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How to Pack: Baby falls asleep in car seat. Time to get started.
Change laundry.
Clean off bed.
Make bed.
Pick out clothes for one child and stack them on the bed.
Start picking out clothes for next child. Next child doesn't have enough clean clothes.
Baby wakes up.
While getting baby, get out swim suit and goggles from downstairs.
Get baby out of car seat.
Baby has pooped everywhere.
Give baby a bath.
Wash baby's clothes in the sink.
Clean car seat.
Bring laundry up.
Try on baby's Easter outfit as long as baby is naked.
Get baby dressed.
Feed baby.

That's as far as I've gotten. It's been an hour and Dalton is packed. 1 out of 6!

Swim Lessons: Dalton leaves for school at 10:45. Sienna has swim lessons at 11:40. Her swim suit is in the garage. Oh look, laundry in the dryer. I bring it in, along with a new box of carnation instant breakfast (we're out) and Sienna's swim suit. Put the carnation instant breakfast in the pantry. Throw out a couple random old things in there. Take out the recycling. Load the dishwasher.

I go upstairs to get.... something. I take up a clean towel from the laundry for Arthur's changing table. Man, their room is a mess. I throw some dirty laundry in the basket, and put Dalton's blanket on his bed. That helps. I brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. Why did I come up here? I need nursing pads. (That wasn't it.) I go downstairs with a dirty cup and my purse (that wasn't it either). Sienna tries to hide in the couch when I come downstairs. "Look I found Belle in the couch!" Ah, that was it: swim toys. She goes upstaris to get her own swim toys, and puts on her swim suit in the kitchen while I put (exhausted) Arthur in his car seat.

We're too early. Especially since her last 20 minute lesson started 13 minutes late. We'll go to the bank. Sienna requests to hear Try everything, her favorite new song from the Zootopia soundtrack.

At the bank, Sienna does gymnastics in her swim suit. Arthur spits up on the floor. I get cash for the babysitter and our trip to Utah. Sienna gets a lollipop. There's no line and the whole thing is relatively painless. Back in the car. More "bunny song". Arthur resumes crying.

He's still awake when we get to Waterworks. Sienna just has a few minutes to play before her lesson miraculously starts on time. The other kid doesn't show; free private lesson upgrade. I nurse Arthur. He falls asleep about the time Sienna's lesson ends. Guess she gets some play time. Sienna is an awesome little fish. Her favorite part of swim lessons is jumping off the giant foam train mat. Someone offers to hold my baby while I take Sienna potty. She holds him until her own kid needs to go potty. He wakes up. We head home.

Kinkeeping: I recently read an article about kinkeeping and the "invisible burden" it puts on women. Despite the fact that in our family, the majority of the tasks mentioned are done or at least shared by John, the article really got me thinking. (I don't know if it's because it's mostly John's family that requires kin-keeping, or because he's a thoughtful person in general, or because he enjoys planning vacations. Anyway, not the point.)

The article begins with an example: the woman is directing her husband to dress the baby in the outfit gifted by his mother, since she is visiting. How does she even remember? THIS is the invisible burden placed on moms. To remember every single tiny and for-the-most-part insignificant detail. To arrange every particle into place. To make sure it all happens, if not where, when and in what outfit it's supposed to.

You may not even notice. You're likely not meant to notice. It's the type of stuff you only notice when it's NOT done (Laundry, anyone?). But it's mentally draining.

Here are some examples I thought of quickly.
Putting things back where they belong. CONSTANTLY.
Clipping fingernails.
Cleaning behind ears.
Remembering special days at school.
Arranging carpool.
Checking clothing, socks and shoes for holes and fit.
Signing kids up for activities.
Remembering the location of just about everything in the house, even if it's not where it's supposed to be.
Remembering how much we have of any given ingredient, toiletry or food item at any given time.
Vacation holds.
Getting haircuts.

You might even go so far as to add:
Making sure clothes are clean.
Keeping the house stocked with food.
Planning and making meals.
Getting gas.
Paying bills.

All those things that may appear to magically get done (or NOT) if you don't see them happen.

Here's a better example with laundry. Laundry piles up in the basket. You can see it. Someone washes it and puts it away. It's probably mom, at our house. No big deal, if you stay home it's probably in your job description.

Also in the job description is washing sheets. Much less obvious. Unless someone throws up on them, you probably have to remember to wash them. Just a teeny little effort to remember, but there are a million of those things and it adds up. Moms remember everything and it takes a toll.

For some more examples, here are two blog posts I wrote about taking Sienna to swim lessons and packing for our trip.


© 1999-2022 Susanna Chadwick.