Monday, January 6, 2014

Can we talk about traveling with a toddler? {What Real Motherhood Looks Like vol. 4}

Welcome to the January "What Real Motherhood Looks Like" linkup!  If you're new to the concept, it's based on this post written by my co-host, Sarah.  Motherhood isn't always picture worthy and sometimes it's helpful to other moms to see those non-picture worthy moments.  Scroll to the bottom for link-up specifics and to add your post to the linky.

Spending the holidays with family is great, but traveling with a toddler is not.  When Lucia was an infant, we traveled frequently.  Her first plane flight was when we went to Colorado for Christmas when she was 2.5 weeks old.  The flight was great.  The trip was great.  She slept and nursed and could care less where she was as long as mama was there and mama had milk.  I remember thinking how easy it was to do things with a baby.  It was easy to take her to the store or out of state.  It was easy to find time for myself during her million naps.  I can very distinctly remember thinking how much our lives hadn't changed given that we had just experienced the most life changing experience ever. 

I laugh now at my naivety.  We were blessed to have a non-fussy, sleep-through-the-night-at-six-weeks infant.  If she had been colicky, I imagine our world would have been much different.  But I think in general, babies are easy compared to toddlers.  It seems like a genius plan of nature.  They start out sleeping all the time and their only needs are to have you change their diaper, feed them and hold them.  They don't move much, so they can't get into trouble.  But then the needs.  They explode.  They sleep less and less and need your time more and more.  And they they crawl.  I couldn't believe how much mayhem a crawler could cause.  And then they walk and watch out!  Thankfully, all kind of cute new developments emerge at the same time.  Smiles.  First words.  Mimicking mama and daddy in the most adorable ways. Hugs and "I love you"s and all kind of other little reminders that this is so worth it and that maybe, just maybe, you're doing it right.

Anyway, traveling with a toddler seems to bring all the tough into focus.  As a parent, you work so hard at making the home environment comfortable for your little one.  Easy to meet their needs and teach them about the world.  A schedule that minimizes the tantrums and increases that happy, healthy hours.  Food that best fuels their bodies.  Enough sleep.  Toys that prompt independent play (and don't drive you crazy).  Not much screen time.  You create this framework that supports your parenting goals and helps you be the best parent possible.  But when you're traveling, and probably even more so when you are staying as a guest at someone's house, all those get thrown out the window.

The week and a half we were in Colorado were exhausting.  There were probably only three or four naps during that entire time.  (One, thankfully was during Christmas Eve Mass.  Our Christmas miracle.)  There was lots of sugar thrown her way by loving family members.  (I'm still a bit annoyed about the bag of gummy bears my dad gave to her.  Really?  Gummy bears for a barely 2 year old?)  There was so much excitement and chaos and very little familiarity.  And lots and lots of screen time. 

Was it worth it to spend the holiday with our families?  Certainly.  Especially since both David and I have aging grandparents (and regardless of age, there is no guarantee that we will all see next Christmas).  But I think it's one of those things that's better in retrospect.  In the moment, the trip is hard, in memories, we're going to be thinking about the best bits of it.  Thank goodness.

A very un-picture-worthy picture of Lucia trying to eat the snowman's nose.  
The girl still has lots to learn, folks.

Now it's your turn to share your "real motherhood" moments. 

Messy Wife, Blessed Life

Mommy Notes


  1. That picture is adorable! Traveling with children is nuts. I--no kidding--travel with our whole iPod, speakers, and cords set so I can turn UP the white noise for naps, and I make my mom put FOIL over the windows in the guest room so the kids sleep better, too. Whatever it takes, you know? You know. Ha!

  2. Plane rides with toddlers are THE WORST. You're reduced to this level of desperate clinging to survival, grabbing anything that will maybe keep the toddler happy and tossing it in their direction. We're traveling back to the states next summer to visit family... our girls will be 3 and just-barely-1 at that time... I'm already dreading it! (Not to mention the total throw-them-off-every-kind-of-schedule-and-routine fun you describe!)


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