I live several hours away from most of my family. I love to go see my family. Before I had LD, I just tossed my suitcases in the car, plopped my dog in the front seat, put on my sunglasses, and off I went. And they told me “Be grateful it’s just you. Traveling with kids is the worst.”
That part wasn’t a lie. The lie was when they told me that GETTING to your destination was the worst part. Um no. No. No. No.
The worst part isn’t getting there. Not that it isn’t annoying. Screaming toddler, milk going everywhere all over the backseat, wildly tossing your arm to find anything remotely resembling a toy to get him to calm down and be quiet. Then after months of resisting children’s songs because you won’t be that parent, you turn on the music and spend the rest of the drive singing “Wheels on the Bus” or “The Marshmallow Song”
(you’re welcome) while your kid happily continues spilling milk all over your seats. THAT’S NOT THE BAD PART.
No, no, no.
The bad part is when you realize at 4 a.m. that traveling with your kid throws him so far off of his routine that you won’t get any sleep at all this trip. The bad part is when your kid doesn’t nap at all and is grouchy because he is surrounded by people he doesn’t really know. The bad part is where you’re carting your kid all over town and he’s already salty about it because just yesterday he was in the car 6+ hours. Traveling with a kid is the worst.
No sleep for you! No rest for the parent of the wicked! My kid decided every single night of this trip that sleep was for dummies and that he should walk around chirping at 2, 3, 4 a.m. Y’all. We also happen to share a room with our kid which is its own personal nightmare, so I have to wait until he’s “asleep” to sneak into my bed. No sooner than I close my eyes, he’s up! Ready to PARRRRTAY. Where I used to sleep all night, and sleep a little late even, now I’m running around like a zombie, and surviving off twenty minute blips here and there with my head lolling around on the couch. Prepare yourself – have a kid and you won’t sleep on trips ever again. One night, I wound up laying with my child on the floor after he walked for 45 minutes in circles loudly talking to his minions until the sun came up, and promptly crashed. We had lunch plans that day. We canceled.
You don’t get to meet up with old friends. If you do actually manage to make it out and about to see someone without canceling, you’re spending your time running after your tiny grouch because he’s finally been let out of the car and wants to explore. Your entire lunch is peppered with, “What did you just say? – Sorry, she did what while she went to Antigua?! – SON STOP EATING THE TABLECLOTH!” If you manage to make it through lunch without getting kicked out of the restaurant, it’s time to go see the next person on the list! Maybe LD can take a nap while you’re in the car on the way.
Nap? What’s a nap? Listen, there’s no such thing as napping while traveling. This leads to a bleary-eyed monster who cries when he sees your aunt and uncle for the first time in a few months. You can read it all over his face and interpret his loud baby grumblings. Who are these people? Why are they hugging me – my God what an abomination! Wait, he has glasses- those look fun – nope wait, gonna lose my mind instead! Mom, won’t you join me? He will eventually crash, of course, five minutes from your next destination, and even though you wait in the car so he can have a good nap, he’ll wake up after 15 minutes.
Repeat this cycle for however many days you’re gone. Get the tape to hold your eyes open, record yourself apologizing, and play it on repeat whenever you see someone. It’s not that I don’t enjoy seeing my family and friends. I do. I just don’t like having to travel with my kid. Because my sweet, lovable, chatty toddler is a beast when we aren’t at home.
And it all comes down to this: their routine is broken, so you will be too.
Save yourself the trouble – just don’t travel with kids.
P.S. – Not for the first two years anyway – if you want to save your sanity. Maybe I’m wrong. I’ll check in next year with an update.