Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I’m still pretty new to this parenting thing. I am the mom of two beautiful boys, a two-and-a-half-year-old and a still brand new to this world three-month-old. I genuinely enjoy being a mom, even when it sucks. And it does suck sometimes. For example, when you planned a getaway to another state for your 30th birthday and the trip becomes so stressful you contemplate leaving your child at the McDonald’s you stopped at for lunch, and then you have major mom guilt about it because you love your babies and could never actually leave them.

As we were pulling into our beautiful lakefront Airbnb, it was as though the Devil whispered into my children’s ears and they became possessed. Their behavior that week, short of 360 degree head turns, reflected this apparent possession. I am new mom, but I am not naïve. My two-year-old has his periods of being a Grade A sasshole, but those times are few and far between and never last very long. This week however, he was teaching a clinic in pushing buttons. Even though their behavior was unhinged and my husband I were seriously considering an exorcism, for a few reasons, my husband and I still plan to travel with our boys as often as our budget will allow, and I encourage you to do the same.


When your kids are grown and reminiscing about their childhood, they will be laughing and thinking fondly of the memories they made, not the things you bought them. My two-year-old who has the memory of a goldfish still talks about our trip and swimming in the lake and the “amazing” mountain tunnels we drove through. Personally, I will not forget the look of wonder and awe in his eyes during the fireworks show we watched or seeing the smile and pride on his face as he swam in the lake by himself. For the rest of my life, I will have the image of my mom peacefully and serenely rocking our youngest, who was otherwise inconsolable, to sleep. I clearly have mild PTSD from the more stressful moments, but the happy memories come to mind much more clearly.

A vacation with your children, while maybe not at all relaxing, could actually bring you and your partner closer together. I have always thought my husband and I were a good team, but after several car trips during this vacation that ended in our boys scream crying in the back seat and us gently sobbing in the front seat, I realized we were a great team. I’m a teeny bit of a control freak so being forced to be vulnerable and depend on my husband for strength and sanity brought our relationship to a whole different level. We tag-team parented our children like seasoned pros and relieved one another when a mental break was required. It helped us realize that together, we can make it through anything, even the demonic possession of our children. As an aside and maybe a pro tip, try to travel with people who love you and especially love your children. Yia-Yia and Titi (my mom and sister) traveled with us and graciously allowed us to escape every now and then. Without them, we may very well have been featured on the six o’clock news.

Learning more about your children and yourself is another surprising benefit of a family vacation. Of course, my boys weren’t actually possessed, I think anyway. They were however, completely out of their element, off their routine and totally exhausted. I learned that my boys thrive with structure. Spontaneity isn’t their thing yet. I learned the exact same thing about myself. As mentioned before (and in frequent “discussions” with my husband), I tend to enjoy having control over things. Going with the flow is not a phrase I subscribe to and spontaneous adventures, especially with two little ones, makes me physically ill. On this trip, I was forced to deal with situations as they arose, because plans go out the window when your child is practicing the octave range of his screams at your birthday dinner. It is a lesson I know will serve me well as I continue on my parenting journey.

In the end, we can look back on this trip fondly with many lessons learned. No family trip is without its stressors or moments of “what were we event thinking”, but the memories, both good and bad, will last a lifetime for you and your children. I’m already planning our next vacation . . . and searching for the perfect sized suite case to carry as many bottles of wine as it will take to get me through.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Julie Brown

Julie is a wife to her best friend and mom to two beautiful boys. She loves her family, Kentucky, monograms and being as authentic as possible, except on Instagram. 

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading