The Obsessive Mother's Guide to Parenting
Parenting tips and tricsk to lighten the load of motherhood.
Road Trip with Little Ones - Please Help!
We are going to drive to Wisconsin on our summer vacation this year instead of flying. We think our boys are old enough for a long car trip and are looking forward to seeing the sights along the way. My problem is, this is my first road trip and I don’t know what to expect. I keep having a nightmare where I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere and completely out of diapers. Any tips or ideas? - Traveling Mom
We “nest makers” do tend to feel that primitive worry when faced with moving nests, traveling nests, and vacation nests. It’s perfectly normal to be apprehensive and hopefully with a little “Obsessive”planning, you’ll be able to get back to sleep tonight. (“Obsessive” traveling means almost every eventuality is prepared for – hungry, thirst, potty accidents…etc. It means everything is within reach and the driver and kids are happy. It means you arrive with everything you need and can make a new, yet comfortably familiar, nest for your family anytime, anyplace anywhere.)
First, on vacation, all parents are equal. There is no“working parent… at home parent….”. Both you and your husband need to come to that conclusion before the trip starts so there is no overworked parent resenting the vacationing parent. Divvy up the “sleeping-in” mornings fairly and remember that “work” is one of the love languages.
Next decision is who will be the driver and who will be the co-pilot. (There are no genders associated with these roles. There are Alpha Moms and SAH Dad’s, too. It’s about what works best for your family.)
Here are their respective duties:
- Several days prior to the trip: fix / have changed / have inspected: tires, oil, battery, inspection stickers, licenses, brake & head lights, car washed, anything car related. Map out optimal route and research good breaks, averaging a couple hours of driving and then a 20 minute stretch break / potty break / snack break for all.
- Research and make reservations at kid-friendly stops along the way. (I highly recommend the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. From Houston to Dallas is a decent 4+ hour stretch. Spend a night at the Lodge and let the kids play the next day. It’s their vacation too. We were in Dallas for my husband’s best friend’s graduation in early May. I wasn’t going to subject the kids to sitting through the ceremony. We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge while my husband went to the program and had the time of our lives. It was the Emerald City on our Yellow Brick Road. The rooms were clean. The whole place is kid-friendly and my two year old still asks me every day when we will go back.)
- Make the first leg of your journey a short one, ending up in a metropolis of decent size. If there are any kinks in your packing or in the travel-worthiness of your vehicle, you can correct those issues right then.
- Driver packs self and either packs or provides a list for the co-pilot of preferred road snacks and drinks, music, or audio tapes. The night before the trip, gets an excellent night’s sleep.
- The driver drives to the destination. (Repeat or trade for the drive home)
- Makes individual lists for each traveler including all personal hygiene products all the way down to the possible shoes / sandals / boots needed for the trip.
- Packs / supervises packing for each traveler. Makes sure everything that could be asked for is within reach while in the co-pilot chair, especially wipes & drinks.
- Remember: pack-n-go, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, sippy cups, love-ees, pillows and blankets. (Having travel cups with lids is a lifesaver for those bumps in the road. Justwater, no milk or juice in sippy cups. Inevitably a cup will roll under a seat and get forgotten about. If it’s filled with milk, the rancid smell will make further travel aromatically unbearable).
- Pack a portable kids potty in the back of your vehicle and have plastic bags and wipes nearby. (Not all restrooms are kid friendly nor necessarily available when you hear that, “I gotta go potty” plea from the back seat.)
- For at least an hour before the kids are supposed to get in the car, play them HARD. Run the kids up and down the street, around the block, ride bikes, jump rope…. anything that gets them moving.
- Do not let the kids watch any TV all day, so the DVD in the car is a treat and they’re not over exposed to the “boob-tube” all day.
- Plan for the kids to fall asleep. Unless you have an infant in one of those 5 point harness reclining car seats, chances are you’ll have some bobbing sleeping heads and sore necks of your kiddos. Stack pillows high enough between their car seats so they can lay their head down without coming out from under the seat belt.
- And finally for the both of you, enjoy this time together. Pick up a copy of The Book Of Questions by Gregory Stock and enjoy asking and answering as you drive. Don’t let anything get you down. If traffic backs up with an accident, pull off at the closest exit and explore where you have landed. Have a picnic or take a nap.
Sleep well tonight Traveling Mom. Pack extra batteries for the camera and a slinky nightgown for “quality time with your husband” when the kids are asleep. Revel in this precious time in your family’s life and as always, be “Obsessively” prepared!