Hi everyone! I’m Danielle. Mother, biology student, traveler, and lover of all things wild. I often travel with my two daughters who are 5 and 2 years old and we enjoy chronicling our journey along the way. For the past few weeks I’ve contemplated how to write the perfect blog post about how I make traveling with two small children easy peasy. I’ve sat here thinking of tips and tricks I could offer…pack extra snacks, pile on sun screen, and a portable DVD player is your best friend. But as moms you already know all that, and I think if you didn’t, Pinterest could give you a plethora of wisely crafted motherly ideas.
So instead, my tip for you on traveling with kids is to simply embrace the bad days. Because oh boy will there be bad days. There will be days where you’re standing at an amazing wonder of the world, with breathtaking scenery and nature before you and your kid is whining about how they want you to carry them even though they’re half your size now. Or crying because their sibling is harassing them for the 15th time in the past 10 minutes. There will be days when it’s hot, miserable, and your kid is having a melt down at the bottom of a majestic water fall and you think, “this is not as graceful as I imagined it to be” (also can you just respect mother nature, child!?).
Instagram and photography pretty much always make traveling with kids seem glamorous and beautiful and a touching experience. And on one hand, it is. On the other hand, you can be at a National Park trying to race up a canyon with a three-year-old screaming to the world she’s going to poop her pants (yes, that was my child, and yes, she actually did it, and in front of rows and rows of tourists currently passing by). Not to mention the many mishaps and tantrums when you're traveling that can make you question why in the world were you crazy enough to attempt this? Traveling with kids will never be as effortless and perfect like it looks everywhere online, because people only show you the posed and picture-perfect moments.
And mama, you’re allowed to have that bad day and feel frustrated. Breath in. Embrace those moments head on and with a good sense of humor. Let yourself laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. Because afterwards you probably will, so bring that lightheartedness into the present. Sometimes we spend so much time with a specific plan in our head of how we want things done or have expectations of how our day should go that we become overwhelmed with stress, I know I do. So, coming from the girl who went to Disneyland and before the gates were even open, my baby’s diaper had blown out all over me and the baby wrap I was carrying her in (that was my grand entrance to the most magical place on earth), laugh it off. Laugh at the ridiculous looks you get from other people, chuckle at the fact that you just waited in line for an hour for your kid to cry in the face of Mickey Mouse himself, and smile while silently saluting the other mom in the distance with the screaming toddler.
Most of all, live in the present in the moments of beauty that come from the struggles. Listen to all the questions that blossom from your kids exploring the world around them (even if half of them are if they can have another snack after they just had one five minutes ago…), see their eyes full of wonder as they see amazing things they’ve never seen before, revel in the fact you get to witness first-hand the beauty of growth as they are being shaped by what they experience, and share the joy they have that is the freedom of adventure. Let them pull you back into the world of childhood and remind you of what it was like to be a child again. Follow along as they marvel at a little snail or fascinating rock or an interesting leaf. Share in their excitement as they see the magic of a forest and its possibilities to hide fairies or dragons. Because no matter what obstacles and frustrations traveling with children presents you with, it really is worth it all in those wonderful moments of pure childhood bliss.
However, when it comes to the constant, ruthless, torment of the never ceasing “Why?... Why? WHY?”...you’re on your own sis, I’m still dodging that one with “because I said so”. And no matter how much we all want to be the vegan, gluten free, organic moms of Instagram, sometimes in face of a public meltdown, sweets are your secret ally.