We were only 30 minutes into our road trip and I had turned around 30 times to assist the little ones and Isaac was starting to practice his shrieking. I was intermittently texting my friend who was on a weekend getaway with her family. We were joking about how insane we are to ever leave home with small children and she was telling me that when things are crazy her husband looks at her and says, “We’re making memories”; Oh how true. We have now stolen that saying around here and it helps to lighten the mood when you think you can’t take one more moment of “memory making”.
Many have referred to our latest road trip as a vacation. It was indeed a good trip, we did a few fun things, and we saw many people we love along the way. But it was most certainly not a vacation. It was a work trip first and we’ve also come to realize that traveling with small ones is never really a vacation. They are trips where memories are made and can be fun but a vacation to me is lying on the beach, sunbathing and only talking when I feel like it.
So today when I read a blog post by Matt Mooney (who has an incredible family, story and ministry) it totally hit home and had me belly laughing. Here are his tips for traveling with little ones: You should check out his blog though. He’s witty, intelligent, real, loves God and his family and more eloquent with words than myself.
If you have little people and plan on taking them with you somewhere far away, then I recommend you grab a pen. Because I am going to tell you things that those Mickey Mouse commercials leave out.
1.) There is no such thing as a vacation in this stage::
I know this must sound negative. Get over it. It’s just the way it is. Whatever your definition of vacation was, will no longer be. You will do the same things you have been doing, just in a different place. And that is fine because your children need to go and see and experience different things. But you will not be on vacation. I will no longer use the word vacation, rather we will pack the car up for a venue change.
2.) Pack with purpose::
When you have little persons, save space & weight when packing by not throwing in the book you think you’ll get to. Hold off on the exercise clothes, they will not be needed as time will never pop up where you can magically go on a jog. However, if- on the other hand- your exercise clothes are comfortable, then go ahead and pack them and leave anything collared behind. Jelly stains on the nice shirts you packed will only serve to send you into orbits you would rather not visit.
3.) It is not the kids::
Kids need three things in this stage:: food, structure and rest. You are screwing with everyone of them. Not to mention, I become someone I don’t even like when I do not sleep. Quit thinking your kids must be unique in this department. They just do not hide it as well as adults do.
4.) Bring less things but more of each item:: I have not tested this theory, but want to on future trips. If we brought 21 toy-ish items on this trip, then next time I want to bring 3. But I want to bring 7 of each of the 3. 90% of all tussles, hair pulls and fist-to-cuffs with the kids have stemmed from the fact that he has that & I want that. Or you spend half your day looking for a helicopter the size of matchbox. Bring 7. There everybody can have one. What’s that? You lost it? Bam! Here’s another one.
5.) Hold on & keep going:: Above all, die to the commercial-esque ideas and notions that you have of the perfect vacation. Take a breath and enjoy the moments.
Ah yes, well said and so true. Next week we have a “vacation” planned to the beach. We scheduled it in 6 months ago and we are in deep need of it. We are tired from a summer of lots of work, activities, travels, busy kids and I need to just stare at the ocean for a few days (even if that includes dragging my son out of the waves to safety 100 times a day). We’re excited to take the crazy to the beach, make memories and take some time to enjoy the beauty of the Lord there.
**I just have to say that our kids are pretty amazing travelers. They are real troopers for sure and here’s another traveling tip. If your kids are screaming, try rolling down the window. We drove many miles with the windows down and enjoying the wind in our hair.