My Secrets to Being a Cool Travel Mom
I recently attended a travel conference in Denver and a colleague that I hadn’t seen in a few years came up to me and asked if I had any family travel tips and how I was such a cool travel mom. She was now expecting her first child and didn’t want her current world to completely change, ie. She still wanted to be able to travel.
I hear this a lot. From Facebook groups for women who love to travel to Instagram comments after I post a photo to me and Augustine on a hike, to other professional organizations, it seems that we’re at a time in our lives when more and more people are having kids and they don’t know how that is going to change their lives.
(I think the older one gets, and the more routine (or lack of routine) gets set in place, the idea of having children disrupt this is quite frightening. I’ve known many people who just throw their hands up and say, I’ve missed my opportunity to have kids. They just wouldn’t gel with my current lifestyle. And believe me, I get it! I was totally there with you.)
First of all, when my friend mentioned that I was such a “cool travel mom”, I first laughed and shrugged and thanked her. Inside I was high-fiving myself for putting on the appearance that I had it all figured out and could even tell anyone my family travel tips. Because believe me- there are many days when our lives feel anything but put together and cool.
But truthfully, I am pretty proud of me and Bob for “trying to do it all” while navigating this first year of parenthood.
We’ve had dozens of people DM us online or ask us in person how we’re able to do it and it boils down to one simple idea:
Do all you can do with a positive mindset.
And I know what you’re thinking: yeah, right! Jade, be honest with us- what is the actual secret,?! But I’m serious. I’m not one of those people who always believes in the power of positive thinking or don’t smirk with doubt when I see those self help gurus. But this seriously is our trick to it ‘doing it all’.
While some parents don’t want to remove their children from the protective circle of their house and closest friends, we just do. (with necessary precautions, of course)
9 days after she was born we went and watched the sunset near Venice pier. I remember this was also my first time breastfeeding in public and it was totally terrifying and overwhelmingly awesome all at the same time. We forgot the pacifier and didn’t bring wipes, but we got through it and we all survived.
We took Augustine on her first trip (8 hours away) when she was 6 weeks old. And she was an angel. She didn’t know that we weren’t at our house or that it was anything but normal. We still feed her, bathe her and dressed her and she slept a lot. All things that make any baby happy at 6 weeks old.
She went to her first beachside fire pit party at 8 weeks old and her first concert to watch Bob perform at 10 weeks old. Sure, we bundled her up extra warm for the beach party and brought along infant ear covers for the concert but other than taking a few precautions we just took her with us. And guess what? We messed up. We forgot diapers- oops- and had to ask a stranger on the beach for one. It was a size 5 and Augustine was in a size 1 but guess what? It worked and we were all fine.
We didn’t wait to take her on a flight, heck I think we waited too long, and she had her first set of wings at almost 4 months old. Again, I bottled her up and she slept for the entire transcontinental flight. Most of the other passengers near us didn’t even know I had a baby with me!
Her first kayak trip was at 5.5 months old in Utah– stuff those arms through the infant life vest and you’re on your way! (She even fell asleep as we paddled)
She has been to 10 states, on 22 flights, 7 road trips, 32 hikes, 3 kayaks, 2 floats in the river, dipped her toes in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico all before the age of 9 Months old.
And the thing is, she is the happiest baby.
She goes with the flow, loves meeting new people, doesn’t flitch when trying new foods and can sleep almost anywhere (train, boat, car and plane). And because we just got out and did stuff, the three of us have some pretty awesome, completely once in a lifetime experiences under our belts.
Now, obviously there are sacrifices.
Big ones. Bob can’t perform every night of the week, because he doesn’t want to be away from Augustine that much. I can’t take a spontaneous trip somewhere alone because we need to figure out how Augustine could either go with me or stay home with Bob. We don’t have family nearby, so we can’t just drop her off at their house for movie nights or concerts. Things take a little more planning and consideration but most things can still be done.
Even with the sacrifices, we try to approach every situation with a positive mindset.
We also try to make every situation as much fun as possible for all of us.
Trip to float down the river? Let’s bring ridiculously fun floats and take tons of pictures. (And bring the Grandma to watch over Augustine after said photo opp so we can enjoy a little us time for two hours) Trip to the pumpkin patch? Sure- let’s bring some costumes. Long Road Trip? Let’s plot out fun pit stops where we’ll be able to stretch our legs and snap some photos. Going to the beach? Let’s bring matching towels and fun sunglasses for Augustine to play with.
So there you have it, our super secret, totally confidential way that we are trying to do it all and be cool travel parents. Do you have any tips for other traveling parents? Know of a great way to keep your kid occupied on a plane? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
*Also, it should be noted that the real secret is having an awesome partner who has so much patience, kindness and excitement to see Augustine thrive and have fun. He also knows exactly when I need a break (and vice versa) and that partnership is what makes this whole thing work.
And stay tuned for part 2 of How to Be a Cool Travel Mom, where we’ll talk about what to pack for baby and mom. Also, Augustine and I are toying with the idea of a mother/daughter vlog! Would that be fun or too crazy? haha. We’ll test out filming a few and see how it goes. I think it could be really fun.