I've Entered My Convenience Parenting Era
Plus, a disappearance in Arkansas
It was 6 p.m. one night, well into our month-long heatwave, when my husband came home to find me sitting on top of a half-zipped suitcase, panting and soaked in sweat. “We have to check a second bag,” I nearly cried after spending the last couple of hours packing and re-packing and packing our suitcase again. “Toddlers just have so much shit.”
And let me tell you, reader, they do. PJs and diapers and wipes and bottles. Baby silverware and no-spill sippy cups. Snacks and more snacks. Travel monitors. A favorite book and stuffed animal. And at least one backup outfit per day away to ensure against spills, pukes, and poops. Our largest monster-sized rolling bag was too small to hold my son’s stuff and mine—and my husband hadn’t even started trying to get his clothes in yet.
So even after years, decades really, of traveling frugally—no seat upgrades, everything in a backpack carry-on (so what if it means having to wear six layers), and never, ever even think about opening a bottle from the hotel mini-bar—I accepted that we would need to check two bags and a car seat on our upcoming trip to the beach.
Having made the decision, I immediately felt a wave of relief. So what if I needed to fork over another $30 to make our trip a bit easier? I’m lucky enough to be at a place in my life where $30 won’t break the bank like it may have in my early 20s. So why, I found myself wondering, did I waste literal hours trying to force a suitcase shut in 95-degree weather?
Never again. That one little decision has started a new chapter for me. It’s now my convenience-parenting era. Everything is about 50 times harder with a little kid tagging along (and yes, 50 times more wonderful, too), so if a few bucks can buy me a little peace of mind and I have enough to spare, you bet I’m going to fork it over. Who knows. I may even splurge on an overpriced airport beer after I check my bags.
I forgot to take a packing pic, so here’s me with one of our Polish chickens
What I’m reading
How an Amateur Diver Became a True-Crime Sensation: As the founder of Adventures with Purpose, Jared Leisek carved a lucrative niche in the YouTube sleuthing community. Then the sleuths came for him, Rachel Monroe writes.
The official conclusions did not dissuade everyone. Robertson said that family members continue to receive “harassing,” “humiliating” phone calls from people who believed they had a role in her death. He quit social media, changed his e-mail address, and stopped answering the phone at the family business, a rustic lodge. The family ended up closing the lodge and moving elsewhere. Ryan Upchurch, a comedian and country rapper with more than three million YouTube followers, has been a particularly persistent conspiracist, insisting variously that Rodni’s family had faked her disappearance, and that she wasn’t even real. On Facebook, A.W.P. acknowledged the official findings, but its “MURDER or ACCIDENT” video is still up on YouTube. It does not mention that Rodni’s death has been ruled an accident. “Definitely smells like a conspiracy,” a recent commenter wrote. Leisek told me that he stands by A.W.P.’s handling of the case. “I still feel it’s foul play,” he said.
Who Walks Always Beside You? A disappearance in Arkansas.
Twenty-two years ago, a six-year-old girl—my cousin—got lost in the Arkansas Ozarks, prompting what was at the time the largest search and rescue mission in the state’s history. Her disappearance would eventually connect my family to another story, a dark and bizarre one involving kidnapping, brainwashing, murder, and a cult that believed in the imminent end of the world, laced with the kind of eerie coincidences or near-coincidences that cause perfectly rational people to question what they think they know about reality.
How Sasha DiGiulian Stays Grounded: DiGiulian just wrote her memoir while running her own business, making movies, and chasing tough climbs. Here's how she balances it all.
With women it’s like, she’s cheating—she’s just not strong enough. I was criticized for my weight as a teenage climber. And the most hurtful criticism exposes your deepest demons, like someone calling you fat when that’s your actual fear. I do a lot of work around being healthy, but I still have my moments. When I took time off from climbing, I lost a lot of muscle and started having boobs for the first time. I found myself fighting a lot of negativity, wanting to stay that high-achieving prepubescent girl. Letting go of that past, when so much of it shaped who I am, is difficult. But I’m creating a new identity based on who I am now.
Do You Suffer From Vacation Anxiety? Even those with unlimited PTO are afraid to take time off.
If your chest tightens at the mere thought of asking for a day off, if you’ve considered bailing on a trip to meet a deadline, or laid in a hammock while worrying about your inbox, then you’ve experienced vacation anxiety. The symptoms are clear, even if the source of the stress can be hard to pin down. You might fear a boss who plows through your out-of-office message with “urgent requests;” after all, vacation anxiety does not emerge out of a void. The United States is the only developed country without guaranteed paid time off, and no amount of work-life-balance-peddling CEOs makes up for the fact that a quarter of American workers don’t get any paid vacation. Is it any surprise that almost half of those lucky enough to have PTO take less time off than they’re entitled to, and that while out of office, the majority of Americans still work?
Last but least
May you enjoy your weekend as much as my son enjoys peaches.