When Leaving the House Is the Biggest Accomplishment of the Day

June 12th, 2016

Sometimes it’s hard for me to leave the house. It’s not because of any latent agoraphobia or extreme introversion. I want to get out, believe me. It’s just that I am frequently so completely weighed down by kid-related gear that it is physically difficult to get out the door.

When my kids were tiny, I fully expected to be accompanied at all times by a gargantuan diaper bag stuffed to the gills with necessities. But I somehow believed that, once the kids were out of diapers, we’d travel more lightly. Ha. Not at all! The gear never diminishes, it just shifts as the children age. The sippy cups, pacifiers, and diaper creams give way to the accoutrements of childhood academia. Backpack? Check. Homework? Check. Lunch box? Check. Water bottle? Check. Permission slip for upcoming field trip? Check. Ziploc bag of pennies for the coin drive? Check.

While checking off that list, don’t overlook the checks themselves! Paying for childcare isn’t just expensive, it’s logistically complex. One check Little Bird’s daycare. Another for Kung Fu Panda’s preschool.  Miss Mouse is at the same school as her brother, but her tuition is billed monthly while his is weekly so those tend to be separate checks. And after-school care is yet another separate payment. Who says the age of the checkbook is over?

That’s just the daytime needs. Because we live about 20 minutes outside of Danville, it’s often too time-consuming to go home between school/work and evening extracurricular activities. So let’s add to our list of morning necessities all of KFP’s t-ball gear (pants, socks, cleats, shirt, hat, bat, glove, water bottle).

Think we’re done? Nope, not yet. This week, the beginning of little league overlapped with the end of the dance season so we also needed Miss Mouse’s tap shoes and her recital costume. Don’t forget the sequined feather hair clip!!

Recently, Birdie’s daycare asked that we send in a family photograph to hang in their room. It seemed like such a small request. And yet, I absolutely couldn’t do it. Picking a picture from the computer, uploading it to a one-hour processor, picking it up, and remembering to bring it in was just too much on top of everything else I have to remember every day. Mercifully, her teacher is a mother, too. She kindly suggested that I just tag her in a picture I liked on Facebook and she would print it off. I’d like to nominate that woman for sainthood.

Now that summer has started, you might think that The List of Critical Accessories would be shorter, but it isn’t really. It’s just different. Instead of homework and show-and-tell, I now pack swim suits and sunscreen for camp. Don’t forget to send a couple bucks for the kids to use at the concession stand at the pool!  And tomorrow they’re going to a bounce house so everybody needs socks. Did you send in your $3 for the trip to the movie theater?

If I’m really on my game, I remember my own lunch in the mornings and then I feel such a sense of triumph when I stagger up the steps of my office and realize I actually have something to stow in the refrigerator. Victory is mine!


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