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The Many Lists of a Mom

I am starting to pack for our family’s first flight back home to St. Louis together since we moved to New England in May. Yippee! We are going back for my baby sister’s wedding…and all four of us are IN the wedding…so there are all kinds of important things (like our wedding outfits and accessories) that it would be really, really terrible if I forgot to pack. There’s no just “running home to grab,” say, an irreplaceable bridesmaid dress. Talk about pressure.

The many lists of a mom

As with every trip we take, I will pack everything for myself and the kids, making special note of what we will need to entertain everyone on the plane ride…including books, toys, snacks, pull-ups, wet wipes, and the empty cup to fill with newly purchased milk once we are past airport security. My dear husband (God love him) will throw some clothes in a bag the morning that we leave, and he’ll be good to go. Packing is so easy for him. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be a man and just be able to “assume” that everything that could possibly be needed for an extended trip away from home will just magically appear in the kids’ bags. Sigh.

As I’ve been making this packing list, I couldn’t help but think of all the other ongoing lists that are constantly running through a mom’s mind. I’m quite sure that my husband has never thought of most of these things…nor does he have any idea that I spend MY time thinking about them.

Even when I was a working mom putting in twelve hours at the office, I still always kept a running “mental” list about things like:

  • How much milk is in the house, and when I need to buy more
  • How many diapers/ pull-ups are in the house
  • How much toilet paper, toothpaste, and pretty much every other toiletry we use is in the house (Kyle does buy his own hair gel and shaving gel)
  • What papers need to be signed and sent back to Anna’s school, along with any other school-related actions that need to be taken
  • What we’re getting the kids for Christmas
  • What we’re getting everyone else for Christmas
  • When we need to buy the kids new clothes, shoes, coats, or pretty much anything else
  • How and when the kids’ birthdays will be celebrated, and what we’re getting them
  • When someone else will need a birthday card/present
  • What preparations need to be made for Halloween, Easter, or any other holiday
  • When laundry needs to be washed, dried, folded, and put away again and again and again and again (sometimes I think that Kyle really believes that the laundry does itself)…

The lists just don’t stop, do they? Am I the only mom who does this, or are you with me on this one?

In my wonderful husband’s defense, he is currently our sole provider, he handles ALL the family’s finances, and he is the primary roller-of-the-trash-cans to the curb. He also does the majority of the yard work, is an absolute equal parenting partner when he is at home, and does most of the cooking around here. He is a super achieving husband as far as I’m concerned, so I’m not trying to call him a slacker in any way.

It’s more that I’m just amazed sometimes by all of the “stuff” that we Moms have to keep in our minds, in order to keep our households running smoothly. I think that most of the time, we manage to make it all work so well that it looks almost effortless to everyone around us. But it’s not. It’s a lot of work. I know it and you know it. I think we all deserve a giant pat on the back. Consider yourself patted.
Kate is a contributing writer for Mommy Moment. Kate is the proud mom of Anna and Kellen, two preschoolers who are starting to pick up all of her best habits: a passion for reading and exploring new places, an intense interest in organizing, and a total disregard for sleep. See what she has been up to over at


Wednesday 6th of October 2010

I just found your site via twitter and I love it :) ... great content! I am a huge list person myself and I use 4virtu for my lists and then text them to myself - that way I am on the go with everything I need! Keep up the good work and I look forward to checking back!


Wednesday 6th of October 2010

As a Mommy, I live and die by my lists! If I didn't make lists I would get nothing done!

As for packing, we just got back from a trip and I can totally relate! I packed my husband's and my suitcase...he had set a few things aside, but mostly I just had to guess what he needed since he was already at work and we were leaving directly after he got off. Plus, of course I had to pack for my two kids! Sometimes I wonder with all the lists of things I need to pack for everyone how we ever end up getting to our desination with what we need!

Nicole Feliciano

Monday 4th of October 2010

Oh the useless (?) lists that I have running in my head. It's amazing how much space moms use to store the information that makes a family run smoothly.


Friday 1st of October 2010

Thank you! I'm so glad that you can relate. :)

The Brandt Family

Thursday 30th of September 2010

Oh Kate, I am a major list person! My husband jokes that I have at least 3 lists going at any one point in time.

I laughed when I read about you packing for you and the kids and your husband throwing a few things in a bag and hoping that what he needs will end up in the kids' bags - so true on our end too!

My husband too does most of the cooking and is more than happy to help out all the time with the kids! But I do agree that moms just have different things to worry about.

Great post Kate :)