The vacation packing list all moms need.

It’s spring break! In a few days I’m going on vacation with my family. This means:

  • No major cooking or cleaning for a week.
  • A break from all my work and activities
  • Sunshine and warm weather.
  • Lots of laughter and board games with family.

It also means two weeks of packing for one week away. It means lots of lists full of things to do before we leave: medications to refill, bills to pay, and animals to find care for.

A few years ago, when I was having my obligatory freak-out session in the middle of packing our mountain of bags for a different trip, my husband suggested another list: one for the mental and emotional things I need to pack as a mom traveling with kids. Because, let’s face it, its’ our own stress level that quickly turns a normal, pleasantly chaotic family vacation into a nightmare.

So here’s the packing list I now make for myself. It’s the one I consult more than any of the others, and it’s been one of the ways I’ve formed memories instead of migraines when we travel. In the spirit of relaxation and playfulness, I’ve made this list with a pattern. The first reader* who guesses the pattern will win one of my new Embrace the Crazy t-shirts (shown here).

  1. The toddler does not speak “grownup.”
  2. Think first. Then clearly give directions.
  3. Follow through. The first time. Regardless.
  4. You’re the boss. Act like it.
  5. Utilize the art of distraction. Often.
  6. Manage your stress first. Then theirs.
  7. Bring snacks. Lots. Not sugary ones.
  8. If traveling stateside, pack much lighter.
  9. Everyone should wear easily removable shoes.ย 
  10. Most stains come clean with wipes.
  11. Normal life’s no less intense. Enjoy.
  12. Leave the giant stroller at home.
  13. Breathe deeply. Both in and out.
  14. Stand straight. Bad posture causes grumpiness.
  15. Eat fiber. Feeling clogged isn’t fun.
  16. Your hubby can not read minds.
  17. Choose your battles. Fight very few.
  18. “Family” doesn’t mean everyone will agree.
  19. Smile. Onlookers will despise you less.
  20. Be still and Know He’s God.

What helps you travel happier and more relaxed with your kids? Click here to leave your comments.

I’m taking a break from my Thursday article this week, so look for another Living Power post next Monday.

Have a great week!

* Update: Congratulations to Rhonda Elfstrand who guessed the pattern first! (6 word sentences) Thanks for everyone who guessed here and at Moms Together!

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  1. says

    I think I'll have to post it on my own fridge… after a day like today and the discouraging results at the doctor for Red, I need to read it again myself! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. says

    Love the post. I think it applies to just about any outing planned with any age offspring. (minus the stroller part, perhaps–in the instance of my college aged son)
    Love the shirt BUT can't find the pattern.

  3. says

    I loove THAT shirt!! And I looove your post. I reeeally needed to read this (Thank you!!) as we are planning our first family vacation by car (15 hour drive!) with our 3 teenagers and a 3 year old… plus one of the teens' friends, possibly. Thanks for posting this, I will be sure to print and pack it with us.

    I will be back to post again as soon as I can figure out the pattern. I neeed that shirt! ๐Ÿ™‚