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The Things She Carried… and Barely Used

I’ve been unpacking after a week-long trip to my mom’s house. Among the items I’m pulling out of my backpack: 2 nonfiction books that I’ve been wanting to read, 2 copies of The New Yorker, 1 new legal pad for writing, plus clothes for running and yoga.

I barely cracked open the books and magazines. The legal pad is as clean as ever. The workout clothes are still neatly folded and fresh smelling. I’m exhausted, and I’m laughing at myself. After almost 5 years of motherhood, why do I still hold on to the hope that I’ll be able to catch up on reading, writing, and exercise when I’m traveling with my kids? Why do I insist on bringing all of these things with me – just in case! – on top of all of the other many pounds of car seats, travel crib, diapers, clothes, snacks, and books and toys? Will I ever learn?

This feels like a little representation of what motherhood is to me. It fills up my life so much – in good ways and in challenging ways – and I never accomplish as much as I set out to do. I have to remind myself that at this stage, caring for my kids is a lot, and it is enough. I will keep trying to carve out time for myself, so that I can do the things that I love, but I won’t beat myself up over it if my plans sometimes fall through.

Our trip was wonderful, though. It was great to catch up with my mom and extended family. It was just the kids and me, and my first time flying with both of them. Both Cee and BabyM did really well. Cee loves traveling now and packed lots of entertainment for herself on the flight. BabyM is an amazingly good-natured and flexible baby (I know this, because Cee wasn’t), and he handled traveling with ease. Even when he was wired and awake long past his bedtime on our last flight, he was still grinning at the people sitting around us and craning his body to catch glimpses of computer screens and seatbelt signs. Before that, there was about an hour on one flight when BabyM was sleeping and Cee was happily occupied with coloring and the iPad, and I DID read a full article from The New Yorker. If you’ve traveled with little kids, you know what a feat this is. I know it may not happen again for 2-3 years.

And now, I’m glad to be home and to have a little help with childcare so that I can catch up on things. Like, for example, I published a book last week! And now I better get to work promoting it. More soon!

P.S. – The giveaway for my book on the blog is now closed. The two randomly chosen winners were Jenny B. (comment #30) and Meghan (#48). I’ve heard from Jenny, but Meghan, if you’re reading this, I sent you an email. Write me back with your address! The GoodReads giveaway is still open. Go put your name in that hat – I’d love to see more entries over there!

16 Comments
  1. Alice, you are super to get a New Yorker article read in an hour, even with BabyM and Cee quiet ! It takes me much longer to get through one. I always have a few open around the house. Congratulations on your new book! I have been busy writing and haven’t kept up with WordPress lately. I will go over the Goodreads right away to read about it. BabyM sounds like a little love, fascinated and an easy traveler. Cee is growing up, occupied with her iPad!

    Liked by 1 person

    August 10, 2015
    • Thank you! These kids, and this book, are definitely keeping me busy right now!

      Like

      August 17, 2015
  2. I find myself doing exactly the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    August 10, 2015
  3. Jennifer Wilson #

    Congrats on the book! I SO hear you on the wishful-thinking packing. I think I do it because it represents the part of myself that insists on maintaining its sovereignty despite all evidence to the contrary. Mine are newly 4 and 15 months. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    August 10, 2015
    • Yup, Jennifer, I think you’re right! I could probably get away with just packing one or two New Yorkers, but I would hate to be caught with a quiet moment without something good to read!

      Like

      August 17, 2015
  4. I have a 9 year old with asd and add and spd and five year old with GDD SPD and been trying to finish my book for last five years never happens . Well done you for managing it. Also well done on traveling so many mums will not do trips alone but I think it is good for are confidence to achieve such tasks

    Liked by 1 person

    August 10, 2015
    • The kids surprised me by being pretty easy travelers this time around, but still, it does require all of my attention!

      Keep plugging away on that book. I know how hard it is, but it is worth it!

      Like

      August 17, 2015
  5. Sev #

    We pack all this extra stuff, because we want to take care of ourselves. It makes me feel good, just knowing that I have them with me, even if I end up not using them 🙂

    Like

    August 11, 2015
    • So true, and that’s a nice way of looking at it. It’s good to keep this self-care in our sights, even if we can’t always pull it off.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 17, 2015
  6. I have a 10 month old and like you, I try to go for a run every now and again but never really make it out the door :). I’m glad to know I’m not alone! At least we try? Congrats on the book!

    Like

    August 11, 2015
  7. I’m always optimistic when packing too! Have to smile about that.

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    August 11, 2015
  8. So true! I recently came home from a trip with my bookmark in the same place it’s been for months.

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    August 12, 2015
    • Ha! I suppose this is one of the benefits of e-readers, but I still prefer physical books.

      Liked by 1 person

      August 17, 2015
  9. I love that line: I never accomplish as much as I set out to do…

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    August 15, 2015
  10. so beautifully written!

    Like

    August 30, 2015
  11. oh but imagine that one time when you do get a chance to go for a run or read a book and getting caught without those things…totally worth the trouble of packing and unpacking in my opinion.

    Like

    September 14, 2015

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