I’ve been a mother for a little over 3.5 years. That means I’ve been a mother who travels with her kids a little over 3.3 years.
Becoming a mom was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was in my mid-30s and very used to my previous carefree life. After the shortest longest 9 months (more accurately 41 weeks and 1 day) of my life, there was a whole being whose soul existence strongly depended on me being responsible. Remembering to feed him, bathe him, protect him. On top of that I had post-pregnancy complications that made me move a little slower, with more pain than I remember having before.
It was a mental and physical challenge. And it seemed to never let up.
It took me a full year to feel good in my new normal. To get out of the haze.
When I had my daughter less than 2 years later, the cycle started again. Except now I was used to the sleepless days and nights. I just had to get used to protecting the kids from each other. My post-pregnancy complications this time made sleep more difficult and driving over cobblestone roads next to impossible. Again, it took me a full year to feel good in my new normal.
My truth of traveling with babies
Within both of those separate years of having new babies, we traveled. We traveled because we had to. We traveled because we wanted to. We traveled to see family across the pond. We traveled because we knew we weren’t going to live in Europe forever.
As with everything when a baby comes along, we had to change our style. We packed more, planned more, somehow slept even less, and concerned ourselves more with where we were when it was time for the kids to eat.
It was hard, but it wasn’t impossible.
Looking back I realized something about that time in our lives. New mommy-hood was easiest for me when we were traveling. It felt more right than anything else. I felt more alive because I wasn’t sitting at home waiting for life to happen. We didn’t eat at fancy restaurants, or sit at cafes and bars chatting it up with the locals, or do many things in our new travels that we resembled our old travels. But, we were traveling. We were doing what we love most, even through the pain and challenges.
And I think that’s what makes me different
At least different from the people who treat traveling with kids as a chore. For me, I can’t imagine going out and exploring this world without my kids. And I don’t know how people can just stay home. It would stifle me, it would bore me, and it would make me resentful.
If I had any anxiety about how my travels would be once I had kids, it’s gone now.
I have two toddlers who love to travel. They both love all forms of transportation, constantly wonder when our next trip to a hotel will be, and can typically sit pretty content in a car, a train, and a plane. And that’s even without an iPad or any electronic distractions.
They have their own travel preferences. My son loves fancy hotels and fast trains, my daughter loves walks and animals. They enjoy talking about going on vacation and looking at pictures afterwards.
It’s fun. It’s exhausting. It’s more than I thought it could be.
This is very inspiring Ann! You are living an amazing lifestyle of making travelling a part of your family’s life. Your kids will learn a whole lot of life skills that will never be learnt from hours of reading or homestudy.
Thanks Jean! I do think they are learning so much more than they can in books… but I do hope they also become readers, too. Ha ha.
Lovely! It is such an adjustment to go from 0 to 1, but a big high five to you for choosing to travel despite the difficulties and obstacles. Keep on keepin’ on!
I’m new to your blog and I thought this was a really beautiful post. I think it’s great that you have instilled a sense of adventure in your kids, and they clearly appreciate it and love it with having their own preferences already. It’s great to see, I hope you enjoy the rest of your adventures 🙂
Thanks so much Bekka! What a nice thing to say.
I imagine it’s really amazing to travel and see the world through your children’s eyes as well. I sometimes take my little nieces along on adventures and it’s always refreshing to experience their joy of the world and I notice things I might have overlooked otherwise. I admire you for not giving up on travel because you had kids, keep on rocking!
Uh-oh your son is gonna grow up to be a super spoiled traveler. Will he ever have his backpacking and dirty hostel experiences when he grows up? HAHA
This is such a great outlook to take. While we have done some traveling with our kids over the years, we have just started our expat experience and … there are a lot of challenges when you factor kids in! But I love your last comment: “It’s fun. It’s exhausting. It’s more than I thought it could be.”
Cheers to you and yours. I look forward to getting to know you better on this blog … glad I found you!