The Perils Of Packing For Your Children

Where is the reset button? I need to do a hard reset. Maybe a restore to factory settings or something.

Je suis fatigue. Ich bin mude. Estoy cansada. Ngikhathele. Sono stanco.

My boys are going to go to the desert for the weekend. I packed for them today. Wait, let’s start again.

Last week I caught a cold. And a cold in the time of corona means constantly worrying and testing and thinking “Is this COVID? No I’m ok… Wait maybe I’m not…” over and over in a loop. I didn’t see my extended family for a few days (cause who wants to get a cold) and I haven’t hugged my kids since last Thursday.

Now back to today. I was sure I would wake up feeling 100% and I was stuffy and not as bad as before (but still not 100%). I am not complaining, I am just describing. (I am a little complaining but know I shouldn’t be). The morning was beautiful because I had some beautiful and opinionated babies over and I sat on my comfy couch as they sat on the carpet and played and babbled and did generally adorable stuff.

Then I did some work, I worked out and then had a delicious lunch. All good so far. Except for the constant and unyielding questions being thrown at me by people. (People being my kids).

If there is anyone out there who has a background in psychology, could you please tell me what the condition is called when you cannot cope with teenagers asking you permission to do things while you are busy doing something else. Or way in advance of the event. Or too close to the event.

I really feel for them, my little teenagers. It’s like a game of Russian roulette when asking me if they can do anything. Sometimes I say no after I have said yes. Sometimes I say yes to something I have never said yes to. Most of the time I say ask me later and then get annoyed when they ask. This is not because I am mean. This is because I, like 99.9 % of you, have a lot more on my plate than I can chew. My cheeks are bulging.

Remember that woman who talked about life being like juggling balls but some are plastic and some are glass and we have to let the plastic ones drop sometimes. I think their plans are always plastic to me when. And I understand they are crystal to them but in the moment I just see these. (The link to that is at the bottom of this post. But don’t read it now read it after. It’s much better than this and I don’t want it to make me look bad just yet)

Photo by Cleyton Ewerton on

I used to think that the answer to this problem is to have hard rules about what they can and can’t do and when they can or can’t do it. And to have those rule be set in stone. But life is not set in stone, so that didn’t work. What is ok today may not be ok tomorrow (E.g. a football game with random people before COVID is not the same as after COVID). And what was not ok yesterday may be ok today. (E.g. going out mid week if they have been working really hard)

But I digress. Back to my day.

Quick reminder: I was being pelleted with questions, not feeling great and packing for the last minute trip for the kids.

Now came the time to pack.

I need to know if this is a universal thing that happens to mothers when they pack for their children, so please comment to let me know if I am alone in this or not.

When I pack for my kids I find out what is broken, forgotten, small, missing or very old. Socks that don’t fit the 3 year old still in the drawer of the 11 year old, sweat pants with holes in the knees, new shirts that are stuffed in the back somewhere that have never been worn. And there’s a running commentary in my head: where did all the vests go? I am positive they both had the same puffer jacket! How can it be lost? Why the hell do they wear the same things every day! When did this get so worn out?

It is a journey of how little I have been paying attention. Of how I neglected their clothes. (Swap clothes for needs? Essentials of living?) Over dramatic? Yes I know but it’s how I felt.

A journey of how I cannot get angry at anyone for losing whatever item of clothing cause I cannot honestly say when the last time I saw them wear it was. It is a journey of the parts of mothering I possibly suck at.

There are certain areas of life I regard as plastic balls until they suddenly turn to glass and I want to smash them because I’m angry at myself and of course at the world for changing the molecular structure of my ball. (Yes I heard it, no I am not going to rephrase it.)

Things were bough. Other things were handed down. Wardrobes were raided. Many, many things were tried on and they are going with more than what they need Alhamdililah. But not without casualties.

I yelled at Abdullah for yelling at Khaled when he wasn’t yelling at Khaled. I said yes to Al-Johara and then said no because I forgot I had said yes to something else meaning she would be out of the house all day. By the time I went to dinner at my mothers I was an absolute delight to have around. I spent the majority of it telling people off on the phone (exceptional company to have).

Please remember this. As mothers (fathers, CEO’s, managers, older siblings, head of families, person in charge of other people in any capacity) we are not only juggling our own balls but also the balls of everyone else who we take care of. So my reaction to your question may be short, irritated or irrational because you just tossed a ball at a woman already juggling too much.

Are you wondering what you can do to support your crazy juggler? Think really hard if the ball you are about to toss them is not one you can take care of yourself. Maybe even check if there are any others you can take off their hands when yours are free.

What can we (the crazy jugglers) do? We need to get our act together. I realize this. And we need to be honest about which ones are plastic and which ones are glass. We can’t keep getting angry at the people tossing us balls because they can’t see what we’re juggling. If it is a ball that they could take care of just toss it back and tell them you have full confidence in their ability.

Do you relate to this crazy juggler?

*Here’s the link.

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