I was 11 when I first got my period. I still remember it to this day. I must have read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” at least a dozen times in preparation for my big day. I’d read some book that talks about how different cultures celebrate puberty and periods with young girls so when it happened, I knew what it was.
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I don’t think that traveling with kids will ever be labeled as easy. Ok, when Mini was little, traveling with her was super easy. She was easy. When she was a baby, I would wear her on the flights. She would nurse and sleep through the flight only to wake up and be pleasant. When she started to walk, she would pull her own car seat to the gate. She’s a pro.
But now I have THREE children so traveling isn’t that easy breezy. But there are some tips that I’ve picked up along the way to streamline this as much as possible.
5 Pro-Tips To Traveling With Kids
1. Pack snacks. Lots of snacks.
This is super important whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile. When flying, this can be tricky because of all the regulations so make sure you check those first but cars? I love the idea of filling the craft box with snacks. Some people hate the idea but it works for us since we have some serious snackers.
When your kids are president and vice president of team eat and you’re about to hit the road you’ve got to properly prepare… Snack packs for each because I’m not here for the fighting and shenanigans. So excited to be road tripping in the 2016 @mitsucars Outlander Sport!!! #tcmtravels #TeamEat #travelingwithkids #snackpacks #healthysnacks #snacks #roadtrip #craftymom #drivemitsubishi
2. Make sure all electronics are charged.
Sure, we don’t want our kids to have crazy amounts of screen time but listen, if you have a choice between your kids terrorizing other travelers what are you choosing? My choice is Peppa Pig. But make sure that those electronics are fully charged AND you have headphones made for children. I love the Amazon Kindle and these here headphones since they’re cute and the girls look so cute wearing them.
3. Make sure you have age appropriate entertainment packed.
As much as we wish the kids would sit and watch whatever entertainment is available for them on their tablets, they won’t because, well, kids. Inside of their travel bags make sure to have back up games and forms of entertainment.
This age range is pretty easy. They typically want to be held or snuggled or nursed. But they do like to be entertained and like to chew things—especially when teething. We love this rattle and it keeps BC entertained.
Toddlers & Preschoolers
These guys are the hardest to entertain. I mean, at my age it’s super hard to sit still for all the time it takes traveling so for them I know it’s really difficult–and they make sure we know. But since we homeschool it’s also a pretty good time to get some quality learning in. I love the Highlight’s Activity Book for ABC. It’s colorful and makes it easy for me to make sure she’s getting some learning done. These also come in different age ranges so it’s available for others.
If you have a preschooler plus an older one <insert my current set up> having the older one play games with them is a great way to distract them. I love this sneaky game that also teaches kids to look out for patterns while they play.
Ages 5 and up
If I’m being completely honest, I think they should already have their bags packed with the things they need to entertain themselves–right? But I do like introducing new and fun educational games to my kids while we’re on the go. One of the newest ones that Mini has are these Mental Blox. It works their critical thinking skills which is really one of those life long skills they need to make sure are properly honed.
If you’re kids have tablets that are compatible with either Google Play or the Apple App Store, they’ll love this interactive coloring book. This is NOT your basic coloring book!! My kids creations come to life and they love it.
4. Set proper expectations for travel.
Yes, this means be proactive with the “Are we there yet?” questions. Let them know how long the trip will take, how you’re getting there, and give frequent updates. When I roadtripped with all the kids to go speak at Blog Life University 4 weeks after giving birth, I shared with Mini how nervous I was about the drive with the 3 of them by myself. Do you know that was the easiest road trip ever? Share with your kids any emotions surrounding travel as well so they can help if they’re old enough to.
5. Pack treats for yourself.
I know this is about making travel easier with kids but let’s be real here, if the parentals aren’t 100% ready to tackle the trip, all hell will break loose. Travel is stressful so make sure you take the edge off by packing snacks that are just for you and making sure you have your activities as well. I just finished downloading my audio books to my phone so I don’t have to worry about whether I can stream or not. I also have a wireless earbud so that I can listen freely while still keeping an ear out for my minions.
Do you travel with your kids often? What tips do you have?
I was in here snuggling with BC, who is now 12 weeks old, when Mini came in. She smells the air and makes this silly face while saying “Oh my goodness! It smells sooooo good in here!” And it hits me in the face that in my head she’s still BC’s age but she’s not. She’ll be 8 in a few months excuse me as a I go cry in a corner and I’ve got to see her as such. This parenting as they grow up is, well, a challenge.
