Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Division of Labor

Big Trees State Park, California, 2006

Disneyland, 2005
Summer is here, and that usually means summer traveling.

My husband and I, in our nearly 18 years of marriage have settled into distinct roles as we travel. I should add that a big part of what I take on in my role comes from living with and being close to my grandmother--who, as much as I love her, I have to admit was a little paranoid about the oddest things. This has affected how I prepare for a trip. I simply can't help it. I'm much more stressed if I DON'T do these things.

My Jobs when we travel:
  • wash all of the laundry in the house and coordinate wardrobes so that no matter what my boys put on, I know that they won't look like ragged children
  • create packing lists for the children and then double-check their suitcases
  • If we are traveling by car (and we usually are) I plan and pack food for meals and snacks, and I make sure everyone has a water bottle. I work to have "real food," not junk food. This also means I do all of the shopping for said food.
  • Help each child pack a car bag, with books, games, etc., to keep them occupied. This includes shopping for new things because new thinks catch their interest better. I also make sure everyone has working headphones.
  • Pack a technology bag for everything else--laptop, charger, cellphone charger, headphones, etc. Make sure we have any videocameras and/or tripods. Make sure the cameras are ready to go.
  • Pack a first-aid kit that will allow us to do anything except minor surgery. Pack any medicines the kids could need (mostly 'cause it never fails that someone will get sick in some way while we are gone and I hate buying the same medicines I already have at home, usually in bulk)
  • Pack sunscreen and insect repellant
  • Look over our destination and make sure we've checked out fun things for the kids to do online ahead of time so we can be prepared.
  • Clean the house as much as possible so we don't come home to a dirty house.
  • Make arrangements for the dog to be cared for.
  • Make arrangements for the fish to be cared for.
  • Stop the mail.
  • Make sure the bills get paid. (this just means checking in with my husband--he keeps our bills paid, I'm just his reminder.)
  • Make sure the kids have packed their toothbrushes and hairbrushes.
  • Pack a vacation essentials kit with shampoo, laundry products, kleenex, hand soap, etc.
  • Pack my clothes, taking extra care not to forget underwear or my swimsuit (as I have done in the past.)
  • Make sure the kids have packed their swim bags. Make sure everyone has a towel and goggles.
  • Make sure we have some kind of blanket for sitting on the ground, just in case
  • Pack a car kit for each section of the car in readiness for anyone's car sickness. Our kits include ziploc bags (to catch the obvious) and hand sanitizer, because a little dab of alcohol on the base of the nose can stave off nausea for about 45 minutes. Usually long enough for the car sickness to pass without any excitement.
  • Make sure we have any necessary phone numbers.
  • Make sure we have car chargers for at least one phone.
  • Make sure that there are car blankets in the car for each child (and me)
  • Pack videos and books on tape to listen to. Make sure we have good music selections that everyone likes.
  • Try to think of any possible contingency and have a plan in place for dealing with that contingency. (I kid you not--it's kind of a sickness I inherited from my paranoid grandmother...)
Joel's Jobs
  • use priceline or something else to get us cheap hotels
  • pay the bills
  • make sure the car is at peak performance--change the oil, change the tires, fill up the windshield washing spray
  • choose our route
  • pack his own bag (with the clean pile of clothes I've left for him)
  • Drive
I don't really mind that my list is so much longer than his. Like I've said, I can't help it. Plus he does 90% of the driving (he gets car sick) so I think in the end, our roles are pretty even. Plus, I like it that my husband appreciates all of my efforts and makes sure to tell me. That's nice to hear! Our division of labor might not work for everyone, but it works for us--and isn't that one of the things marriage is all about? One of my favorite definitions of a good partner in life was to choose someone who's "rocks fit your holes," meaning that the rocks in your partner's head fit the holes in your head. I feel like I have that with my husband.

Yellowstone National Park, 2008
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some things I need to do...


Janet said...

Good Luck on your trip!! I'm looking forward to seeing you. BTW, our travel roles are very similar to yours. It seems to work well for us too!

Mom said...

You write so well. I did the same things for you and your sibs. I remember a camping trip where Kimberly had no socks and it was cold!

cate said...

thank you for sharing... you reminded me to add "hair brushes" to my list, which looks very much like yours! have a great trip away!

Lisa said...

I do the same thing. It takes me a week to do laundry, clean the house, etc. before even leaving on vacation. Sounds like women think things through more than men do. My DH thinks he needs to just grab some clothes and stuff and he's done:)