Tuesday, May 17, 2011

During Jamie & Celia's maternity leave we asked a few of our favorite moms from around the internet if they would help fill the space with their wisdom. We asked for their thoughts on being a new mom, motherhood in general, or maybe something that really surprised them (no one told me that!). When Shelly asked for a more specific subject, I asked her to talk about travel and mobility, since while making the request she and her family of 5 were in the middle of a 5 week adventure in Costa Rica!!!!! And, traveling with kids in tow has always been of interest to me... Please welcome Shelly!

While pregnant with my first babe, adults would congratulate me on my pregnancy then quickly follow up with a knowing caution of how my life was about to change. I always thought this a very interesting thing to say because: Who really wants their life to remain the same throughout the years anyways…isn’t that the definition of stagnant? Further, I never could understand the often communicated sentiment that once your family started to grow that things the parents enjoyed before having children must be sacrificed once there were children. Would my cherished pleasures like travel to foreign lands, beer and garden tomatoes come to a rude halt once our babe was born?

Birth came and went. And again. And again. Now we are 5. I am happy to report that things have changed and for the better. Things I enjoyed once upon a time, I can honestly say that I enjoy them more now because they are shared (ok, I don’t share a craft beer with my kids yet). One thing we do share, and as often as we can, is travel to foreign lands. The best travels we have had as a family have been when everyone is having a good time together. Honestly, I don’t really want to spend my holiday going to kid venues (boring for me) just as my littlest littles wouldn’t want to explore an art museum for hours on end (boring for them).

Here are my do’s for travel with littles:

Do always be realistic. Camping trips and beach holidays are superb family getaways, city style cafes and museums are not. In nature, kids are offered a venue to explore and get dirty. Meanwhile, I can watch them run while swinging in a hammock with a book and a beer.

Now don’t get me wrong, while travel with family offers so much fun and greatness, it can also be hell at times.

Do remain light and maintain your sense of humor. You know, because you will need it once or twice. The good news is, everything is temporary and after a few minutes the dust always settles.

Do bring needle and thread. Something always needs mending.

Do carry food at all times. When heads come unscrewed, it is almost always because of lack of sleep or hunger.

Do use local babysitters. I cannot stress this one enough…. If you want to do something fun that a little can’t do or you want a date night…. Do it!

Do have as many children as possible. I know this may sound a bit crazy but traveling (abroad and in life) as a gang is so delightful and entertaining in itself for everyone in the family.\

Ultimately, traveling with littles is blissful time spent together punctuated by chaotic messes. The alternative: Not traveling because of the littles is not an option... unless that is, you plan on growing old and cautioning the youth in a condescending manner that reflects on your boring days of yesteryear.


  1. This is refreshing. I'm glad Shelly & her husband are so enthusiastic about traveling with their littles. I don't have kids yet, but I was a child who traveled internationally with her parents - often just mom - and siblings regularly, so I can appreciate it from that standpoint. And I certainly plan to travel with my wee ones, once I have any. :)

  2. I amm already starting to get so many words of warning about "how life will change." I say suck it. Of course it is going to change, but it doesn't have to be for the worse. I love that Shelly and her family are travelling and living life on their terms.

  3. this is my favourite post so far. travel is one of my favourite things to do and i really don't want to stop once children arrive. i like all of Shelley's tips, they're realistic while still being optimistic!

  4. I love this! We refuse to be stopped from travelling because we have two bubs. Have babies, will travel. Of course, we'll see how it actually works in practise!

  5. This is a great post...Thanks for sharing!