Packing up and preparing for your trip is not the same for any two people. For parents there is an entirely different process than for anyone else (some crying included), and I was reminded of that last night and wanted to share my steps in this process.
1. Tap all your people a couple of days before you leave: I am fortunate to have a group of folks involved in parenting with me. I don't do this alone by any means; there are parents, guardians, cousins/play cousins and grandparents in the mix (love my village). So, I am usually relying on one or more of these folks to stand in when I have to be away. I ask the favor with plenty of advance notice because it just makes sense. But I also know full well that some people don't pay attention to their commitments until a few days before. I am guilty of this as well and have to be reminded of plans a day or two before if I am going to actually make it. So I remind my people of my plans and what they agreed to do, so that if we need to make any alterations or adjustments, we can do so then. And don't be scared to give a tissue to any parent or person with whom you co-parent who may cry when expected to do more than what they are used to. We've no time for whiny grown folks. Hand him/her a Kleenex, and keep it moving.
2. Provide contact information: In addition to my phone number, anyone responsible for children in my absence has a traveling companion's number and a backup person's number as well. If I am staying in a hotel, I give them the hotel's information also.
3. Crystals, reiki, prayers: I realize this isn't for everyone, but my fellow praying mamas and papas can feel me. As someone who uses crystals and recognizes how energy works, there are certain stones I always travel with and Amber (not me, the crystal) is one of them. It is a protective stone for children and also excellent for traveling grace (for my folks who pray before they roll out). So I keep a piece with me at all times, and when my children will be away for me for extended periods, I put a piece in their luggage or they may have a piece of jewelry they wear featuring that stone. Black obsidian ain't too shabby either in this respect. And smudge everyone (including yourself) the night before you leave for good measure.
4. Give assignments: Balancing screen time is always a struggle for us, so before I leave, I buy a new book per child that can be read for the duration. For you, the assignment may be that they wash dishes everyday or mow the grass or some other project they can help with while you're away, and they are with someone else. I expect a report about the book they read with questions asked and answered. Tat way I can be sure they actually read it, and that they get something done other than advancing to the next level of whatever game they are on. This is a series my boys are currently into.
5. Last but not least: Let Go--Once your stuff is packed, everything is shaved, and you've checked in online for your flight, there is nothing left to do but let go and follow these three R's:
Realize that you cannot control things that are out of your control.
Release worry, stress, and the need to manage every detail, and let your Higher Power handle the rest.
Remember that the most important part of this equation is YOU, and being healthy and whole and free is what your kids need most from you.
If you ready, say you ready. And let's get this show on the road!