It's that time of year where I start daydreaming about the next time my family can get away. Maybe somewhere tropical where sunshine is abundant and outdoor activities are plentiful. We live in the Midwest where seasons are incredibly touchy, causing a whole lot of cabin fever through a large portion of the year. When I think back to the first time we attempted a getaway, I think of all the weird things moms do on their first family vacation with baby because my list was nothing short of extensive (and detailed).
We didn't attempt to try something like this until we were confident we could handle it. There's a lot of things no one will tell you about how anxiety-ridden this whole process can be. Vacations are a lot of work when kids are involved. I spent months researching the perfect place to stay down by the ocean and meticulously drafted page after page of what, and how, this thing would go down. When it came time for the long drive (14 hours), we thought we were ready because I had the plans! Right there! On the papers! Turns out, most babies don't care what's on your summer travel list as long as they maintain their usual baby life (which I really tried to stay true to).
As I look out our window to the dreary street where temperatures are unusually high for this time of year, I can't help but be transported back to that family vacation where some of the best memories were made for the very first time. With that, here are some things I did that I think most moms do when traveling with a baby (or toddler) that's anywhere but home. And for the record, the headaches and stress crying was so worth it.
They Pack Everything
It doesn't matter if it's necessary, just pack it. On our first trip, we took everything from our daughter's blankets to her favorite toys. There was nothing too unimportant for my baby, after all. Since I didn't know how she'd do on such a long trip, I wanted to be sure she'd have the comforts of home with her. Our car was so full, it looked as if we'd packed for a big move. No regrets.
They Insist On Keeping A Schedule
I didn't care what was on our so-called agenda. I made a schedule that included mandatory feedings and naps. Yes, the ocean was within feet and totally awesome but baby needs her sleep, people.
They Hide Food
I was always prepared with snacks and/or formula. At all times. I might've gone without food or water for long amounts of time, but in order for us to have an OK-ish vacation, I had to keep my baby happy. To be honest, I still live my life this way. At any given time I have a fruit bar on my person, just in case of the unplanned need.
They Buy Unnecessary Toys
My baby didn't need the straw hat or cute little flower for her hair. She didn't care about the shells, or the touristy clothing. I did, though. I wanted her to have mementos from her first vacation so even if she doesn't remember any of this when she's older (she doesn't!), she'd have all the stuff I couldn't afford and bought anyway.
They Take Too Many Pictures
Every waking moment of this trip, I took pictures and videos. I Instagrammed and Snapchatted. Facebooked and Tweeted. Some might call it "obsession," but I didn't want to miss a single reaction from my girl, even if there are 800 pictures of her just staring. #sorrynotsorry
They Slather On Tons Of Sunscreen
We went through bottles of the stuff. I mean, you can never be too safe with that baby soft skin, right? Who cares if the thick sunscreen looks like war paint all over her body. No sun's going to ruin this for us, thank you very much.
Baby Proof The Vacation Home
It may seem weird to those who don't get it, but the moment we got our things settled and way before we saw any cool sights, had a meal, or dipped our toes into the ocean, the most important thing I did was baby proof the rental to the best of my ability. It was an unfamiliar place and even though my baby wasn't exactly sprinting at the time, you can't be too safe. Unless you consider tying towels to doorknob handles "too safe." If so, guilty as charged.
They Forget Their Things
OK, so in all the packing of the baby's things (teething rings anyone?), I may have forgotten some of my most important items, such as my bathing suit. But at least the baby had all four of hers, right?
They Daydream Of Another Vacation While Still On One
It's so ironic that much of the time on vacation was spent daydreaming about another, future vacation. It's super stressful to plan one when you have little ones to think about so, after all was said and done, I wanted a getaway alone.
The first family vacation with baby is an important milestone. Despite all the work involved, try to enjoy every minute. Before you know it, they'll be old enough to tell you all the ways they'd rather not hang out with you.