• Tue, Nov 27 2012

I’ll Be Packing For A Family Of 7 And A Nanny Come December

Thanksgiving is over, and it’s starting to snow (at least where I am. Sigh.) So now it’s time to start thinking about Christmas vacation. The countdown has begun.

Every year, I take my daughter away somewhere warm for a week. Last year was the very first time our new entire blended family went away on a beach vacation. This included me and my daughter, plus my fiancé and his two girls. It was a lot of fun and actually really relaxing. The three girls, aged nine, 11 and 13, pretty much spent their entire days running around the resort and most of the time, aside from meals, my fiancé and I barely saw them. We booked two adjoining rooms, because quite frankly, there was NO way I was going to share a room with all of us. I’m still traumatized by traveling with my family as a child and having to share a hotel room with SIX of us. I shared a bed with my mother. My dad shared a bed with one of my brothers and my other two brothers slept in sleeping bags on the floor.

This year for Christmas vacation we booked a villa (For all those with big families who think booking two hotel rooms is too much, I HIGHLY suggest looking into villas because you can rent one for a week for a quarter of the price of staying at a hotel.) In any case, I’m not bragging about the vacation. In fact, I’m slightly mortified about going on this vacation.

When I used to go on vacations with my daughter’s father and my daughter, or just my daughter, we’d pack only two suitcases. Her dad would have one. And my daughter and I would share another. If it was just my daughter and I, we’d share one suitcase. (Bonus about kids? Their clothes are small!) Her father and I would look at big families traveling with their carts loaded with 12 suitcases and think, “Thank GOD that is not us! Could you imagine? It looks like they are moving for good and not just going to the Bahamas for a week.” Ah, karma. Now I’m the one who will be THAT person with a cart (or two) traveling with suitcases stacked to the point of falling over.

This trip, we have seven people going. Me and my fiancé, our three daughters, our newborn son, and the nanny. That means seven suitcases – one for everyone – along with a stroller, a car seat, tons of formula (which means maybe an extra suitcase.) I’m thinking I’ll just yell out, “Everyone grab a suitcase and pack yourself!” I’m wondering if we even HAVE eight suitcases. I’m now ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE (which I NEVER imagined I’d be.) The person around which everyone is whispering, “Can you imagine having a family that large? And all that packing?”

Not only will we definitely need two carts to load the suitcases, we’ll also need two cars to take us to the airport and back home. There’s no way we could fit seven, possibly eight, suitcases with seven people into one car. I have a friend with three kids who travels with her nanny and they hire two drivers. One driver to take the people, and one driver to take the luggage. I have to admit, it IS sort of embarrassing. I really will pity the people behind us in line to check in, not to mention security, because ALL of us have laptops, iPads, phones, and the whole shebang.

I have a feeling we’re going to have to leave to the airport about seven HOURS in advance just to get everyone organized for our four-hour plane ride. And, yes, we saved a lot of money by renting a villa, but think about it. We needed six plane tickets, which is costly to say the least. Still I know it will be fun, once we get there as well as the luggage. I can’t say it will be fun, however, for the person who is sitting next to, or in the same isle as my newborn. That’s the other thing about traveling with so many people. The airline, of course, can’t guarantee that we will all be sitting together. Again, pity the people on the plane, who will have to deal with all of us getting up and rearranging seats. Oh well. What can I say? I’m ONE OF THOSE people now. So sorry.

(photo: Inara Prusakova/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • chickadee

    Oh dear. You’re back to the old template.

    1. Write an article about doing something that many parents can’t afford to do, whether in time or money.
    2. Mention that you have a nanny that you can bring on vacation with you, freeing you from parenting on vacation unless voluntarily.
    3. Complain about something minor associated with the trip that makes you look as though you don’t know enough to count your blessings.
    4. Mention the numerous expensive electronics owned by all of the children.

    • Sara

      I know. I was really enjoying the new Eckler. Her last few articles have been so down-to-earth and even INTERESTING.
      For the record, I have no problem with people who bring nannies on vacation. I just don’t understand why you would choose to do a big family vacation with a newborn in tow, necessitating a nanny because you don’t feel comfortable without one, and then complain about it. If it’s that much of an inconvenience, then go someplace closer or don’t bring as much stuff.

    • chickadee

      Exactly! Have a nanny! Just don’t bitch about how inconvenienced you are and expect sympathy….

    • rebecca eckler

      no sympathy. sorry if you didn’t like this post. more to come!

    • Scarlette

      Woopteedoo.

    • rebecca eckler

      Actually, my nanny is SUPER excited to go. She hasn’t been on a vacation before. Secondly, do you have FOUR children, including a newborn? Third, this was about packing. You are reading way too much into this.

    • chickadee

      That’s fabulous for her. We have four children and no newborn. Your article insufficiently addressed the issue of packing and focused more on how much money you would be spending…and why can’t the children pack for themselves?

    • M

      Well, she won’t be on vacation she will be working.

    • rebecca eckler

      no, she does get a lot of time of, and, quite frankly, she is part of our family now and we treat her as such.

    • M

      It’s great that you have that dynamic, and that she is looking forward to it, but it still won’t be the same as a proper vacation where she chooses the location, who accompanies her and when she gets to go.

      Ultimately, this article comes across as you whinging about problems that most people could only dream about having. So hopefully you will be thankful for all the good things and opportunities you can provide for your family, rather than focus on the fact that people don’t relate to you or enjoy the article.

