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  • khebertlcsw

The Co-Captain

Updated: May 31, 2023

There is something about vacationing as a mother that is equally exciting and terrifying. My moods can be on overdrive and even I am unaware which one will surface on any given day leading up to our grand departure. As a mom, there is this fine line between the blessing of preparation and truly obsessing over what is needing to be ordered and how early do I start. Cue the Amazon cart and 20 sticky notes. Anyone else watching the weather forecast like a maniac. This girl right here!

Why are we doing all of this??

Well, the obvious answer would be ... so the trip goes smoothly, and we are able to relax and have fun! I'm super relaxed - I swear… My husband often, maybe not so subtle, reminds me that the beach has a local Target that is fully equip to handle any of our needs. Yeah, yeah - but not the monogrammed crab outfit do they smarty. :)

After staying up way too late the night before, it's vacation day!!! Andddddd, I'm exhausted, tired, and expecting nothing but smiles and gratitude from my littles. Somehow, I was the last to bed, first awake and last one ready. How in the world does that happen?! How! The biggest issue with me being the last to be ready is the constant reminder from my wonderful hubby “Is your suitcase ready? It’s the biggest and it needs to be packed first.” I know you also have husbands who have an entire science to packing. And I silently send up a prayer as well because, one way or another, it better all fit. Rest assured; we need it ALL!

The kids have all reluctantly participated in the precautionary last minute potty attempts, they are loaded and strapped in, and snacks cups have been distributed. Cheers begin from the back seat as we back out of the driveway and the pureness in their excitement gives me all the momma feels. I, too, am filled with excitement to create memories and allow my kids to have new experiences.

I think that’s part of the privilege and joy in having kids… feeling the excitement through their excitement.

It's the drive that we typically fear, and I must say, requires significant mental preparation. The “how much longer” questions after only being in the car for 30 minutes. The restlessness and boredom that leads to crankiness. The constant request for snacks even though the last request was returned after one bite. The cries for toys that are repeatedly being dropped. The pressure of fighting needed naps. And, here I am. I am riding passenger and assigned to ensure all are fed, content and happy. This task leads to me continuously pole vaulting my body into the backseat to wrangle all the necessary items while shouting at my husband to not wreck.

Can we pause for a second and reminisce on the days of car naps and jamming to our favorite road trip mix?! Yeah… not helpful. In all seriousness, trips can go smoothly or be a complete disaster. We truly never know.

I often think of my husband as the captain of our ship. He announces the departure time, ensures we are locked and loaded, announces the approved stops along the way and transports us to our final destination. I am the co-captain, like many mothers. The one behind the scene. The organizer, the peacekeeper and the snack wrangler. The one who is prepared for all the “just in case” moments. The one taking the pictures rather than being in them. But when all is said and done, when we can’t get the lion king sound track out of our head, when we have completed the voyage… we begin dreaming of the next time. It seems exhausting because it is but isn’t that motherhood. Joyfully exhausting.

I hope the hard moments never steer me away from the adventure because those are the memories we will remember forever. Safe travels, momma!

Travel Tips & Tricks:

1. Leave earlier than normal. You won’t regret it with kids.

2. Pack a small ice chest with goodies for all. Perfect for the breastfeeding momma as well.

3. Instead of the drive thru, consider eating inside. It is less messy and can allow kids to have a break from the car.

4. Keep a travel potty in the car in case of an emergency (for potty trained kids).

5. Save electronics until they are truly needed. Give as little up front as possible and slowing introduce other items.

6. Never forget the joys of car games such as “I spy”, “would you rather” and “the alphabet game.”

7. Get in the backseat for playtime with baby or toddler if need. Avoid pole vaulting 😉

8. Lastly, leave your expectations at the door!

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