Personal first aid kits (Bay Area redo).

To know me is to have heard me yammer how I regretted some summer decisions.

The Tornado did camp.  The Tornado had playdates.  The Tornado staycationedMama made a mistake and planned nothing for August.

Yep.  The key word there is *planned* as I deliberately scheduled nothing.

I saw she longed to reconnect with new-friends at the-school-which-still-feels-new & simply PLAY.

This seemed like a fantastic idea till I realized (around August second) her friends were out of town & it was destined to be 25 days of the Tornado & me.

At the playgroundRiding bikes.  Making crafts.  Crafting FLUBBER.  Playing basketball. Smacking tether-balls.  Playing hopscotch.


I lamented, but I loved.  

*I* treasured our time together—I just know she’d envisioned August differently (less mom-face more peer-face).

What does this have to do with personal first aid kits? 


My month rocked (fun, frolicking, restorative & raucous), yet when I discovered this note on my computer something clicked:


Given all our time together, all the time we’d spent adjusting to our new city together & exploring our new ‘hood together Id begun to *rely* on her.

I no longer needed a Personal First Aid Kit when I felt sad/pulled toward old habits as I had a little person by my side consistently making me SMILE.

Did I mention school starts today?

It was in prepping her for the exciting changes of second grade—I considered the shift awaiting *me*:

  • More work time. (awesome)
  • More walk-the-lake time. (fantastic)
  • Return to our old/new routine of walking to & fro school. (love. love. love.)
  • Far less Tornado-time. (sad face)

I knew—in the name of preventative self-care—it was time to revisit an old friend: my personal first aid kit.

A gathering of stuffs which make me feel nurtured/cared for all bundled in a box in case of frazzled, depressed, anxiety emergency.

Not to my surprise the old kit was rather outdated as how we soothe changes as *we* change & items which had once comforted me would be little or no help now.

As a result, since I was sending my living breathing ‘kit back to school, I spent time creating a new one: 



I kept a few thoughts in mind as I gathered my items:

  • In a moment where I feel the pull toward old behaviors what might be a positive alternative option?  (journal writing. hot tea. nail painting.)
  • In a moment where I feel sad what might make me smile? (her drawing. some writings in the journal. the temporary tattoo.)
  • In a moment when Im alone/feel like isolating what might provide me positive company? (writings in the journal. a favorite book.)

My personal first aid kit is small and fluid.  I can add to it at any time & I like to keep it portable…just in case.

I readily admit it has already done its job, too.

On this morning as I walk my living ‘kit to school the mere fact it’s there–created & waiting–*comforts me* and makes me smile.


  • If you created a personal first aid kit–what item(s) would you include?




Never miss a post. Enter your email to get my latest posts delivered to your inbox.


  1. says

    LOVE…LOVE…mine would have a bottle of sand, running shoes, my camera, and several pics of my girls. My desk at work is covered with them! This time of year when I am looking at going back to school and not seeing them for wake up hugs I get so sad…I’m totally going to need a first aid kit for next week!

  2. says

    Lovely post!

    My items are music, paper/pencil/books, running shoes, and my dog.

    Doing “nothing” on a summer day is great, for the kids and for us. I disagree with filling our kids’ days with structured activities. This summer was quieter for my kids and I, and they spent wonderful hours playing with dinky cars or Playmobils or Legos, riding their bikes or shooting hoops, and you know what, helping me around the house. We also had time for wonderful conversations.

    They seem happy. I’m happy.

  3. says

    Aw! I love this! My youngest is about to begin his foundation year (i.e. kindergarten in the UK). After having seven children and seeing them growing (some of them into mature adults already), seeing the youngest of them taking this first real step towards independence, well, it’s rewarding and making me a but melancholy at the same time. I love, love, love that I will now have more time to write, but my living, breathing first aid kits are also where most of my inspiration comes from, and they won’t be around as often. ‘Til next Summer!

  4. says

    This is a most fabulous and amazing idea!!! I’m sure I would have to include writings from
    Danger, a family photo, a journal and my most favorite book. Thank you for sharing this, as I would never have thought of this myself!

  5. says

    a fuzzy pen, because they make me happy. definitely a happy book. a bracelet or necklace the kids have made- just so i can slip it on if i’m missing them.
    probably an orange spice tea bag.

  6. says

    Good luck today, Tornado! (and Mama!)

    My Kid1 started school last week. Last year she was in half day kindergarten. I was surprised how LONG the day seems when she’s gone. Luckily, I still have Kid2 here with me.

    My kit would include: Kid2 and my phone (which includes my music playlist and CANDY CRUSH). Little known fact: I put my little ladies’ favorite songs in my playlist so when I’m alone, in the middle of a marathon or on a long training run, Party in the USA or Bad Medicine will randomly pop up and make me think of them and smile.

  7. says

    I’ve always read about separation anxiety involving the child. Maybe more people need to think about it involving the parents also!

  8. MIZ says

    thank you. I did feel badly in a way when I realized Id not needed my old kit because she was my sidekick (YAY!) once again—but I did reframe for myself (Im so good to me that way :)) that I was HER PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT this past month too.

  9. says

    Love this Carla – I felt some of what you felt thru your writings.. obviously not what you felt but your writings bring me there! HUGS to you – and I know that all you do & did and all she did was all part of one anther!

