So, we recently got back from our summer trip back to our hometown. After we got there, I realized that I had completely killed the whole traveling alone with kids thing. And I found myself with every intention of writing a post about our experiences. It would probably be titled “10 Things to Do When Traveling with Kids” or something else super cliché – kind of like the title I chose for this post. Anyway, I wanted to write it because traveling with my kids alone was one of the things I was most nervous about, and it was also the thing that everyone asked me about when they saw us. So many people asked us about our trip that even my oldest daughter at one point wondered out loud if anyone had anything else interesting to ask us about. On constant rotation were questions like: “How were the girls on the flight? Was it awful? Did they love it? Bet you won’t do that again, huh?” My answers at that point in time were (respectively): amazing, it was so fun, they totally loved it, I would definitely do it again. So, yeah, I was a little bit on my high horse. And I kind of thought, as I discussed with my beautiful fellow blogger friend Lauren (who you can and should visit over at laurendow.com) while I was there, the things that people keep asking you about is sometimes also the thing you need to talk about on your blog. Sometimes, that’s just how you know, especially if you have only good things to say. I one hundred percent thought that this was the case with our travel experience. I felt like I had so many good tips, I mean, I had managed to get my kids across the country by myself with no catastrophes, and I wanted to give myself that pat on the back. So, I sat down one afternoon and attempted to get something down into my notes app on my iPad, but alas, vacation took over. The post was never fully written, and soon enough I found myself starting the trip home.
It was time for round two. “Let’s do this” I thought. I had my husband with me, I had all my tried and true tricks of the trade, all I had to do now was do exactly what I did last time and everything would be amazing, so fun, totally the best, right? You guys. I was so wrong. I can’t even describe how wrong I was. Rather than proving that I did in fact belong to the secret society of alpha traveling moms, my kids (okay, it was really just one of them) made sure I was humbled. The “tricks” I had for our first trek had little to no impact on the way home with the specific child in my personal care. Granted, our poor girl was feeling under the weather, and flying with any type of illness isn’t very fun for anyone, let alone a three-year old. So, instead of enjoying snacks, playing games on electronic devices, coloring, and reading books, we spent nearly the entire first flight (four hours long) with angry cries and screams being hurled at me, for the listening pleasure of those around us. From the way she was crying you would think I was the worst parent ever, because there was no calming her down, and even if I did calm her down, it only took a small misstep on my part to send her back into a frenzy. After surviving that fiasco, I knew that the only way we could even attempt to get through our second flight was by putting my pride aside and giving her the good stuff. I needed to find children’s Benadryl. And praise the Lord, I found some. As we were just about to take off on our second flight, the little girl who had just made me question my sanity and parenting skills, rested her little head on my arm and fell asleep.
I spent that next hour or so half heartedly watching a documentary, but mostly thinking to myself: I am so glad I did not write that post. I would have felt like the biggest dummy in the world if I had. I realized in those peaceful semi quiet moments that this place I have here was never about sharing how I was successful at some random thing. It’s actually the opposite. It’s about realizing how human we all really are, and not holding that against ourselves or each other. It’s about knowing that sometimes life is awesome and that’s great. But also no one is perfect, we don’t always get it right… and owning and sharing that with each other is the only means of creating a world that truly accepts and values authenticity and truth. That’s what I originally wanted for this little corner of the internet, and that’s what needs to continue to be my guiding force.
So, with that being said, my advice for traveling with little ones is as follows:
- Smile at others.
Hope that helps!