Traveling as new parents has definitely changed things for Vicki and I. While H is only 3 months old, we’ve learned a lot about traveling with him and a lot about how Vicki and I travel. In the past 2 weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to take H on his first trip to the mountains and beach. We’re lucky to live in North Carolina and have these options! While these trips haven’t been “vacations” in the relaxing sense, they’ve been a lot of fun. And we’ve learned a lot about traveling as new parents. Packing isn’t as easy as we thought it would be. We can try to keep on schedule, but that’s probably not going to happen. And, nothing’s going to be perfect…but that’s OK. I wouldn’t change the memories we’ve made for anything!
WAIT, ISN’T PACKING EASY?
We think we’re pretty good packers. OK, let me rephrase that. We think we were pretty good packers. Packing used to be the kind of thing that we could throw together the night before for weekend trips. Maybe it would take a couple of days to pack for a 2 week trip. Well, that’s all changed. We’ve realized a few things about packing for trips as new parents:
1. We pack too much
2. We don’t want to be under prepared, but also have realized that if we forget, we can always buy diapers, wipes, detergent, etc.
3. Clothes, clothes, and more clothes. New borns spit up and have blowouts.
4. What we pack for us doesn’t matter anymore. We’re going to be in athletic shorts and t-shirts most of the time (see #3).
SCHEDULE? WHAT’S THAT?
We are very prompt people. On time is at least 5 minutes early. I guess that’s what I get from marrying a daughter of a retired Air Force Colonel. Well, we’ve learned quickly in these past 2 trips that we can throw our schedules out the window. What typically takes 2.5 hours to drive to the beach took us 4 hours. Stops for food have turned into dinner for us, feeding for him, diaper change, burping, letting the dog out. As new parents we have learned that the journey is part of the fun. It’s no longer “get in the car and get to destination”. We’ve had fun talking, laughing about H, and just enjoying the ride.
The downside to this timing is that we have H on a schedule and it’s really tough to keep when traveling. Not so much when we were at the beach or the mountains, but getting there. The night we left for the beach H was put down to bed at 10pm. He usually is in bed by 7:15, but he somehow managed to sleep through the night!
NOTHING IS GOING TO BE PERFECT
Nothing about traveling as new parents is going to be perfect. And that’s OK. There’s no doubt that traveling without a kid was a lot easier. Pack the bags and go. We could usually do a 3 hour drive without a stop. The car stayed clean (and we aren’t even on solid foods yet) and organized. All of this is OK. The memories that we’ve made more than make up for the “imperfections”. H had his first trip to the beach and mountains within a week of each other. That’s pretty cool. We’ve learned that nice dinners out or grabbing a drink are pretty much non-existent. And that’s OK. We now enjoy cooking and buying a bottle of wine to enjoy at the house!
Our travel lives are definitely different since we became new parents, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. These 2 trips to the mountains and the beach have created some memories that will last our lifetime. Traveling with H has created some excitement that we wouldn’t have had otherwise (looking at you 5 spit up shirts). We’re still learning. And I feel like we’re always going to be learning as parents. From 2 short weeks of travel, we have pictures of H’s first trips to the mountains and the beach. And Vicki and I will be able to talk about how lucky we are to have had these opportunities. Next stop: H’s first flight to Nashville!