We spent most of the month of May traveling. First it was a week in South Florida for a friend’s wedding, followed by two weeks with family in West Virginia and Pennsylvania while the fiance was traveling for work.
In my circles (online and in real life) it is not unusual to travel with kids, but every once in a while I come across folks who think I’m a bit crazy for doing it. I hear “He’s too little and won’t remember” or “It’s not worth the stress.” I respectfully disagree. No, my 8-month-old won’t remember our trips (save for the hundreds of pictures I take). Yes, it is a lot more work than traveling with grown-ups only. But as you can read here, we believe the pros outweigh the cons. And for now, I can tell you some of the incredible life lessons I’ve learned (or am slowly learning) from traveling with my little guy.
1. To work through stress, anxiety and other emotions
This is the biggest lesson for me. I hate to admit it, but I’m not as laid back a traveling mom as I hoped to be. Before baby, I was proud to be a chill flyer. Crazy airport delay? No problem, I’ve got books, food and a phone charger. Overbooked flight? Heck, I’ll stay another day and take that sweet travel voucher. With a baby, though, that quickly changed. For example, we arrived home from Florida at midnight only to learn that our car seat never made it. This mama was pissed, especially since we traveled all day and got handed a dingy loaner that did not compare to our super safe
one. (The airline had my carseat delivered to our home the next morning). Then coming home from West Virginia, we got delayed, rerouted and our original upgraded seats weren’t available on the new flight. I know, you might be thinking – cry me a river
, first world problems
. But that’s the type of stuff that gets to you when you’re a tired and sleep deprived new parent. It takes a lot more deep breathing to go with the flow and stay calm, and I am working hard on it, for everyone’s sake.
2. To have perspective
Being a new mom can easily get you stuck in a rut. Everyday is groundhog day at home with our baby. Diaper changes, cuddled naps, feedings, playtime, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love our daily routine, but getting out of our comfort zone and into an adventure does wonders for the soul. Seeing how other people spend their days is a great reminders that EVERYONE has his or her own struggles to face – which is a sure way to make us feel less alone in our own journeys. Not to mention the appreciation we feel upon returning home to our own bed!
3. How to improvise and be resourceful
I’m a true believer in less is more
, especially when it comes to traveling. I was a carry-on only kind of gal before, and now I use one shared checked bag for baby and I. You can try to be as prepared as possible, but it is very unlikely you’ll be able to pack every single thing you use at home. Being on the road with my little for three weeks has definitely made me up my resourcefulness game. I asked my hosts ahead of time about what items I could borrow, or whether I could use their laundry machines. I used travel sized items
as much as I could, and, thanks to some ingenious ladies on pinterest
, I learned that my trusty baby carrier
could double as a makeshift highchair.
4. The importance of help
Traveling alone with my little bud and being away from his dad for so many days was tough on all of us. All I kept thinking was that single parents are my newfound heroes. How do they do it, day in, day out? Thankfully, I was surrounded by friends and family on all my travels (a big reason I was ok with going in the first place), and they were a huge help. It is so important to have people that you trust around to help with the little ones. It does take a village – even it’s an online or long-distance one.
|Grandpa entertained all four boys for a whole weekend
5. To have faith
And I mean faith in humanity and in a higher power, whatever that means to you. I believe people are generally kind, and our travels have so far confirmed it. Most people who we have come across while traveling – the flight attendants, gate staff, or fellow passengers – have been kind and courteous, sharing their stories, making the little one smile, offering unsolicited help and being gracious while I nursed him. As far as a higher power, let me just tell you, I pray. And I pray HARD. That everything goes smoothly. That we remain safe. That baby sleeps through the flight. That he doesn’t have a diaper blowout. And I guess Someone must be listening closely, because we have had a clean, miraculously well-rested baby every time.
What big lessons you have learned from your travels?