Thursday, December 18, 2008

Packing Shame

I'm currently in the midst of packing for a trip. On Saturday, Gwen and Chris and I are catching a morning ferry to Vancouver, stopping to visit Sally & Dean (& Finnegan), and then proceeding to Coquitlam where we will be meeting with the entirety of my mother's side of the family (18 people in total) for a holiday gathering. The next day, we drive back to Horseshoe Bay where Chris gets the ferry back to Nanaimo and Gwen and I follow my sister and her family back home to the Sunshine Coast for a little visit. (Sara bought a house a whole year ago and I haven't even seen it yet! Plus, funtime for cousins.)

Packing has never been my strong suit and since I became a mom it often dawns on me with sinking dread before a trip that I have to pack for two. Unfair! I've actually travelled enough with Gwen now that I have a list on my computer of every item we might possibly need, and it's my habit to go over this list before a trip and select the applicable items.

My current dilemma is whether I should pack one bag for the one-night stay at my aunt's house and then another bag for the two-night stay at my sister's, so I don't have to haul three nights' worth of stuff in to my aunt's place. This points back to my packing shame. I always feel ashamed when I arrive at someone's house with huge gigantic piles of stuff. I don't know exactly why I feel this way, where it comes from, whether it's rational, or whether anyone else feels this way*.

In any case, the one-night-bag theory is kind of moot when you consider that the gigantic items - the playpen and the Bumbo chair leap to mind - need to come in anyway, so who's going to notice what size my bag is at that point?

Oh! Also hate: the idea that in addition to the FURNITURE listed above, I will be arriving with (at minimum) a bag for Gwen's stuff, a bag for my stuff, and a diaper bag. Gah.

So, tell me what you think! Moms, when you travel, do you feel a little weird about bringing so much damn stuff with you, or do you not care? Do you manage to get by with less? Hosts and hostesses, how do you feel when guests arrive with umpty-eleventy-billion bags for an overnight stay?

*Though I will point out that in this post - which you should read anyway, for it is awesome - having "the smallest diaper bag" seems to be presented as a compliment. So there's some subtle but valid confirmation that I'm not alone in the belief that packing light is preferable.

4 comments:

Jen said...

Ha. I wish I could figure out the secret to light packing with a baby!

We just went to my mom's for the weekend...we needed a dolly cart to get everything from car to condo!

Bag for us
Bag for him
Diaper bag stayed in the car
Toys
Highchair
Baby food etc.
Christmas gifts
My knitting
My contribution to Christmas dinner
Jumperoo (oh to shame!)

Where to stop?!

reepicheep said...

It's not limited to moms!
Packing light = having your shit together. Unless you are a movie star and then 10 piece gucci luggage = status symbol.

I remember being pointedly shamed when David and I arrived in Argentina for 10 days of intensive tango lessons, touristing and nightly outings to very dressed up milongas. We had 3 bags each (1 medium, 1 small and then a backpck for in the plane).

We were made fun of and told haughtily by the couple from seattle that they only brought carry on (for 10 days in South America!?!?) but then "we're travellers". I got so pissed at them that I declared that I did not intend to go to Milongas dressed in goretex I had washed in the sink the day before. I am a "traveller" too, and not a college student backpacking through Amsterdam thank you very much.

That said... I have to say to my naive non-mom viewpoint... bringing furniture seems overkill? Perhaps I just don't understand how useful the furniture is :)

Anonymous said...

As someone who is accustomed to travelling with only carry-on luggage for a week-long trip, I am totally with you on the horror that is packing for me and a baby.

Even so, I try to keep it to a minimum, but that is still way more than I am used to. I use my biggest suitcase, and everything fits inside it (barely). I have so far successfully packed for up to 6 days, and then laundry is necessary.

But then again, Ira sleeps in the bed with me and he can't sit on his own yet, so no gear needed there. For special things, I bring play mats/blankets for the floor, his potty, and my sling. We still don't have a stroller, so I don't have that either. Just one freakin' huge suitcase and a backpack for a diaper bag. I feel silly hauling that giant suitcase around, but it beats tons of satellite items in my mind.

-Rachael

Amberism said...

I bring my big rolling suitcase and pack for all of us (unless we're talking a long time, then its a bag for everyone!). I stopped bringing the playpen etc because in the end, the kids seem to be draped all over me in the bed wherever we go, no matter what options we have in front of us. I've never been able to get my kid to sleep in the playpen, but I would bring it if they did sleep in it.

I also don't bring any "toys" because I find the people do a pretty good job holding and entertaining that the toys were never used. Plus everyone has tupperware, pots, boxes...

That said, I DO bring the night-time ritual musts - a book, the knit blanket, toothbrush (obviously) and bath supplies.

When I'm on the plane, the diaper bag is my carrying on, it's all I bring.

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