If you had told pre-kid me that I was going to fly solo across the country with my four-month-old baby, I would’ve called you insane. Sure, I have always had a love for travel, but traveling anywhere alone with my son had me overwhelmed in just a few minutes. I didn’t want to tackle a 30 minute trip to the Target in the next town over, much less various airports I’d never set foot in before. My son cried the entire 20 minute ride home from the hospital the first time we ever buckled him into his carseat…so I honestly tried to avoid traveling unless it was absolutely necessary.
But I’m here to tell you: Mama, take the kids anyway.
A trip of any sorts, whether it’s a day trip to Dollywood or a 7+ hour drive back home to visit family, can be a monumental undertaking, especially with young kids. If you decide to do anything out of the norm without the help of your spouse, then the moment you pull out of your driveway you’re probably thinking “Heaven help me. What have I done? I want to turn around.” Even the smallest day trip to the city pool or the “nice” park when you don’t have your partner for backup can induce anxiety and make you wonder if you might be insane for trying anything alone.
Mama, take the kids.
It’s going to be terrifying the first time. You’ll probably feel like you have rocks in your stomach — I know I did. Sure, it will be twice (or even triple) the amount of work, but you will create moments that can’t be replaced. You will find your groove and you will find routines that work for you when you decide to undertake something “big” on your own without an extra set of hands to help you. I promise you, the feelings eventually pass and loading the kids up by yourself for even the smallest adventure will prove to be worth it.
The hardest part is convincing yourself that you can do it and I’m here to tell you: YOU CAN.
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my family to Dollywood Splash Country with the lovely contributors of Knoxville Moms. My husband had planned to take off work and go along with me and our two toddlers, but at the last minute something came up with work and he told me he was unable to go. Was I frustrated with him? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. I debated on just pulling the plug on the whole water park day my three-year-old was stoked about, but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t bring myself to tell my little boy that we couldn’t go just because Dad had to work. Did I want to tackle a day at a large water park with two kids under four on my own? Nope, I surely did not. I had to convince myself to load the car up that morning and, let’s be honest, I had to erase all of my expectations I originally had for the day. We all buckled in and made our way at 8am that morning and never looked back.
Did the day go as anticipated? No, it didn’t. Were there a few more tears than there would have been had Dad been there? Yes, there were. Do I regret going? Absolutely not.
Mama, take the kids.
All of my solo parenting undertakings have gone awry at some point, but truly I don’t regret tackling any of them. Sometimes I have definitely bitten off more than I could chew, but I learned. I learned my limits and along the way I’ve learned the limits of my children as well. Each adventure I learn something new and it’s something I tuck into my traveling pocketbook to pull out at a later time.
Anxiety used to eat me alive the night before an upcoming big trip or event that I was going to have to take on alone. I worried and stressed to the point of talking myself out of doing things many times. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes calling it off is the right thing to do for both your own mental sanity and the safety of your kids. But Mama, if you’re ever on the fence about taking on an adventure alone with your kids, I hope this can give you the extra push you need.