They say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can ever do and having moved house in the past I can agree that it is indeed stressful however going on holiday with 4 young children definitely has to rank up there as a close contender for “the” most stressful thing EVER!
I decided very early on in my role as a mother that my children would learn to become independent and that I wasn’t going to be a pack horse. When I pick them up from school I refuse to carry the multitude of bags, books, bottles, coats and other paraphernalia that they come rushing out with. When the laundry is done and the clothes are sorted I expect them to put their own clothes away and keep their bedrooms tidy. When we go on holiday I expect them to bring me their clothes for going away. Well – all of them except F who is only 7 months old so can be forgiven for the moment. Some people think I am mean but that’s their prerogative and many of them have just one or two children so less to carry.
So when it comes to packing clothes I have a system!
A list for all the items they need and then their initials across the top so I can tick them off when they have duly delivered their items and folded them into their piles on the sofa.
A list that I have to make sure I stick to as they bring me piles of clothes which they think are needed only for me to send them back up stairs for another t-shirt or to return the dress that is too small now.
A list that is refined after each holiday we prepare for and I think I now have it down pat!
It isn’t a long list but it has everything I think we need….
PJs, Socks, Underwear, t-shirts, long sleeved tops, trousers, shorts, shoes, trainers, crocs, dresses, smarts, coat, Swimming costumes, towels, goggles, toothpaste, toothbrush, teddy
and that is it (just the quantities change) but, boy, isn’t it hard work when a 6, an 8 and a 10 year old are all at different stages, bashing into each other on the stairs, shouting at each other or talking over each other in their rush to tell me that they have brought all their socks/pants/whatever? Trying to remain calm and positive and not cancel the holiday altogether is tough but what is the alternative? Do it all myself I suppose?
Many people I know would ask why I give myself the stress doing it this way but I do because I know that, in the long run, my children are developing and growing into fine, independent, forward-thinking young people.
The pride in my daughter’s eyes when her pile is complete and beautifully folded is all I need to make it worthwhile.