These days my kids are older and I relish the fact that we can just pick up and go. I don’t need 3 days’ supply of fruit puffs, a change of clothes, and a backup change of clothes just to walk around the block. However, I have come up empty on a few emergency supplies lately and I’m thinking I need to pack a different kind of bag for this newer stage of parenting.
Just like the diaper bag rules you’ve likely forgotten at this point, if you use something, replace it immediately. Murphy is watching out for that sort of rookie slip up and it’s the surest way to get yourself in trouble.
The Parenting Survival Kit
Extra cash in small billsMy son lost two teeth recently and both times I found myself scrambling for money to pay the tooth fairy. I may or may not have told him that the tooth fairy wouldn’t come if she caught him being mean to his brother. It bought me some time, but I may have extra therapy to pay for in the future! This extra cash will also come in handy when you have a field trip sprung on you at the last minute. My youngest son’s day care has been having fun with all sorts of walking field trips this summer and each time they only ask for a dollar or two. Sure, I could write a check, but that’s a tad embarrassing. Plus it’s a hassle for the teachers.
White t-shirts in appropriate sizesEach camp my kids have been to this summer have had all kind of pre-registration paperwork to fill out. Then I pick my kids up the first day of camp and get a notice about bringing a shirt to decorate the next day. #1, who has time to go out after work and buy white t-shirts in all these sizes. #2, even when I have had time, every other parent in town is doing the same thing. There are no more white t-shirts left!!
Family photosIt usually hits around the first week or two of school. The teacher sends home a note about some “getting to know you” project the kids will be doing and the kid needs to bring in a picture of himself/family/summer vacation/etc. I take lots of pictures of my kids, but I don’t ever print them! Unless you want the framed 8x10 glossy that’s hanging on the wall, and on second thought, I don’t want you gluing that to a paper bag!
A Pack of GumWe had a rule in my house that you couldn’t chew gum until you were five. My kids obeyed that rule like the Gospel! Now it’s nice to have around, especially on long car trips. We have inner ear issues in the family, so the kids like to chew gum to help equalize the pressure in their ears. Gum also helps to keep them quiet; if they’re chewing they aren’t fighting with each other or asking “are we there yet?”
“Personal” ItemsYou’ll want to be prepared for the changes in your kids that sneak up on you. Don’t be like me and spend three days wondering what that smell is! It’s your kid and puberty has reared its ugly head. At this point in parenting, it’s a good idea to have some deodorant readily available just in case. Add a razor and some acne cream too. You might also want some panty liners or thin pads if you’re a girl mom.
Cupcake/Cookie MixEvery parent’s worst nightmare! The dreaded bedtime request for cupcakes or cookies at school the next day. If I keep a box of cupcake or brownie mix stashed away, I might have time to get them made by morning, but there’s no way I’m going out after bedtime to buy ingredients at the grocery store! Bonus points if you can find a mix that tastes good and only requires you to add water, because we all know these requests only come in the day after you run out of eggs.
Gift Cards/Stationery/Birthday GiftsSomehow birthdays and other occasions seem to sneak up on me. I often find myself wishing for a nice gift certificate and birthday card that I can just sign a little note on and check it off my list. Besides, there’s only so many times I feel like repeating, “We’re only here to buy a present for Sally; NOTHING ELSE” before it loses its luster (amid the $100 worth of other stuff we had to get at Target)! What I wouldn’t give for a few generic gifts suitable for a boy or a girl ages 5-15 just laying around the house!
A trashy book and a bottle of wineIf all else fails and you don’t get any of these other items stashed away before you need them, at least find a good hiding space for a book with a shirtless guy on the cover and a bottle of wine. You’ll need them after you scramble to take care of one of these other emergencies!
What's in your parenting survival kit? Did I forget anything? Please let me know before I have to break out this book and a wine glass!