Our Babies Won’t Stay Babies Forever
This is something I struggle with often. When I see both Mini and abc, they’re still BC’s size and age. In my head I have 3 babies but that’s not my reality. I have a baby, an almost not toddler, and an almost tween. Laaaaaaawwwwd help me!!!!!
They’re all growing up beautifully too. Mini is this wonderfully helpful and well spoken little girl. Right now we’re going through a power struggle as she’s trying to define what it means so to be herself as she gets older. And abc? I know I shouldn’t be flabbergasted that this child speaks in soliloquies like her sister but every time she opens her mouth and Martian doesn’t come out I find myself surprised. Why? I’m not sure lol! She’s the friendliest of them all and doesn’t meet a stranger. If you get talked up by a toddler in it might be her.
Changing My Parenting Styles As They Grow Up
It’s funny, people always look at me with an infant and wonder how I’m sleeping at night. He’s the easy one and we sleep mighty well. I’ve lost more sleep over my parenting as they grow up then any other time–including pregnancy.
I want them to feel loved.
Growing up isn’t easy. I literally just looked at my husband the other night and sighed at how crazy this being an adult thing was. But both the girls are going through some rather tough times right now and although it’s stressing me out, I want them to feel and know they are loved through all the fussing I do.
They need space.
And I know this. I wouldn’t identify myself as a helicopter parent but I’m not going to give them tooooooooo much space. But they do need more space to figure out who they are in the world and what that looks like on them. ABC is learning her boundaries and that she has choices. Mini is finding out that people are mean but that it doesn’t mean she has to be. While I want to control the outcomes of these learning experiences, I can’t.
They need to be able to know they can come to me.
Whether it’s with a question, for help, a hug or to just be, they will always need to be able to come back to me. This is something I struggle to remember–that they’ll always need me. I’m sometimes scared to release my hold on them fearing that they’ll discover they don’t need me. But even at 34 I still call my mom and dad for help or to have them just listen as I cry on the phone.
I️ still remember one of the first times after having mini that I needed my mom to come. I was a single mom with her and had no one that could watch her after she’d gotten sick on her birthday. I called my mom early afternoon and before midnight she was walking through my bedroom door. And then when I was pregnant with abc I went into early labor and I was on the phone with my mom as I went to the doctors office and then drove myself to the hospital. She was in town in time to pick Mini up from school. Moms are always needed so it’s silly of me to fear mine won’t need me.
They need to know we trust them.
This one is so big. As parents we work so hard to instill these stellar integrity and character in our kids and we need to not only trust that we did a good job but also trust them to make the right decisions. And if they don’t, we need to still be there to help guide them through–not to say I told you so. This is hard.
Again, I wouldn’t identify myself as a helicopter parent but I’m definitely in tune with what’s going on with them. I’m learning how to adjust the style of my parenting as they grow up because I’m committed to raising amazing adults–not children.
Parents! What adjustments have you had to make in parenting as they grow up? Any tips or tricks?
As I sit here writing this, I’m nursing my 1 week old holding back the tears from feeling like a failing mama. People who know me tell me that I’m far from failing my children but in the day to day, I feel otherwise. I’m an adult often plagued with issues that were planted in my childhood. In fact, I often joke with my brother that my measure of parenting success is by how many issues my own kids present to their therapists that are rooted in things I struggled with as their mom. The truth of the matter is is that even though this is my third time having a newborn, I’m extremely overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed With Love
My goodness. There’s nothing like the little people that your body makes. All throughout each of my pregnancies I was so excited to meet these creations that were bumbling in my stomach. And then when they come out I fall head over heels in love with them. Each of their perfect little fingers, toes, cheeks, eyes, all of them. They are each so perfect in their own way.
Overwhelmed With Fear
The world we live in today doesn’t love my children though and that frightens me. The world doesn’t see my babies as babies. The world sees them as angry black women in the making or tiny threats to be eliminated. My perfect, precocious children aren’t seen as the beautiful beings that they are. I just want them to have the opportunity to be great and positively influence the world we live in.
