Staying home with a blended family can be daunting. Travelling with several family members can be seriously bloodcurling! The packing and car rides, planes, and all that luggage. UGH! How do we do it Stepmoms? Well this is how our family does it:
1. I try to match all of our umpteen suitcases (yes we have several). Our last trip we had 12 in our party travelling on a plane. We love our matching luggage so it is easy to spot wherever you are. If you cannot match your luggage then buy ribbons that are the same and tie them around the handle so you can easily spot all of your pieces without getting mixed up with someone else (this has happened to us more recently hence the pink luggage). Make sure to pick a bright colour so you can spot your colour! And tie them in all the same spots on each luggage.
2. Diving inside the luggage now, I try and organize as much as possible to keep the questions like "where are all my underwear" to a minimum. I really like the packing cubes which can be easily bought off of Amazon (click the link for suggestions). The packing cubes make it simple to stuff all of the clothes in while remaining neat and allowing to fit nicely inside for optimal space. I tend to split up in different categories so choose what works for your family. I also bring an extra one for dirty clothes and put it on the top so it is the first to be pulled out. I also include on top the clothes we will be changing into so you are not hunting right away. It is turnkey for everyone and when you land everyone can sort themselves out (even my five and two year old).
3. Bring snacks wherever you go. I am huge on no chemicals and healthy (ish) snacks for our children. Depending on where you are travelling to, you may not always be able to find what you want. Use a packing cube for snacks and leave it in a central location for your family. If you are travelling to a remote area off the grid it can be really tough so if you can keep your kids on the same theme as home things tend to go smoothly, which brings me to my next point.
4. Schedule schedule schedule! As hard as it is sometimes with the time change do your best to keep your kids on the same schedule (especially if they are younger). Sleep debt doesn't help you as a family as it catches up quite quickly. Ensure your kids understand in advance that the bedtime schedule is x at home and will be y during travel. It can vary but have some sort of docket to to follow as the families united schedule is so important.
5. Go with the flow! Things can change from time to time and don't get worked up about it. Don't sweat the small stuff and just keep on going. Deal with whatever you have to after the holidays. Everyone will be looking at you as the Stepmom (or whoever the ring leader is), so if you are stressed the rest of the family will be too!
6. Cut off the exes (if toxic) and don't deal with them until you are back (unless there is an emergency). It is time for all of us to be happy (yes even them) and thankful over the holidays and we don't need anyone bringing us down. This is your time with your family so make the best of it!
Have a happy holidays and don't forget to breathe!
xo - Sarah