Guest blog post by: Shannon Fisher, And Now I’m A Mom
My husband and I just booked a week long, all-inclusive vacation in St. Lucia for this upcoming January. I say “upcoming” as if it’s soon, or as if you would get confused as to which January it is. Obviously, the upcoming one. Anyway; moving on.
We’ve been humming and hawing over where and when to go on vacation, basically since we started seeing each other. The answer has only ever been; Collingwood, for two days. It always ends up as three, because two days for a vacation sucks because you waste so much time checking in and checking out, and we can never just leave that quickly. So we finally bit the bullet and booked a trip. And bit another bullet and chose an all-inclusive. Originally we were going to go for a resort with a full kitchen to a) save money, and b) not have to eat out every meal. But I tell ya, I’m pretty damn excited about not having to cook EVERY MEAL for AN ENTIRE WEEK. Yaaas.
I had a few thoughts after clicking the “confirm” button.
1) Omg YAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSS VACATION.
2) Omg how are we going to afford this?
3) Finally- we never got a honeymoon!
4) OMG YAAAAASSSS
5) I need cute summer clothes and bathing suits
6) Holy shit how am I going to pack for all of us?!
7) Does the baby get a full size 40lb suitcase as well?
I’m a bit of an over-packer. And by “bit”, I mean extreme. I mean, packed 9 bikinis for a 7 day trip to Cuba kind of extreme. I mean filled a suitcase bursting to the 40lb limit EXACTLY for a weeklong trip- extreme.
I took 6 pairs of shoes for a 3 day weekend.
However, I’m going to pretend I’m an expert and I’m going togive you a few tips for packing for an infant.
We took our first mini-vacation in May up to- you guessed it- Collingwood for 3 nights. Now, the problem with May is you never know what the hell the weather is going to do. You could get hot and sun, you could get spring-cool, you could get frost and freezing rain, or you could get all of the above in a very small window of time. In other words, it’s a nightmare to pack for.
Did I overpack? Well duh. I’m a first-time parent, taking her 4 month old infant on their first time leaving the house overnight, in a season where the weather can’t make up its mind.
But! I learned some things:
1. Make a list
Seems redundant, but this is so so important. First, mom-brain is a very real thing and it sneaks up on you when you’re not expecting it. And I guarantee you’re going to forget things until the very last minute. (That’s if you don’t forget them altogether). So make that list. Organize it into categories like Yourself, Baby, Husband, Toiletries, Day Trips, Electronics etc. And start it like a week before you have to go anywhere. Add things as soon as you remember them, because chances are- if it took you a few days to remember it, you’re probably going to forget it.
2. Don’t Pack for the baby too far in advance
Does this seem like a weird piece of advice? Maybe it is. Granted, I’ve always been a bit of a last-minute packer, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that. For the baby however, I would- and here’s why. Baby’s are chaotic, and when you’re on vacation you want things to run as smoothly as they can. If you start packing too early, you’re not going to be able to pack everything at once, because things will still be needed while you’re waiting for your trip to start. If you start too early, you’re going to forget which onesies you’ve packed. You’ve stocked and restocked the diaper bag a bunch of times, you need some of the outfits you want to bring now, you need the nail clippers, she peed on the diaper mat so you need your spare, etc etc. If you wait until the night before to pack the baby, you can lay out everything and decide what you need, what you don’t, and what you might need, and narrow it down from there instead of a free-for-all of packing what you don’t need in the moment.
3. Pack for yourself ahead of time
So this works with my step #2. If you’re packing for the baby the night/day before, that doesn’t leave much time to also pack for yourselves the night before as well. Remember, you also have an unpredictable baby to deal with while all of this is going on. So go through your list, and mark off the things you can pack without missing them in the time leading up. Start portioning up your toiletries like shampoos and soaps into smaller, travel-friendly containers. And mind your sizes if you’re going to be flying. Keep an extra of small toiletries like your toothbrush strictly for travel, so this way you’re not running around the morning of trying to pack all the things you needed to use the night before.
4. Pack what you need.
This sounds ridiculous. But I know for me, I make my list, I get those things and lay them on my bed. I then tend to add about 6 more- “just in case.” Then I have an overpacked suitcase with stuff I don’t need, just because I couldn’t decide what Tshirt to bring, so I brought 6 instead. And then an extra sweatshirt. And then a sweater too, if I don’t want to wear that one… and on and on. This is so crucial for the baby as well. And why step #1- list, is so important. If your list is concise, your packing will be concise. And check to see if there’s laundry facilities where you’re going, because if there’s one thing babies produce- well, it’s poop. But poop equals laundry.
If you want an example of what not to do, I made a cohesive list for our mini trip to Collingwood.
I instead packed an entire duffel bag FULL of outfits and sleepers, and brought probably close to 100 diapers.
About 4 outfits got used (maybe 5), and maaaaaaybe 30 diapers. IT WAS 3 DAYS.
And we had laundry facilities IN our suite.
Don’t do that, especially if you’re going on a plane.
5. Consult your list again once you’re done.
When everything is packed, zipped, and ready for the door, consult that list again. Go over every item out loud, and “checkmark” each one. Generally when you’re doing this, especially out loud, if you’ve forgotten something now is when it’s gonna come back up. And if you haven’t forgotten anything writing you’re list, once you’ve check check checked each item, you’re ready to go!
6. Don’t stress- Enjoy!
You’re about to go on vacation! I know packing is stressful at the best of times, especially with an infant. Not only making sure they have everything they’re going to need, you have everything you and the rest of your family are going to need, and it all fits into your suitcase under the weight limit (if flying)- but you also have to do all of this while making sure your infant is happy and isn’t crying at you to pay more attention to them while you’re trying to jam that last pair of shoes into your suitcase.
Take a breath. Have a glass of wine, or beer, or water, and sit down for a moment. You’ve done well. You got this.
Enjoy your family vacation!
Shannon Fisher – And Now I’m A Mom m
Shannon is a 31 year old first-time mom to little Bettie. Leaving a world of sex clubs and naked protests on pause, she loves sharing her stories and adventures with others while she navigates through this new world of mom and wife. One of her new favourite things is finding matching outfits (and headbands!) for her and her daughter – and husband whenever he lets her! With a love for the arts and self-expression, she is really looking forward to all of the adventures and excitement this new life will bring, and she can’t wait to see what kind of person this little nugget of joy will become. (But she’s not rushing it!)