From the time I was 15-years-old I knew life on a cul-de-sac was not for me. In fact, I dreamed of roaming the world and settling somewhere non-traditional. Coming from a great, warm family, I knew that one-day I would like to have children of my own. What I feared wasn’t the long years of no sleep, but the long days of “same ‘ole”!
When I met my husband I was living in Hollywood and pursuing a writing career, spending my extra cash on travel. He lived on a “cattle ranch” in Tennessee and air travel was part of the deal. When I got pregnant, flying remained something we did. Twenty-one times, in fact! I listened as passing strangers unloaded their tips on how to prepare for the changes that lay ahead. Usually their random comments ended with “enjoy your time now.” I flinched and thanked them while thinking to myself, “that’s not me, I’m NOT changing!” After all, I had been trying to keep up with the old me for the past nine months.
In fact, I refused to buy maternity clothes until my zipper ruptured at dinner one night and I begged my husband to drop me by the high fashion, expectant-momma shop! Unfortunately we arrived just as the young, skinny, never – been –pregnant; LA supermodel salesgirl locked the door and pointed to the store hours sign. I smashed my face to the glass imagining all those stretchy jeans with elastic panels wrapped around my middle, and then I sighed because the joy of my new purchase would have to wait until morning! Surrender to my new way of being had begun.
I WAS changing. When our new baby turned six-weeks-old we boarded the plane for the first time together. I was clad with stroller, over-stuffed diaper bag, purse, snack pack, infant seat, and, of course, dressed the same way I had as a single Hollywood hoochie! I’d sworn never to become one of those sweatpants and sweat suit ladies unless at home or the gym! The only problem with my high heels was lugging the new entourage that I’d gained over the last 10 months–the baby and my two lactating friends! Instead of breezing through security I had to maneuver the baby in her “Baby Borne Pack”, unload the stroller and reload it onto the conveyor belt, take off my shoes, unpack the lap top, place it in a separate container, remove my jewelry and keep the baby calm while moving as fast as my clumsy new body would move, so as to not hold up the LINE! I then had to explain to the security guard that the baby’s bottom was so red that if they took away my “Triple Paste” the entire plane would suffer! Finally, once I had offered to bare her bottom in proof that the “Triple Paste” was not a bomb; they tossed it back in the bag allowing me the fine opportunity to scramble once more for all of my belongings and reload the load! The 5 hours on board the plane was just as nuts, not knowing if it was OK to change her diaper on the seat or where to put the dirty diaper, how to cover my lactating boobs from the guy across the way who was nursing his 5th gin and tonic! I was so freaked out with germs that I kept my baby and myself sweating underneath a hot sheath of blankets, plus the many overstuffed carry-ons had us slammed to the window! Where was the guidebook??? Today I have two small children and live in the Mexican jungle! No Cul-de sacs here! When we are not here in Mexico I am “Toting Babes” between our cattle ranch outside of Nashville, TN, our traditional Mexican Dreaming House in Teotihuacán (the home of the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon) and Los Angeles – not to mention the many places we travel to in between! Via all of my trails and tribulations with air, car, boat and train travel, I have come up with a slew of tips. I hope these will encourage you to lead a daring and courageous life as a traveling mom. Good Luck!
The night before your journey have a conversation with yourself. Tell yourself, “Tomorrow will be a big day, but I am organized and capable, and I will remain calm and pleasant. I will not pick at my spouse or frazzle my children, I am a flexible and calm person!” Words to live by! I most recently flew from our house in the jungle to Nashville via Dallas. The “VIA” is where things got tricky! What was thought to be a 2 hour lay over turned into 12 and hanging in the airport with 2 small children became some what of a challenge for rule number #1! I tried my best to keep them in one small area, but 2 and 6 year olds need to move about and after 6 hours RUN! As these kids began to drive me nuts with their whining and jumping about, I reached out and pinched my six year olds arm; this was a big RULE #1 breaker! My way unaccustomed to being pinched 6 year old YELLED out “Hey, why did you pinch me, that hurt!” Of course this brought many stares my way – NOT that these folks weren’t secretly hoping I’d pinch one of them to stop their incessant jumping about! Ha,ha… I kept thinking how come when our parents pinched us to stay still we stood still? Oh, that’s right ‘cause then when we got home there was a follow up “WAP” which sent a message to our brains “momma’s got back up.” Now that I’m trying to parent with thoughtfulness and consideration for future therapy, I’m not able to hold on to the memory of what they did wrong the way my mom could, so a follow up smack down when you get home is just plain illogical, it’s like beating your dog cause he went on the rug yesterday! Plus once you pinch them all you do is up the stress level on their side of things… Dang being healthy emotionally has it’s draw backs! Since I was traveling alone I wasn’t able to take my frustration on my husband, well he did call to check on our flight arrival and I was a bit “sulky” – again as if it was his fault??? Us humans are nuts! Toting Babes is tough enough but toting carry –ons is double the work! My recent strategy was buying these two pieces: a Kipling Hot Pink backpack and a matching Kipling Hot Pink Carry Tote. These rock for loading the lap top in the back pack and the travel tote is a perfect easy to grab- need to get too diapers, wipes, toys, crayons and FAVORITE play dough! I love Kipling bags because they are lightweight and durable. The BRIGHT colors make ‘em cake for keeping one eye on the bags and one eye on the running babes!