    • quinn

      Eckler, you’re an interesting lady. I enjoy your articles for the most part; you seem to speak for a very small percentage of the population who is in a certain financial situation, one that I am fortunate enough to find myself in (meaning I don’t have to worry about money and am SO VERY lucky to be able to easily attain most of the luxuries I would ever want, although one would never guess that when meeting me, or even knowing me for many years. I feel tacky even talking about it at all). So I somewhat “get” what you’re saying,even though I don’t employ help of any kind, I could, and my life would be easier for it. Most of my friends do, but they don’t talk about it either. I’m sure you aren’t naive to the fact that some find you off-putting, and I am awed at your brazeness at times, but do you write articles to incite or to express? Either way I think you should respond to people’s comments more. You usually don’t, but you did on this article, and it brought out more dimension in your writing and humanized you. Unless that’s not what you’re going for, in which case, brag it up!!

    • rebecca eckler

      Ha! Of course I know it’s off-putting to some, but that’s not my intention ever. The difference between me and you and your friends, or for many, is that I’m a writer. I write what I know. I don’t actually TALK about all this, but I do write about it. It is my job/career. Of course, to a certain extent, I write to express, only to start a discussion. This one, however off-putting, was really supposed to be about how my life has changed with a big family now and how packing and organizing is obviously more difficult. Thank you for your comment.

    • chickadee

      One of the reasons why your writing is off-putting for me is because you sound clueless and ignorant, particularly about social interaction and conversation with people who aren’t your friends. Writing should engender conversations about universal issues or problems, but you don’t seem to be able to move from the strictly personal to….anywhere at all.

    • rebecca eckler

      so don’t read me. Read the Washington Post. I do!

    • chickadee

      Thank you for the suggestion…I prefer the New York Times. I have read reviews of your books, and it seems that your approach to writing is very self-oriented. That’s the easy way to write, and it’s the method favored by most first-year college students. By the time they graduate, though, they usually have a more mature approach to composition.

    • Sara

      The reason you feel tacky for talking about your money is that it IS tacky. I grew up in a relatively wealthy home and know a lot of wealthy people, both those whose families have had money for a long time and those who became wealthy only recently. Those who grew up having money, so to them it’s not a big deal, generally understand that conspicuous consumption is tacky and so is talking about what you have, what you bought, what your children have, etc.

      Also, families that have money for a long time generally have it because they DON’T blow it on every little luxury and impulse buy. Rather, they save for retirement, invest in their children’s educations, and give freely to charity (but don’t make a big deal about how much they give). They spend money on the things that are truly important to them, but they make spending choices carefully. In my experience, those who are constantly buying the newest gadget, upgrading to bigger/better houses and buying the fanciest clothes and newest cars aren’t truly wealthy at all–they’re often living far beyond their means and drowning in debt.

    • rebecca eckler

      No drowning in any debt. Trust, I SAVE!! I am quite money savvy.

    • Sara

      Oh, I wasn’t talking about you. I wouldn’t presume to know your financial situation, therefore I wouldn’t comment on it.

    • Sara

      Oh, I wasn’t talking about you. I wouldn’t presume to know your financial situation, therefore I wouldn’t comment on it.

    • guest

      I did vacation with four kids, including a newborn (the other three were 1,3 and 8.) No nanny. Helpful husband, though. I did all the packing and we were all able to fit into one vehicle, no second driver needed…not that we own a second vehicle. Or ipads, or even cell phones. Yet my kids behaved themselves, whether it was a 2 hour drive to the beach for a week, or a two day trip across the country. And I never thought to brag about this. I just figured that’s what a family vacation was like…

  • BrittLittle

    Couldn’t agree more on the villa! They really are economical and more spacious than hotel rooms. One nitpick about the article title: Would it be “family of 7 including the nanny” or “family of 6 and the nanny”. Although I know that packing all the gear for a baby does seem enough for another person…

  • Liz

    Life sure is rough. I simply can’t imagine the stress of packing 7 whole suitcases! And OMG 7 hours ahead of time and two cars?! And what a “traumatic” childhood experience ! You are so brave to talk about it. Your family shared a room on vacation? That’s terrible. Yeah right, get some perspective. How anyone could complain so much about a resort vacation is beyond comprehension.

  • Katia

    I’m just wondering if English is not your first language. It’s either that or you just use Siri to “write” these things without so much as a once over. Also all the money talk makes me
    Wonder if you come from a lower class background and actually just don’t realize that it sounds weird to constantly ‘name drop’ your expensive purchases… It almost seems like you just can’t believe you actually have a nanny or a German car or iPads

  • Blueathena623

    My sister in law has two kids (ages 7 and 5) and 4 foster kids (ages 3, 2, 1, and an infant). She, plus the kids, plus her husband have gone on multiple trips, with no nanny. She manges — I think you’ll survive.

  • Kelsey

    Oh no poor you! You have to pack sooo many suitcases with all of your nice things to go to your villa for Christmas. Oh no you have to go through security with all of your expensive electronics. Oh don’t forget that suitcase for formula, I’m sure nursing would tie up your busy schedule of pedicures and leaving your kid with a nanny. Man your life is hard. Please lady you were one of THOSE PEOPLE from the beginning. If by those people you mean those isolated from the real world full of poor me first world problems. It’s outrageous you expect people to listen to your whiny self serving crap, and beyond that feel sorry for you.

  • Scarlette

    All I got from this article was nouveau riche & money can’t by class. So sorry.