I know I’ve already lost some of you with the title. No, I’m not a glutton for punishment. Yes, we were of sound mind when we decided to take our 9 month old with us cross country on a family trip (side note, how many glasses of wine can you have before you’re no longer considered “sound of mind”?). Here’s the funny thing about family vacations: they’re not complete unless the whole family is there. I can’t begin to tell you the looks we got when I told people we were roadtripping up the California coast with my little guy. “Oh, that’s too bad. The whole vacation is going to be about him.” “It’s called a ‘trip’ if you bring the kids. It’s a ‘vacation’ if you leave them home with grandma.” I agree – it is much easier / cheaper / quieter/ less stressful to leave the babies at home. But where’s the fun in that? So we went for it. And learned a few things along the way.
1. Be flexible. This should be first and last and every number in between. We tried to choose a flight that coincided with my son’s nap. We tried to keep him on schedule despite the two hour time difference. We tried to bring all his favorite things from home to make him comfortable. You can only do so much until you give up and decide to just go with the flow. Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned there’s no such thing as control. There’s prayers and multiple back up outfits. The rest is just learning to go with the flow.
2. Be optimistic, but not overzealous. My husband and I have always been active people. We like to hike and be outdoors. This hasn’t changed since our mini me has been tagging along, but it does look different. We decided to forgo the hour(s) long hikes we would have taken in the past and opted for short, scenic walks instead. I didn’t want to sacrifice sightseeing or activity, but I’m also not interested in climbing Mount Everest with a baby strapped to my back. Literally or metaphorically.
3. Enjoy your family. Mamas, I know it’s hard. A lot of the time, you are doing the majority of the work because it’s easier that way. I get it. Every day is hard, but in the best way. Take this short time you have with your family while they still think the whole world revolves around you and just breathe. In and out. Relax. And enjoy it. Drink it in. You’re in the midst of making the most precious memories that will last a lifetime and even when it’s hard, it’s still better when you’re together.
Overall we had a great trip, and I’m so thankful my little one was able to experience it with us. Our first family vacation was a success. Phew! I can now breathe a sigh of relief.. and start planning our next adventure. What things have you learned while traveling with littles?