I just returned from bringing my three boys on a road trip. For two weeks, it was simply mama and sons, and for week three, my husband joined. During the “solo” part of our journey, I learned a lot about myself, about my kids, about traveling, and about life. Here’s what I took from our road trip adventure.
- Yes, I’m crazy
I have three boys under five. Everyone who saw me shuffling the kids around stared puzzled- like why on earth would I venture over 1,500 miles staying at over ten hotels with little kids? The answer is simple: because I’m crazy …but a good kind of crazy. I desire to instill a love for travel in my boys, and I don’t think it’s too early to do so. I want to fuel their curiosity and expose them to things they wouldn’t normally experience. Most of all- I want them to see the adventure in me; taking note that their mom values escaping our normal routine.
So yes, call me crazy- it’s a compliment.
- It’s the simple things
We’re often consumed with planning extravagant vacations to pricey, populated places, or venturing via plane somewhere far, far away, but truth is- it’s sometimes unnecessary. And so, while venturing through California, I learned it doesn’t take much to keep them happy, entertained and busy.
They found pure joy spotting a playground from our car window- thrilled when I pulled over to let them play. One late afternoon, we discovered an untouched beach. At night, we often roasted s’mores and played Uno in our PJs. I learned the cliché is very true: simple things are often the most memorable.
- Cater activities to age
My approach in planning our itinerary was catering to their ages and interests, selecting activities that were out of the norm like olallieberry picking, touring a Clydesdale ranch, visiting a goat cheese creamery, and more. I savored their awe and enjoyment in the age-appropriate entertainment, knowing their youthful spirits wouldn’t forever appreciate the tailored activities.
- Wine matters
While doing stuff for the kids was my top priority, I gifted myself a glass of vino on a near nightly basis. I needed it. I deserved it. And it tasted SO good. Road-tripping with littles can be extremely draining- both physically and mentally- so my dose of sweet sipping was delightfully delicious.
- Small living quarters can be difficult, but oh-so-sweet
For three weeks, we crammed into hotel rooms, shared beds, and never got any privacy. Sounds fun, right? Well, it was. I got to rotate sleeping with my kids, giving each of them special mommy snuggle time. Also, the boys fell asleep whispering to one another, and hearing the sound of their laughter warmed every ounce inside me.
- My patience reached a new level
Surely, I lost my cool… a lot. It’s not normal to never truly be alone for three weeks straight. And truth be told, the boys had their moments testing my patience. However, I gave into myself… I’m human… and when I did get overly annoyed, I expressed it to them (as calm as possible). Sure, I may have come across hard at times, but we eventually re-gathered, hugged, and moved on.
- Get them involved
The boys wanted to feel involved in the whole road-trip process, and so ordered paper maps of California and they helped plot our trip. We also played educational “games” in the car… I’d tell them when to look for highway turnoffs (like the 101), specific street signs, and they “helped me” count miles while following directions.
- Finding my inner kid
When we went olallieberry picking, we got a tour of the working farm and came across a rope swing that swung high over a creek. (My five-year-old was all over it.) Before we left, I decided I wanted to take a swing, and as embarrassing as it was, I let him nudge me up and push meback and forth. The boys laughed, and I smiled… that pure youthful smile we often lose as we grow up. It was then, and often throughout our journey, I let my inner child come out to play- surrendering the whole mom thing and simply being a kid with my kids.
Written by: Nadine Bubeck
Nadine Bubeck is a TV Personality, author, lifestyle blogger, and fashion designer, having founded Mama B. Designs: boutique apparel that benefits March of Dimes. The Valley-based parenting contributor is a blessed boy mom times three. (nadinebubeck.com)