Travel. It was so carefree and liberating as a young adult. I've had so many great experiences in other cultures, and look forward to passing that on to my children. Thank goodness it's fashionable to be a parent who travels with their children! Instead of feeling like your life is over and you have to "settle down," you can choose to share with your children all that the world has to offer.
I love to bring my children along on trips, not because it's in vogue, but because I think it helps them realize they're not the center of the universe, and that learning another language has a function and purpose. Now, to the outside world, parents who travel with their children may seem easygoing and adventurous. However, I'd like to pull back the curtain a bit and share what it's
like to travel with small children. You may see the highlights on social media - the baby in front of that famous landmark, a family looking at the distant yonder sunset, parents wearing babies effortlessly through foreign cities - but you're not seeing the
story. Tis anything but glamorous, my friends. Anything but glamorous.
Having just returned from a weekend trip alone with my 5 month old, I had to share the reality behind the breezy pictures.
5 Moments That Show What It's Really Like to Travel with A Baby
1. That moment when you're in the window seat on a full flight, sharing a row with 2 burly men spilling over the armrests, and your child has a blowout of epic proportions. You make a show of sniffing your child's bottom, thereby assuring your seat mates that the infant is the culprit of the foul stench. You rise in shame, silently pleading the flight attendant with your eyes to allow you the dignity of changing your babe in the restroom. As if in slow motion, she shakes her head, and motions to the seat-belt sign taunting you with its soft glow. With a heavy heart, you acknowledge that your only option is changing your wiggly baby's diaper on your lap. While wearing a white shirt.
2. That moment when you're nursing your baby in a crowded room or airport, but then you have to switch sides, and your child screams in outrage. Your whole body starts to get warm as heads turn your way, and you're trying to discreetly get your child to latch under a blanket that just won't stay put. You chuckle nervously as you lock eyes with curious strangers, and it seems as though the amount of people in the room has multiplied to infinity. "Where did all these people come from?" you wonder, "And why did I decide to wear boots and socks today? So sweaty..." The baby continues to writhe uncontrollably, and you start to wish you had the same number of limbs as an octopus.
3. That moment when you're in a hotel room and it's 11:53 p.m. and the baby JUST. WON'T. SLEEP. Even though he sleeps 7 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. every single night without a peep at home. You try to nurse him to sleep, but his large bug eyes stare at you, alert as can be, as he proceeds to spit up the apparently unnecessary milk on your pajamas. Now soaked in spit up, you set him down to change your shirt. This enrages the babe, and the cycle begins again. Dante the security guard soon knocks on your door to inform you that your room is too loud. What good fortune that he has brought this to your attention so you can correct it.
4. That moment when you're trying to get through airport security, and you're trying to figure out how to collapse your stroller with one hand while your baby slowly goes boneless and slides out of your grip. Suddenly it seems as if the crowd waiting behind you is closing in, and your fight or flight response kicks in. You've never been a sweaty person, but apparently traveling alone with a baby has changed your biology. The dazed smile never leaves your face as you make eye contact with the unsmiling TSA agent as if to say, "Isn't this fun? We're all having fun together! I'm definitely not falling apart here."
5. That moment when you realize how fortunate you are to live in a time and place where you can hop on a plane to anywhere in the world. And you notice how kind and helpful even the most unlikely of people are when they see you struggling. And your sweet child flashes his delightful grin and big blue eyes, making strangers melt and coo. And as you pull into your driveway, you realize it was all worth it, but also that you never want to leave your couch again. (Except a week later you see that really good deal on a flight, and maybe if you use some of those miles you've been saving up, and the baby will be older...)