This is probably universally understood: my day consists of work, home and kids. Then repeat. Keep repeating. Indefinitely. You get me, we are probably in it together.
Bottom line, when I have the days off, sure, I want to travel, but at the same time I kind of wish the travel would be switching from lounging on our stained couch to lounging on a better one somewhere else.
I want to travel and relax. Hence, I devised a lazy parent’s guide to travel with kids. It includes it all and adds the fun.
Lazy Parent’s Guide to Travel starts with scr*w plans
It used to be different. Making plans usually made me feel as if pure excitement rushed through my veins. It was a time when I’d tap my leg in the rhythm of joy only I could understand. I had all the guide books ever written and I made plans as grand and seemingly impossible to do as the completion of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. And the two of us did it. Without a fault.
But then came the kids.
All my well thought out plans started crumbling like a cake you take out of the oven too quickly, which I do with every cake I ever baked. (Not many)
I persevered. It was the one time, the only time, I shouldn’t have.
I still planned + I nagged = nobody was having fun. My husband and two tots slouched either before me or behind me, for the umpteenth time, saying: ‘This is so boring. Why can’t we go to the beach.’
And we were so past our schedule, I was waiting for someone to disqualify us. As if this travel thing was a competition. It’s as if I had to prove at the border I have seen all the national treasures to be allowed to leave.
Then it hit me. Yeah, why can’t we go to the beach.
I have learned to say scr*w you plans.
schedule this – nothing
Goes without saying. I still make general schedules. She says humbly. But now they are as ambitious as if a runner’s only goal was to arrive to the marathon.
Packing is like having to take a Calculus test on your last period, on a Friday. Yes, there is a whole weekend ahead. But until you have the results of the test, you’ll spend your time obsessing if the right answer was under A or B.
Then there is this horrible feeling of utter despair that hits me like a punch straight to the gut, when I realize I have no clue if in fact I put those sweaters for the kids in the bag. 200 kilometers away from home. On a highway. When no one in their right mind would turn around to check it. And I have to put on a brave face, because maybe, just maybe I did.
But after an hour of silently bitting my nails, I’ll turn around and ask: ‘Did anyone remember to bring the sweaters?’
And I’ll be met with three pairs of indifferent eyes and shrugs clearly indicating this is on me.
My husband will add with an exasperated sigh: ‘Looks, like I’ll have to start doing the packing, too.’ As if packing is such a great gift bestowed upon me and I am not grateful enough to be able to appreciate it fully. And he thinks he can do the job better.
But the experience has taught me that the world does truly not fall fall off its axis if I forget to pack a toothbrush, take a sweater, forget slippers.
Actually there is only one thing you can’t forget or you do risk all hell breaking lose.
I worry less. Which shows as I manage to forget more. Still, all good.
I am now so relaxed, that on our last trip to Spain, I left four things in our hotel room. Managed to get it back. See, no need to stress about things.
Kitchen is closed
Imagine this. Small village. French part of Switzerland. Supermarket.
I am in search of a vegetable, I can’t name in any language. I just know I need it to make soup. Husband isn’t helping.
‘What does it look like?’
‘No kidding, half the veggies are green.’
He’s right. And I am going crazy, because I’ll have to settle for canned soup. There goes my award for Mum of the year.
But honestly, who in their right mind and is not Jamie Oliver cooks homemade soup on their travels.
Again, I learned a lesson. We ate the soup from a can and we survived to tell the tale.
These days, I think no soup is good enough when it comes to what we eat while we travel. Fish and chips is a nutritious meal.
Hey, kids get enough vitamins through the whole year, they will survive a week of whatever sounds fun.
Ice cream twice a day? Why not.
Otherwise we might just stay at home and cook.
Boy, was I strict about bed time. I even made me and hubby take a nap at noon when we went to Iceland. Alone.
I needed two days I let it go.
Tom Cruise had nothing on me. Do you know what mission impossible really is? Maintaining bed time while traveling, changing time zones… I tried. I promise I did.
Until, I realized that if I laid back a little, kids weren’t doomed for all eternity and would not keep waking up in the middle of the night and go to bed at five in the afternoon once we got home.
I stopped looking at the watch. If they fall asleep in the car, while we are driving, great. But I no longer threaten them with all they hold dear to do it.
I no longer make us get up in the morning or go to bed before it turns dark. And it is so much better.
There you have it our little lazy parent’s guide to travel with kids. Most importantly relax, have fun and you’ll see how great it truly easy to travel with kids and make memories to last you a life time. Especially if it’s not all planned out, if you do forget somethings, if you do eat too much ice cream – it all adds to an unforgettable adventure.