Nobody warned me that being a Mum meant less cuddling and more logistics. With two kids I spend half of my waking hours making schedules, keeping appointments, crossing out lists, doing errands, picking someone up, being late to pick someone up, writing reminders… It comes as no surprise, that the prospect of planning a trip no longer excites me. I still want to travel, I just no longer want to plan it.
Scr*w you plans…
Since having kids, all I do is throw you away.
A few days into our trip after I had made everyone miserable because we were always late. I went from three sights on our first family trip, reduced it to two, admitted even that was too much. Now we do one. Maybe. Unless like a goldfish we lose focus and we run into something that interests us more.
I barely have time to pack.
There are always a hundred and one thing on my list called “things to do before we leave“. It doesn’t matter if we’ll be gone for a weekend, a week or almost a month. I put off packing, till the last possible minute because I am too busy with other chores.
Have I vacuumed, god forbid something happened to us, I don’t want the first thing people say to be: “That’s terrible, but come on, look at this place.”
Have I asked our neighbor to pick up our mail?
Are our passports really still valid? (BTW, I have a slight case of OCD when it comes to passports and wallets) I check them all the way to the airport.
Have we returned our books to the library?
I’ve had it.
I ran four calendars. I am on top of doctors’ appointments, school activities, meetings, birthday parties and I manage to breathe in between.
I kick the kids out of their beds every morning (they return the favor on weekends). I run around them, annoying them with my: Hurry, please hurry, do you understand that I will be late. I have to get to work. Can you put your shoes on, please put your jacket on. No, you can’t leave without a jacket. Put the darn jacket on, or I will kill you. Then resignedly: “Fine, go without the jacket.”
Day in and day out.
On my days off, no matter how we decide to spend them, I am not bugging my kids or myself. Scr*w you plans. I don’t even want to set the alarm. I am only setting if it means I’ll be late for the plane to get me to my destination.
Goodbye routine, goodbye plans
We sleep in late, we eat pizza at the beach, we catch or don’t some nap time when we drive around. We have dinner at nine and don’t crawl back to bed by ten.
I don’t care.
We left the routine back at home, I no longer have problems leaving plans behind either.
We are going to stop right now
I don’t want to feel guilty for having our breakfast when we should be queuing for the museum. We’ll get there, eventually. If we don’t it means we had found something better.
Maybe a place that the guidebook forgot to mention in the top 10 must see places. That’s exactly how we discovered this beach in Scotland.
We’ll skip the gallery altogether, we’ll spend an hour at the local playground and miss getting into the Castle, we’ll escape the crowds of the big city for the silence and ease of remote villages.
Might head up in the morning and just drive to wherever strikes our fancy, stop at places that inspire us.
Because we AREN’T missing out on anything
Despite not visiting all the sights the guide book mentions, we have fun with those that we do get to see. We can take time to explore or change our minds and leave quickly. My kids taught me there is no right or wrong way of traveling, only the way that we as a family enjoy.
Ah, fine, I admit, I’ll still make plans…
I am finally (albeit) slowly letting go, screw you Lonely Planet as well and am now determined to make lose plans (I know) that give us enough of freedom to enjoy our time together and still explore.