Mom groups are a special form of my own personal hell. The awkwardness of deciding where to land, the sizing up, the side eye glances and half smiles…
Google is not my friend. For the past month, I’ve been scanning websites to catalog the horrors awaiting my husband and me on our next vacation. I am using the precise science of scrolling to gauge the likelihood of our first kid-free week in paradise resulting in body bags.
I am sitting at a Holiday Inn, chasing cold peanut butter toast with thin coffee. Behind me, I hear my five-year-old grunting and growling. There are intermittent high-pitched squeals and smacks against a pillow or maybe the mattress. I can’t be bothered to turn around. Then the crying begins, building in intensity with deep, dramatic inhales to catch his breath and long snuffs of snot being sucked back into his head. He is expressing frustration over his breakfast.
Parenting is a never-ending series of peaks and valleys. On an almost daily basis, I waffle between, “Wow! I am so great at this!” to “Holy shit. Who let me have children?” I have noticed, though, that as our little family adds miles to our travel log, days on the road tend to stay at the positive end of the parenting spectrum. Originally, I thought this was because Vacation Me is so much cooler than Everyday Me, but after careful consideration, I realized there are additional factors at play:
There are times when I make motherhood a lot harder than it needs to be. This usually presents itself in the way I overload our calendar with obligations and commitments that I end up regretting when the time arrives. I wake up dazed and drained from a night of bed-hopping and bad dreams, and Mama just wants to stay home; my calendar says otherwise.
If it’s so much work, you might wonder, “Why bother?” Why not just wait until the kids are a little older and better able to control their bodily functions and emotions? For starters, I’m 34 and still struggle with both of these things, so we might be waiting awhile. Secondly, because we are guaranteed nothing.
I was raised in a tiny little town with a single blinking light and a buck pole. Just because you come from a small place doesn’t mean you are built to do small things.
Any traveler worth their salt needs to be ready to roll at a moment’s notice, but that can be tricky for those of us rolling with strollers. What is a meandering mom or pop to do? Upon returning from a super fun and totally exhausting vacation, it takes me at least a week to tackle the unpacking process. So, forget it. Just keep a few of those bags packed and waiting for your next adventure. They might just be the push you need to get yourself out the door and into the world.
It’s simple, really. You spend weeks planning and packing and unpacking and repacking, checking and double-checking reservations and bags and items to entertain, and asking and re-asking which movies to bring and snacks to pack and must-have cozy animals to cuddle. And then you load it all up like a jigsaw puzzle, and amazingly, everything... Continue Reading →
The American road trip – beloved pastime of lonely poets, biker tribes, motor home retirees, young couples fresh-faced and in love. But what about that frazzled family with 2.5 children and a closet full of butt wipes? Is this adventure truly for us, the exhausted parents with diaper-wearing, life-sucking tiny humans? It can be. Maybe... Continue Reading →