    I think a kit for me would be pics – family pics & friend pics & drawing from the grandkids… sometimes sad but also comforting…

  10. says

    I love this idea as I sit here feeling blue after seeing the kids off today. I have a little plastic flower in my pocket that my daughter made me this weekend–that would definitely make my kit, along with the walk I took with some neighborhood friends this morning after we said good-bye to the younger kids.

  11. says

    I had never really thought about this! I think I would definitely have some nail polish– preferable a “french manicure” kit– it’s what I do as a treat to myself since it’s kind of time consuming. My running shoes. My journal. Magazines I’ve held on to for months since I haven’t had time to read them. Of course a picture of my mini-me.

    Kenzer’s first day back to school was today also. This may sound weird, but it made me feel more RELIEVED than anything. I work outside of the home, and of course work doesn’t stop because it’s her summer time. So all summer I end up feeling guilty that I’m missing out on time with her. At least when school is in session I feel like we’re both “getting the job done” and then we’re soaking each other up in the evenings.

  12. says

    Love this!

    Now I need to start thinking about my kit…and make one. I am likely going to need it soon, with only 10 weeks before baby #2 arrives (and much toddler FUN going on at home already).

    I’d probably include a current knitting project (well…on that I’ve been trying to finish for about a year), my Kindle (because reading always helps), my favorite pic of my husband and our daughter, and something that smells like a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. =)

  13. says

    What a great idea – many days I could really use such a kit.
    Mine would include my Nook, some fun music and the sun (a picture for those days when there isn’t any real sun available!).
    I hope the first day of this new school year is a great day for you and your daughter!!

  14. says

    Wonderful idea. I’d include a mix of sad, angry and optimistic music with a pair of noise cancelling earphones to take the world away.

    Photos of family and friends from back home. Green tea. Epsom salts so I can take a hot bath.

    The Bay Area is lovely – I’m still getting used to this myself.

  15. says

    What a fabulous idea! In all the years I’ve packed my children’s back to school emergency kits, I’ve never once thought of creating one for myself!

    In my kit? Obviously there would be a sock to knit on and a good book to read. But also the names and numbers of the friends I need to catch up with on Skype 😉 or at the local coffee shop.

    Happy first day of school!

  16. says

    Excellent idea and a great way to be prepared. I have pictures of my wife and daughter on my desk at work. When I get frustrated I just take a look and remember that they are the thing that makes all this other stuff okay. I also find that taking time to read a blog every couple three hours works to relieve the stress as well.

  17. says

    Books, including a crossword puzzle/variety puzzle book, purple pen and purple mechanical pencil, purple notebook. Raw cacao nibs. Not sure what else, that might be enough.

  18. says

    So true! With two very young kids I’m constantly aware if how much they depend on me but I forget how much I depend on them. Their smiles, their hugs their love. First thing I do everyday at work is pour my hot tea, stare at their pictures and just feel warm and fuzzy. Guess that’s my personal first aid administered everyday v

  19. says

    i’ve seen a personal first aid kit on another blog too! i love the idea and want to do it as a post sometime. love that yours includes nail polish and a book! mine would definitely have a book along with coloring books/sharpies. and coffee.

  20. Ida says

    I don’t have a child, but am really great with caring for others and not myself.
    I need to make this!

  21. says

    I love this idea! My time of year when I need a survival kit would be peak training month (it’s over now :D), and it would probably include reminders of how fun it is to race, fun things I get to do when I’m not training a billion hours a week, a package of potato chips or some other indulgence, and a collection of really, really easy recipes and all the numbers to easy, healthy takeout. :)

    Maybe the other time for me is winter – when I get all depressed about the cold and grey. Usually my “survival kit” for that is just looking forward to whatever next vacation is coming my way! :)

  22. says

    My kit, which occupies the entire backseat of my car, includes a whole bunch of books, notebooks and pens, and almonds, among other things. If I had kids, it would probably take up the trunk as well. :)

  23. says

    My current reading book and my journal. Reading and writing are my personal escapes so I would be all set with those main two items. I also like to doodle so maybe some colored pencils or pens.

  24. says

    Mine would involve a pen and paper for writing and book for reading.

    I liked your comments about relying on the Tornado. My SIL and niece are very very close. Em is an only child so has always been pretty wrapped up in her mother’s world and my SIL is v.much into ballet etc so her non-work life revolves around Em’s.

    Em is finishing school this year and I seriously cannot imagine how my SIL will cope when / if Em goes away (which is the plan). Their lives are literally entwined – ballet (and pageants) on weekends, ballet on school days etc. My SIL really has no interests outside of her work and my niece’s stuff. I think it will be good for her, but it will be hard!

  25. says

    Oh I love the term “personal first aid kit”. I’d definitely include my nephews’ letters too. Each time I read their letters (more like drawing) for me, I can’t help but smile and hug them. Such a stress-reliever!

  26. Becka says

    I would have to say pics of my “oldest” friends & family, a journal, images of nature, maybe some pressed flowers, a drawing from my daughter, tea, a favorite book or two, candles & aromatherapy items.

  27. says

    As someone who struggles with/against bulimia I always have nail polish with me… I never thought of it as a first aid kit though. But when I’m feeling half strong (aka the urge is there but I don’t want to succumb) I paint my nails… You can’t make yourself throw up with wet nails (or at least I can’t) sorry for the tmi there :-/