Picture for a moment, if you will – one parent, three kids (ages five, three, and a yearling who happens to be teething), making a six-hour across-the-state road trip… and then doing it again four days later. Sounds like fun, right? Fun. Or maybe complete and utter chaos.
This was recently my reality. Yes. I made the twelve-hour round trip to visit my family in my hometown. I made it solo parent style with my two crazed-with-excitement-to-see their-grandparents big kids and my twelve point five month old who on top of teething was sporting a mysterious rash and had a pretty good grouch on.
Believe me, I was beginning to question my own sanity about making this trip. But the doctor’s office cleared to travel despite the rash, so there was really no good reason for us to not go. And you know what? We all survived. I even made it with my sanity, thanks to the following sanity-saving tactics.
This is what gets me through. Seriously. Mental preparedness – it is my go-to tactic. It has seen me through 3 epidural free childbirths. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with getting an epidural. It’s just that the thought of a needle of that length going into my spine makes me a little a lot edgy queasy. It has been my saving grace through several previous solo trips across the state hearing, “Are we there yet?” for at least the last five hours and fifty-nine minutes of the six-hour trip. And it has not failed me yet.
You know that phrase, “you can do anything you set your mind to”? Well, I wholeheartedly believe that. Ahead of whatever it is I am facing, I get a little intel on what I can expect, pray a lot, and employ my power phrase – yes, you can. I put my power phrase on repeat in my head, or out loud if it gets really bad, until the task is complete.
A sense of humor. And snacks. But maybe not gum…
A sense of humor also comes in handy during group potty breaks (see below) when your five year old loudly questions, “Mom, are ya poopin’?”
This refers to both mental and physical flexibility. Veering from the plan to make several unexpected potty stops – that takes mental flexibility. Taking three kids into the restroom, peeing, and getting yourself put back together all while holding one of them – that takes physical flexibility.
Mad MacGyver skills.
Because when the DVD player decides to breakdown three hours in just before the longest stretch of road between towns where there are no radio stations to speak of, you’re going to want to bust these out. No worries, folks. I fixed the DVD player and the crisis was averted. But in the words of MacGyver himself, “You may not believe this, but there have been times when I’ve had a lot more fun in the back seat of a car.” Seriously, what did we do before portable DVD players?
I am always looking for new sanity-savers, Lord knows I need them. So, I want to know – what are your go-to tactics for traveling with your kiddos?