Overwhelmed With Duty
Motherhood is hard with one child. More than one child? My goodness. I don’t know how the Duggars do it. At the end of the day I want to feel good about the job I’ve done as a mom and lately I haven’t felt like that. I strive to be a mom who has her shit together most days. Waking up before the kids, having our lesson plans done, meal plans completed and executed, fun outing done, bedtime routine started with no problems. This is my daily goal. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to expect this daily with an infant in tow but these are still goals.
I want to be the kind of mom where my kids look back on their childhood with happiness. Pregnancy was tough on our household and so far this fourth trimester is a little rough as well. Healing from pushing out a baby in your almost mid 30s is way different than in your 20s. Again, I know it’s only been a week and I should adjust my expectations accordingly but I just love my kids so much I want them to know that. Every time I see their little faces fill with disappointment or sadness because I yelled or fussed I feel like I’ve failed.
Overwhelmed With Anxiety
I tend to struggle with anxiety anyway but after I have my children I have a moment where I lose faith in my God, my sight and my ability to walk in my gifts to fulfill my dreams. I’m pretty sure I “what if” until the cows come home and it’s worse now that I work for myself. But anxiety happens.
Overwhelmed With Expectations
My kids expect me to entertain them. My husband expects me to be, well, me. My family expects me to be available all the time for them. Friends expect me to want to share my last born freely. I expect myself to be fully operational like I was before I got pregnant. I feel like I’m failing all of them.
That’s how it feels to add another baby to the picture. I know that this feeling will pass. I know that I’ll get it together and will be successful but even as a seasoned mom, I am overwhelmed. I want first time moms to know that you aren’t alone and this too shall pass. But how, right?
Know What You Need
This is hard to know. I’ve been asked countless times what I need and honestly, I need time. But what you might need is someone to go grocery shopping for you or bring over food or take your other children or clean your house. Take inventory on what it is that would bring you peace.
Ask For What You Need
This is normally the hardest part. When you have a baby, people want to come over and hold the baby, talk about the baby, and make everything about the baby. If this isn’t what you determined you need, ask for what it is you need instead. This can be hard but for your peace of mind you need to do it. Ask someone to grab some groceries for you. Set up a meal-train. Make the ask.
Set Necessary Boundaries
This is hard if you’re a people pleaser like me but will pay off in the long run. Post baby my phone has been ringing off the hook. Anyone who knows me (or just reads my blog) knows I don’t like talking on the phone. I received a text asking me when is a good time talk. In the midst of now 3 kids, homeschooling, being a wife, and trying to figure out who I am as a mom of 3, I don’t have the bandwidth to just be chatting on the phone. This is a hard and emotional transition for me and I had to set a boundary while just saying “no”. No is a complete sentence that requires no additional explanation. Protect your peace.
Have Other Kids? Planning Is Your Friend
I remember after I had abc I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to handle these two kids by myself. I consulted Pinterest and had activities planned for after I picked Mini up from school. The more I planned the more control I felt I had over my situation and the less anxious I felt. Pinterest is your friend. Craft stores are your friends. Playgrounds and all that jazz are good. Sure, it’s hard to get out the house with all the kids but you’ll make it.
This was way longer than I intended it to be but I hope it helps someone. As my own feelings of overwhelm fade and I regain some semblance of confidence and control I’ll update this with more tips. Till then, remember you aren’t alone.
Just like with everything, having access to certain information will set you up for success with breastfeeding. I remember reading an article about parents that were being charged with manslaughter after their baby died because the mom mixed her breastmilk with water to stretch it. When asked why she did it, it was because she didn’t know any better. This hurt my heart because there are so many resources out there to help.
My Favorite Breastfeeding Resources
The internet rules the world and most of my resources can be found here:
I think one of my favorite resources has been other mothers who’ve breastfed. There’s nothing like having the real world experience from another mother–though you have to be careful with this. Some moms like to give horror stories or act as though their way is the only way which can be discouraging. Get a group of some quality breastfriends and rock out.
It’s Time For A Giveaway!!!
Because I love you and want the best for you and your babies, it’s time for a giveaway. Entering is super easy and prize pack is amazing! Here’s what you can win:
1 dock a tot
1 of each of the gifts from the previous weeks ($25 gift card to milky mama, liquid pack, boobie pack from anna natural)
1 jujube diaper bag
Rockabye baby lullabye cd
$25 GC to happy mango
This is worth over $600!!!
So how do you enter? This is a flash giveaway so you need to do it ASAP. Head on over to the Happy Mango Instagram page and find the giveaway photo. It’s as easy as that!