There has been some speculation about the origins of the title, Neurotic Disney Mom. While not certain, it could be argued that the term was born out of a noticeable change in the behavior of maternal Disneyphiles the week before a Disney vacation. The members of a NDM’s family often consider her heightened sense of neurosis during this time to be irrational. Thrown into the mysterious category of conditions caused by lunar pulls and pre-menstrual cycles, vacation partners believe that the sudden onset of strange patterns emerging from a NDM are an inexplicable biochemical reaction that results from the anticipated return to her homeland.
As I put the last box in the mini-van, I think of my homecoming in one short week and am relieved. The van is completely packed. It only awaits the passage of seven days and the occupation of my loved ones.
DH comes home from work and goes to our bedroom. It is his custom to exchange his suit and tie for more comfortable clothes first thing after arriving. “HONEY,” I hear him yell from the confines of our intimate quarters. I walk to our room to answer the call. Upon entering, I find a half-dressed DH that looks perplexed. He questions, “Where is all of my underwear?” “Oh,” I reply, “you know that for a couple weeks I have been packing everyone’s suitcases for our trip. Today I packed yours.” “Well, where is it,” DH inquires, “I need to unpack it so that I can have some clean underwear tomorrow.” “You can’t have it,” I answer matter-of-factly, “It’s already packed in the van and underneath everything else.” DH looks stunned. “Why did you pack the van? We aren’t leaving for another week!”
While the answer seems obvious to me, DH is dumb-founded. Packing at least a week before departure is a basic principle of The Disney Driven Life. The reason is not complex. NDMs are under an immense amount of pressure to ensure that the Disney family vacation is a perfect one; therefore, they must be certain that every detail of the upcoming trip has been covered. The vast importance of this cannot be overemphasized, and diligent preparation is required. When done properly, the NDM completes all her packing tasks early and allows herself time to double-check, triple-check and quadruple-check all that has been done. In the event something has been overlooked, it is certain to be exposed during this time of waiting and checking, and disaster will be averted.
Were the vacation of less importance such as a stay in Hawaii, a cross-country road trip to the Grand Canyon or even a tour of the European continent, there would not be such a need for the NDMs excessive attention. The details are just not as critical for these inferior destinations. In the case of Walt Disney World, though, it is paramount to have every “heigh-ho” sung before making the trek to the diamond mine.
People that do not passionately love Disney do not understand that serious childhood trauma can occur from a Disney trip gone awry. I, myself, have lived through the repercussions of such a tragedy. It was a very difficult event in my life, and–to this day–I am not sure that I have completely forgiven the portion of my family that scarred me with their haphazard approach on that particular Disney visit. Being a NDM, I will not permit such an experience to happen to my own little dwarves. All Disney trips with my clan will be absolute Disney bliss; therefore, plan, prepare and pre-pack I must.
I try to relay this logic to DH, but he looks at me as if Mickey Mouse ears have sprouted from the top of my head. He asks with frustration, “What am I supposed to do if I have no clean underwear for the week?” “Can’t you just go without for a little bit,” I propose, “DS5 has been going ‘commando’ for a couple days now. He seems to be quite enjoying it.” By the look on DH’s face, you would think that I had now grown a tail in addition to ears. “Ummm . . . . the answer to that would be no,” he states unamused. “Well, even if I do the laundry right this minute, you still won’t have enough underwear to get you through the week. You are just going to have to hang loose for a while.”
DH narrows his eyes, puts on his pants and begins to walk towards the exit of our room. Since NDMs have a sixth sense that warns them of a potential Disney sabotage, I intuitively know he means to unload the mini-van and get the desired unmentionables. “NOOOOO,” I scream and throw my mousy 5′2″ frame in front of the door. “You can’t do it,” I cry, “I’ve worked so hard! It’s all done! All my labor . . . . it’s for the best! Our vacation depends on it! Don’t do it! You can’t do this to the children and me!”
DH stands still and stares at me. Apparently I have begun to speak “Mouse”, and he does not understand a word. “You are being ridiculous,” he declares. His stubbornness reduces me to tears. In spite of my emphatic display of drama, DH refuses to see the importance of my message. He makes me move aside, but when he walks past I’m overcome with desperation. Such dire circumstances call for dire action. I throw myself around one of DH’s ankles, impeding his progress. “Wait! Wait,” I plead in between sobs. “What are you doing,” DH implores in a bewildered tone. “I have an idea,” I gasp. As if my life depends on it, I suggest, “We can make a trip to Walmart tonight and buy you some more underwear. We can even buy some more for DS5. Please, please don’t unpack the van!” Completely exasperated, DH sighs, “Fine. I don’t know what has gotten into you, but . . . . whatever!”
I immediately perk up. My quick thinking has saved the integrity of our trip. I rush to the bathroom, wipe away my running mascara and take deep breaths in the hope that my blotchy face will resume its normal complexion. Quickly I gather DD7, DS5 and DD2 and hurry them to our vehicle. It is tricky lifting them over the stacks of boxes piled in between the seats, but I manage it without complaint. The important thing is to have the kids buckled and ready to go before DH approaches. This way he will not be further exasperated and insist on unpacking the van.
Once we pull out of the driveway, there is silence in our group. The only noise is the gentle jostling of luggage that is piled high enough to cover the rear window. It is uncomfortable and awkward, but I reason that DH has to adjust to this important step in leading The Disney Driven Life. Ultimately, this is for his good.
The errand is accomplished. Both DS5 and DH seem pleased with the fresh packages of boxer briefs they have acquired. We are half way home. The sound of jostling luggage still provides background noise for our vehicle. DH says, “Honey, did you pack our toothbrushes as well?” I purse my lips, avert my eyes and hesitate to answer. “Nevermind,” he sighs and gets in the left-hand lane to make a U-turn. In a statement of final resignation he says, “It’s a good thing that Walmart is open 24 hours.”
*NDM#1’s favorite Disney World check-list for packing can be found at MouseSavers.com: http://www.mousesavers.com/UltimatePackingList.doc