Having a baby doesn’t automatically mean your traveling days are over.
When you announce your pregnancy you will inevitably hear a “congratulations” followed by their eyes dropping, a shaking of their heads and the warning “things will never be the same”. Friends, coworkers, family, and even grocery store clerks all seem to have this forlorn attitude. As true as the statement may be, the gloom they attach to the words is completely unnecessary.
My favorite comment of all came from those who knew us personally stating, “your traveling days are over”. Maybe it’s the stubborn woman inside that refuses to give up one of her biggest joys in life in order to have a child, but I simply cannot accept this way of thinking.
I’m not sure how this “you have to now give up everything” mentality came from. It’s a lie that seems all too common and repeated by so many. Maybe it was promoted by those who don’t have children, thinking children would ruin their current lifestyle. (???)
I’ve heard some moms speak these words essentially blaming their children they had at a young age for the lives they feel they can no longer have. If you are in this boat, remember that an adventure seeking lifestyle is a way of thinking, a way of life. It can encompass your everyday and doesn’t depend on monetary means or circumstances.
Nevertheless, people have their reasons for repeating this negative slogan, but all these ugly opinions negatively impacted my pregnancy.
My husband and I loved to travel.
We waited to have children so that we could travel. But now that we had decided to expand our family, “our fun days were behind us”, so they said. The problem was, I had tasted what traveling was all about, and I had fallen in love.
I’ll never forget sitting on the couch and talking to my husband about this very topic, upset with people’s opinions and comments and he simply said ‘our traveling is over when we want it to be over’ and I’m sure he could sense my relief. His comment was so simple and yet so true. I wasn’t ready for our travels to be behind us, as some sort of glory day memory. I wanted to continue to explore this world and all it has to offer and bring my child right along with me.
As the months went on, we made a promise that we would include our baby in an adventure seeking lifestyle from day one.
It’s true that traveling can be financially difficult with a family. Expenses are higher, an obvious fact. Beyond the monetary strain, enters the energy it takes. Getting from point A to point B is not as simple as it once was. And these statements are not merely opinions, these are in fact, FACTS. It’s a fact that your child will be screaming on a plane at some point. It’s a fact that your baby will be exhausted, just as you are, from the duration of traveling. It is a fact that eating out will not always be relaxing. But I refuse to be paralyzed by these facts.
I Don’t Believe that you can’t have your Cake and Eat it too.
Those of you mommas wanting to travel abroad, experience new cultures, taste authentic foods, and dance to new rhythms can and should make it your goal, your priority. For those moms finding the expense too great, make it your goal to find ways to save! Be determined to put your dollars towards something greater than every day life.
In the end, we might choose different trips than we once did. It is true that hiking the alps, using cramp-ons to walk on glaciers in New Zealand may not be the best idea when packing a toddler on our back. We may choose New Zealand beaches instead or schedule in moderate day hikes, many of which NZ has to offer. Our trips might not be as elaborate and jam-packed as they once were. Life is slower and this isn’t a bad thing.
We now explore new sights with flexibility. We leave options open for staying back at the hotel if we need to rest or we decide an early bed time might benefit us all for the next planned day. Now we often feel more rested from our vacations rather than constantly feeling rushed.
We take it easy while traveling, enjoying the here and now. Less hotel switches, no time constraints and days are not crammed with things to see. Sure, we might experience less but what we do see and experience is quality time spent. Rushing through anything in life is always foolish, and this easy-going attitude is one we are slowing learning as parents.
Qualities traveling as a Mom has helped me and my Baby develop.
I can’t tell you all the qualities being a new mom has helped me improve upon, because they are innumerable. I can say my patience has reached levels I never knew to be possible. Patience not only with my baby, but patience with my family members, my husband and even with myself. I no long expect perfection from people.
On a vacation, things are bound to go wrong. With patience, I’m able to focus on more important things as a mom, rather than focusing on unfulfilled expectations.
Forgiveness is a quality that has never been so important. I find I am constantly making mistakes as a new mom. Figuring out what works and constantly what doesn’t. I have to learn how to forgive myself. Seeing how other families raise their children, seeing moms around world and fighting the same fights gives me peace of mind that we are all doing our absolute best. We all struggle to train our children and this helps me to see I’m not alone.
My love has grown so incredibly strong since becoming a mom. This seems like an obvious quality we all develop as new parents, but watching my child experience new things, new cultures, states and countries, makes me fall in love with her and traveling all over again. I can see her interest and since her excitement when she sees something new or tastes something delicious. I love watching her curiosity grow with every trip we take. Our falling in love with the world and with each other is profoundly why we all seek adventure: growing our understanding of something more than ourselves.
These qualities I had to a certain extent prior to being a mom, but now they have reached a new level, one that I’m not sure I ever would have understood without being a mom. And as I certainly can see how we can develop all these beautiful qualities as parents even in our own home town, I feel these are better experienced around the world. These qualities are better experienced when put into situations where you have to be adaptable, patient and more understanding. Forgiveness and love grow as we go on vacations with one another, spending day in and day out as a family making memories to share.
Some will say they are waiting for their children to grow up so as for them to have the memory of travel. And as I can understand where they are coming from, I don’t feel this is a valid reason for staying put. I look back on some of the pictures my parents took of me as a baby, dipping my toes into the Atlantic ocean, and though I don’t have the direct memory of this experience, I do feel it shaped me.
Traveling with babies teaches them how to be calm, easy-going and adaptable. They learn habits from a very young age. If we keep them home for years on end, they may will not enjoy traveling when they are of the age to remember. Chances are, they will prefer to stay put, in their comfort zone.
We want our baby to experience something greater than herself, even at a young age. Exploring different areas and ways of life will help mold her into the kind of woman we could only hope to be, compassionate, understanding, adventurous, adaptable and the list goes on. Being brought up by parents who live to experience new sights, smells, tastes and ways of life will help our daughter to become one who loves all sorts and can appreciate all races and backgrounds.
Our traveling days are certainly not over, they’ve just begun. We will continue to explore this earth for as long as God, our creator will allow and this starts now.