Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made a pact to spend the following spring on a big trip with her. When we booked our Iceland and Italy trip with an eight-month-old, I thought we’d lost our minds. BUT WE DID IT! Even after baby number two, we kept on the move. I’m not going to sugar coat it, flying isn’t fun with kids. It’s hard, takes a lot of planning, and patience. But it’s worth it! As we approach yet another season of travel, here’s an ode to traveling families and a few words of encouragement.
Bring Your Patience Times a Thousand
Remember that day your husband came home and you were “just done?” Well, that’s how you’re going to feel after your travel day. Put on your big girl pants, grab a large coffee and know that it’s just going to be a long day. Your job is to entertain and tame tiny humans in tight quarters. You’re “on” 100% of the day. Once you get them to their final destination, pour yourself a heavy duty and deserved martini and let them run free.
Take Care of Yourself
Okay, you’ve fed the wild children, but Girl, you gotta take care of yourself. That means, fuel up! I’m a monster if I don’t eat. Ask my husband – I’m as bad as my kids. So ensure that you get as much sleep as possible the night before, eat, and drink water. Add a beer on the plane – if you think you can juggle like Cat and The Hat. I like to roll the dice once and awhile.
Wear Them Down
Yep, you’ve probably seen my kids riding the escalator back and forth a trillion times. They’ve probably cut off a pro traveler whizzing by, but I DON’T CARE. Why? Because if my kids don’t blow off a little steam before they get on that plane, all h-e-double-hockey-sticks will in fact break loose.
Blowouts are Guaranteed
Welcome to the new “Mom Mile High Club.” You’re gonna have poop or some other “substance” on you by the end of the trip. My daughter and my son both did their dirty business right as we took off on their first flights. Bring extra clothes for you and the kids. I repeat – do not decide “they’re old enough.” Just do it because the crazy blog lady (and hundreds of others) told you to. And for the love of god (I too have debated), don’t try to salvage the clothes!
If You’re Easy Going….
My husband came up with this saying and I love it. “ If you’re easy going, things will be easy.” We say it with our kids on the way to the airport and to each other about a trillion times during the travel day. Is it simplified? Sure is. Is it hard? Heck, yes. Does it change your attitude on everything that happens during that day? You better bet your mommy jeans it does! Are you going to get stopped by TSA to check to make sure your stroller doesn’t have bomb resin on it, while you wait a bazillion years? Yep, but you’re easy going today, so TSA ain’t got poo on you.
Teach ‘Em Young
I have a “no walking around policy on planes.” At the beginning, I made it pretty clear we stayed in our seats and also respected the back of other’s seats. (Side note: please know as I am typing that last sentence, I am knocking on all kinds of wood, and telling the travel gods they still in fact are in control.) Once my daughter was old enough, I told her she had a pass to get up once or twice to go to the bathroom, but that’s it. No back and forth to grandparents. No quick change of scenery down the aisle. Of course, there are exceptions – like when my son was crying the whole flight back from Turks and Caicos. You better believe I strapped on the carrier, bounced like no one’s ever bounced before, and prayed he’d pass out (he did, by the way, …as we landed).
Super Heroes Needed
You probably think that since you’re traveling with kids, people go out of their way to help you, right? Ha, think again, Mamacita! For the most part, no one cares about your own misery or challenges – even if you’re flying by yourself with two kids. Seriously. That’s why you should refer to heading: “If you’re easy going.” People are going to cut, not hold doors, give you weird looks, not help fold the stroller at the gate, etc. BUT here’s my silver lining. There WILL be older people smiling at your kids with delight. There WILL be other moms and dads smiling at you because they get it. There WILL be a nice woman that asks if she can help hold your baby while you get the bottle ready. Soak them all up and leave the rest. Pour your love out where you can. When it’s both my husband and me with the kids, or we are traveling alone, we always ask other families if they need help.
As you contemplate your next adventure with your kids, know you can do it! It’s tough, but you’re up for the challenge. It takes a little preparation, and I solid mental game, but if anyone can do it, moms can! Enjoy making memories this summer!