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As mom’s we tend to become the “keeper of all things”. We keep schedules and pay bills and are the only ones to be able to find that one thing that our children haven’t seen in weeks that they now suddenly love with all of their might. In many families we are the financial organizers and the keepers of the papers. We are also usually the main points of contact and organization for schools.
But what if we were suddenly unable to do those things? Whether it is because of a “worst case scenario” or because we are away on a business trip, someone else will have to be able to step in.
I have toyed with the idea of a “Family Emergency Binder” for the last few years. Having kids changed me. Made me more anxious, but also more pragmatic. It has heightened my need for order and systems. In this case, I have dragged my feet. I could never really figure out what I wanted to put into it, and I spent more time researching and second guessing the content of other people’s systems than actually making my own. Then I found the “In Case of Emergency Binder” by Chelsea Brennan of Smart Money Mamas.
The “In Case of Emergency Binder” gave me the perfect framework that I had so far been unable to find. It has sections covering all of the expected financial aspects (bills, life insurance, banking accounts) as well as the unexpected personal ones that allow you to note things like your children’s bedtime routines and favorite things.
The inclusion of these personal sections is what really sold me on the binder. It went from being something that I knew I needed just in case, to something that was an asset in other scenarios. Perhaps one that involved my husband and I leaving the kiddos with the grandparents for the weekend. One can only wish.
With 14 different sections, you can feel secure knowing that there will be few, if any, questions or aspects of your lives that this does not touch on. For the military families, there is also an entire section dedicated just to you and the unique situation that being a military family brings.
The Other Source Of My Nerves
During my initial research, I also considered natural disasters and events that would require evacuation of our home to be an important motivation towards setting up a system. During hurricane Sandy here in New York, we have a friend whose house flooded to the point where they had dining room furniture from the first floor floating around in one of the bedrooms upstairs. Luckily, he and his wife were able to evacuate to a family member’s home, but they left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their dog. They had no contact information for their insurance company because it was all in paper statements that were now underwater. It took days for the water to recede. It was time that was a massive loss because their insurance company, by the time they were able to contact them, was already inundated with claims from other people in similar situations. Thus they were put to the bottom of the pile right from the beginning. It was a nightmare.
If they had had something like this, they would have been able to grab it as they ran out the door and saved themselves months of unnecessary head and heartaches.
This is what we do, as moms, as parents, as significant others. Easing what would likely be an emotional time for those we love by providing them with all of the tools that they would need to carry on in our stead.