How to pack for a holiday with toddlers

  1. Write Packing List
  2. Divide list into sub-lists
  3. Compile List of Lists
  4. Lose them all. NB baby probably shredded them for ‘sensory play’
  5. F*ck it, download packing list off Internet from someone who knows what they’re doing – all parenting sites have one
  6. Panic and feel intimidated by expert list. Freestyle it
  7. Dig out suitcase from loft. (Clue: it’s right at the back, filled with all those outgrown kids clothes you promised you’d eBay when you had time. *Snort!*)
  8. Start laundering clothes and folding piles a week in advance
  9. Launder again when cat uses them to fashion a nest and covers them with moulting hair
  10. Launder again after a post-bath nappy-free break-for-freedom by baby
  11. Launder again after 3 year old uses them to bury dog. In the garden. ‘For hide and seek, mummy.’ 
  12. You know what? Sod the laundry. Er, hello! They’ll have a washing machine where you’re going. You’re not doing anything crazy like going off-piste with kids, are you? Yes? Sh*t yourself now and be done with it
  13. Attempt to pack clothes into case faster than baby takes them out
  14. Give up and pull funny faces with pants on your head. Needs must
  15. Resume packing when kids have gone to bed, including your bikini, a good book and the stack of magazines you never get time to read at home, just cos you can. Yeah baby, relax it up! This is a holiday!
  16. Feel a bit sick when you suddenly realise there’s no nursery, kids club or babysitters where you’re headed
  17. Unpack magazines. And your dreams
  18. Brace yourself for the toys edit – just a few choice favourites. This holiday is about family time and simple pleasures
  19. And a fully-loaded iPad
  20. Reorganise the case like it’s Krypton Factor for kids. WTF are Trunkies rigid? What gives, people? Parents need forgiving fibres 
  21. Pack car with carseats, scooter, buggy, sling, monitor, pool inflatables, travel cot and high chair. Oh, and the huge Octopod 3 year old will NOT leave home without 
  22. Realise you’ve packed an essential and urgently-needed item* right at the bottom. (*the 3 year old will howl till he gets it, discard it, then deny all knowledge immediately afterwards.)
  23. Have a word with yourself. Unpack car. Regroup and repeat step 21
  24. Hyperventilate and consider auto-asphyxiation when you realise there’s still no room for the kids.
  25. Shut car doors and wind up windows so nobody can hear you scream
  26. Foot to floor. Speed. To. Spa
Happy holidays!

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