When being a prepared parent slips into obsession

Being prepared: when others think it's mess but you think you're prepared.
Being prepared: when others think it's mess but you think you're prepared. Photo: Getty

I've always felt an allegiance to the Scouts. Not because of my wonderful outdoor skills, or my ability to tie weirdly-named knots in things.

Rather, I'm a big fan of anything that sings the praises of Being Prepared.

I love that motto. It pretty much sums up my life.

The problem is, while I think of myself as Being Prepared, other people sometimes misinterpret my forward thinking as being disorganised.

For instance, I like to keep my car Prepared. For this reason, I like to keep spare clothes in it. Not just for me, but for my three kids too.

I only pop in the usual stuff. A spare jumper for me, spare tops and leggings for the girls, spare t-shirts and shorts for my son. Nothing excessive.

I also like to keep sunscreen in the car, which makes a lot of sense. Plus, I keep spare sunnies, a mini first-aid kit, coins in the glovebox, a box of tissues, an umbrella and a few plastic bags (they're just plain handy to have).

Whenever my husband drives (we share the car), he always complains about the 'mess'.

"But it's not mess!" I exclaim. "I'm just really, really Prepared!"


He rolls his eyes at me. I must admit that, if I squint and look at the right angle, I can kind of see his point.

"It does look like a mess," I concede. "But it's actually in keeping with my motto to always Be Prepared."

We recently moved houses and one of the downfalls of the new place is that it's about ten minutes further from the supermarket. Well, didn't that send me into a tizzy?

Naturally, I raced out to supermarket and started buying up bulk. Lots of spare toilet paper, tissues, pasta, deodorant; all the non-perishables. My need to always Be Prepared was going wild.

It wasn't until I got home that I realised I'd made a slight error of judgement. So I messaged my husband.

'I have some good news. If the zombie apocalypse is coming, we will be well equipped after what I just spent at the supermarket. In totally unrelated news, I forgot to buy something to make for dinner.'

While we laughed at my foibles, I know that sometimes my need to Be Prepared gets too much for him. So, the other day, he staged an intervention.

"Sweetie," he said gently. "I have to tell you something. I cleaned out the car."

As he said this, he pointed towards a pile of – what's the word for it? – mess. Yes, mess. It was all the stuff he had gathered from the car and placed on the floor for me to see.

There were clothes in a ragged heap, tissues strewn throughout and water bottles thrown in for good measure. Ugh.

I was grateful for the intervention, I must say. The car felt so much roomier and luxurious to drive afterwards.

All was good until I needed spare clothes for my daughter. I went to pick up a top for her from its usual spot in the car and realised, with horror, that it was no longer there.

So I realised it was time for me to restock the car. I threw in some clothes, sunscreen, sunnies, first-aid kit, coins, tissues, an umbrella and some plastic bags. You know, the essentials.

Once the car was 'stocked' again, I felt much better. I'm pretty sure my husband will too when he sees it. After all, it's better to Be Prepared.

Do you like Being Prepared as a parent?

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