My husband and I are one of those couples that decided early on not to travel with our littles when the two of us go on trips. Don’t get me wrong, we have always been excited for the day our family adventures begin. But in the early stages of their life, it just seemed more complicated and not quite worth the hassle. I mean we pay good money to go explore the world, relax, reconnect, and enjoy ourselves. And we felt that our children just aren’t old enough to enjoy this time with us, or even remember going to these destinations. It just doesn’t seem worth it to take them with us. Not to mention, our kids thrive on a schedule, and traveling does not make it easy to keep to a schedule. I’m sure some of you may be judging me or thinking “how could you leave your babies behind”. Which is fine. We all have to do what we feel is right for our families, right? Plus, its actually not as difficult as you might think to leave them behind…and let me tell you why.
I have two toddler boys, ages 2 and 3 years old. We had them 15 months apart, which is kind of crazy, I know. But I honestly wouldn’t change a thing (that’s a whole different blog post). Those are tough ages to begin with, but throwing in the task of traveling with toddlers, and with ALL of the things you have to bring with them just sounds like a nightmare. Not to mention trying to get through the airport or the actual airplane ride, praying that they will not act like they were raised in a jungle alongside of wild animals. The stress alone of just getting to the destination is enough to send me over the edge. THEN once you finally get to your location, you have to get the room set up to try to mimic their rooms from home. Then trying to keep up with naps, and eating schedules…the list goes on! My kids are not the kids who can just sleep anywhere. They have to sleep in THEIR beds. And let’s face it, if they aren’t sleeping well, everything else is off!
I will admit though, I think some of these issues are my fault. You see, because I had them so close together, and my oldest would only be fully functional if I kept up with his schedule, I did what I felt I had to do to get through the day. That meant that if I wanted to create this happy home where we all got as much sleep as possible and everything was peaceful and wonderful I had to stick to the schedule. I call it the survival years! I was barely surviving (or at least that’s what it felt like) when our littlest guy entered into the world. So I just did whatever I could to make life less chaotic. The way I chose to do that was to stay on schedule. Wake up around the same time every day and follow the same morning routine, nap by a certain time, the same afternoon schedule every day, followed by eating dinner at the same time every night, then bath, then bedtime. That has been my life for the last 3 years. It was worked for us! But not anymore. It’s time for a change.
I am ready to start making memories, and having adventures with my crazy little loves. I’m ready for them to start tasting this beautiful world, and having the opportunity to see the world through their eyes. I’m becoming okay with the fact that I am going to probably not get any sleep, and have fussy toddlers to deal with because schedules will get screwed up. Sacrifice if you will. But I think they are getting to the age now that it’ll become more worth it. And mostly, I’m ready for a change for myself. I need to live life again. I need to not feel like I’m a slave to schedules. So I have come up with this plan…
This summer is the time to start living again. I’m calling it the Summer of Change. Don’t get me wrong, when we are home there will still be the schedules to stick to. Everyone, even adults, need stability and structure that a set schedule brings. But I also want to raise kids to go with the flow and learn to be flexible. Because, well life! Am I right? How many days in a week do you experience that everything goes exactly as planned? If you say even 1 day per week, then I am going to need to take notes from you.
Life is crazy and it throws you curve balls. I want to raise my kids to not only learn how to handle those curve balls, but hit a home run. I am, by nature, a go-with-the-flow person. But I haven’t been raising my kids that way.
So this summer, we are going on some beach trips (already booked). We are going to do a short family vacation (starting off slow), and we will break bedtime to swim a little bit longer under the sweet summer night sky. We are going to skip some nap times to go explore our beautiful city. We are going to start trying new things like going to the movies, riding the train in Zilker Park even though its way to flipping hot outside . We are going to stay a little bit longer at the splash pad and maybe miss nap because we are just having way too much fun to leave. We are going to explore new Austin restaurants because I miss fun food, and knowing the “it” restaurants in my city! We are going to enjoy the fireworks and sparkles for the 4th of July, even though its way past bedtime by the time its dark enough to actually see them.
I am determined to expand my kids’ horizons this summer, with the expectations that it may not always go as planned, but being okay with that anyway. Because I have to learn to be flexible WITH my kids. After all, they learn from us, don’t they?