with Daddy. Never ever ever. Always does with me like clockwork, generally on whatever I have foolishly stuffed in the space where grown ups would put their feet, but his legs can't yet reach. Tomorrow it will be the dog and his dog bed down there. I better bring a bucket.