I like to think that I am a very confident, well prepared parent, when it comes to traveling with my children.
*waiting to board*
HA. HA. HA.
That’s not even slightly true. Traveling with three children is a disaster. Traveling with even one child can be a disaster. But, it’s always worth the long drive or the delayed flight. My husband and I have no family in Michigan. We moved here after living together in Chicago for almost a decade, where most of his family is. Most of my family is on the East Coast ( shout out to the constitution state)!, and we make a pretty good effort every year to visit both of these glorious destinations. We did our first family road trip when Fiona was only three months old. It went pretty well. That was the last time any kind of family travel has gone well for us. But, with all that said, I feel it’s my moral duty as a mother to share my *tips & tricks* for traveling with tiny, loud, little creatures.
- Don’t. Just don’t do it. If you can persuade people to travel to you instead, then convince away! Unless they have more kids than you. If they have more kids than you, you pack up that minivan, shut your mouth, and drive. Vroom, vroom.
- If you must travel, make sure you take plenty of yoga classes before hand. You need to know that you have mastered the art of meditation. I’m serious. You need that shit. You might need to reach your arms to lengths you never knew possible. What if you’re on a plane and your kid throws her favorite crayon three rows back from you and you’re in coach? YOU REACH THREE ROWS BACK AND PICK THAT SHIT UP. What if you’re in the car and your six month old throws her bottle at her sister, but is still screaming as if she’s been starved for most of her life? YOU CLIMB THROUGH THE CARSEATS, STRETCH THAT LEG OVER THE BABY, REACH OUT BOTH ARMS AND GRAB THAT BOTTLE. See? You need yoga.
- Don’t waste your time on packing. You can try to organize, you can make lists and cross each item off, but you will forget at least, AT LEAST, five or six crucial items. Just lower your standards right now, and somehow persuade your family to lower theirs as well. For example,” Oh no! I totally forgot to pack those pink socks that match your Elsa tutu. Is the world going to end now?” Your child will probably scream and cry that, yes, the world is surely going to end now. I’m at the point now where I just throw random shit in the 70,000 suitcases we have to bring everywhere, and just hope for the best. *She thought she could just pack herself*
- If you are offered some sort of adult beverage on a plane ride, drink it. I don’t care if it’s 5 am. Just say yes, please, and thank you.
- The only exception to #4 is, if you have a child in your lap, don’t drink anything. Don’t eat anything. Don’t even put that stupid tray thing down in front of you, because whatever you put on it, it’s going to get kicked. We were on a flight to Disney World last year when my husband ordered a Bloody Mary. Maeve kicked that shit STRAIGHT up into the air. That was fun.
- If you have an iPad or tablet, fill it up with extremely useless apps for your kids. Don’t download some educational thing. They won’t want that. In fact, they may be SO PISSED OFF about this educational app that they might try to throw the iPad at their siblings, or even a poor unsuspecting stranger. (Sorry about that black eye dude! My kid doesn’t want to learn her ABC’s today!)
- When traveling by car, make sure you have noise cancelling headphones. Have you ever had three kids scream for twelve hours straight? I have.
- If you find yourself driving in complete silence, due to the fact that all of your children are FINALLY all asleep in the car, DO. NOT. STOP. DRIVING. You have to pee? TOO BAD. Your leg has a cramp? NO ONE CARES. If you stop that car, those kids will wake up and resume screaming. Pee in a Snapple bottle if you must, but don’t you dare suggest pulling into a rest stop.*You wake her, you take her.*
- Make sure you bring your dog on your road trips. Why? Because, everyone is going to fart in the car. Everyone. Even you, you dainty little princess who never passes gas. You need someone to blame the farts on. Blame it on the pup.*Who me? I didn’t fart.*
- Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the flight. Sometimes, you learn more about yourself and your family during the journey. It’s ok if the drinks get spilled. It’s ok if you find French fries in your kids carseats three years after the actual trip. It’s ok if everyone spends the entire journey screaming at each other. It’ll all be worth it when you reach your destination. It always is.
*My sisters always know how to make us feel welcome*