I am leaving for vacation in approximately 24 hours and I have not packed a damn thing. I went into this with the best of intentions. But when you have kids, packing all of a sudden becomes 7 million times more difficult.

I have realized that there are three stages of packing when you have children.

The First Stage: The List

I sat down and made a list of things that needed to be packed – one for me, one for Henry, my four year old, and one for Simon, who is one.

My list was obviously the longest because I am an avid over-packer. I know that I don’t need a wool sweater at the beach – but just in case! This weather has been extremely unpredictable.

After I made my personal extensive list, I moved on to the kids. Their lists were much shorter. Diapers, clothes, teddy bear, baby food. The one year old can survive his week with four items.

My four year old could probably survive with just a bottle of water and a loaf of bread, but I did decide to list clothes, his favorite blankie, sound machine, and sand toys – among other essentials, like his Batman action figure.

The Second Stage: The Panic

The list has been sitting on my bedside table collecting dust. The suitcases are still in the closet. The laundry hasn’t been done.

I am silently panicking in my head about how I am going to get everything done before we leave.

But obviously not panicking enough to stop writing this and start packing. I work better under pressure.

The Third Stage: The Frenzied Rush        

I like to think of this stage as the one where everyone in my house is terrified of me because I’m running around like a rabid chicken with my head cut off. I’m yelling at Logan to start loading the car. I’m yelling at my four year old to put on a pair of pants. I’m not yelling at the baby just because he isn’t old enough yet. Give it one more year little buddy. I might even yell at the dog if he gets in the way.

I won’t be able to find that one swim suit cover up that I wore that one year I was skinny.

I will accidentally put the wrong pajamas in the wrong suitcases and my husband will try to put 12 month pajamas on the four year old and wonder why they don’t zip.

I’ll pack too many pairs of shoes that I won’t wear and my suitcase won’t zip.

The sand toys in the garage will still have shells in them from last year’s vacation and will smell like a dead animal. They will more than likely end up in the trash.

About an hour or two later, I will be sweating. I will have finally packed up everything for everyone. I think. Because by this time, I will have lost all my lists and will forget something extremely important.

But who gives a crap. I’ll be at the beach. I can buy whatever I forgot to pack. As long as I don’t forget my four year old’s Kindle Fire.

Disclaimer: If you are judging me for letting my kid have too much screen time on vacation, you do you. And I’ll be lying by the pool with a beer while my four-year old leaves me alone.

Until Next Time,