Travelling with the Monsters
Travel comes with expectation.
Sometimes it surpasses all your hopes, and other times falls utterly flat. Throwing children into the mix can make the latter even more impending, but managing expectation and realistic planning can make all the difference.
Nikko and I were travelling to Sicily with my friend, Megan. It was her first big trip with my little goddaughter, (mini) Arizona, aged three months. We were wading through security at a snails pace. Nikko was desperate for the toilet, the baby was wailing for a breast and Megan was desperate for her sanity back. She apologised to everyone around for the baby meltdown and some men behind us loudly made reference to the benefits of Calpol and birth control.
After three minutes of calm on the plane, the baby's cries were fierce again, and Megan began apologising profusely. I told her, 'Your baby is crying. You are doing all you can to settle her, you certainly don't need to worry about the adults here. You need to worry about taking care of your baby and yourself." She looked at me like I'd slapped her, then smiled, ordered a vodka soda and within moments, she and baby were calm. She no longer felt the burden of judgmental traveling companions. She realised that those who 'got it' would feel empathy for her and her baby and those who moaned didn't matter anyway. She said she has never forgotten this and now, when coming across stressed traveling parents, always reassures them that easing baby woes comes first and less-than-hospitable passengers can jump off the plane.
This isn't limited to the road. Upon arrival, remember the effects of jet lag, hunger and general changes to the family routine. Age-appropriate activities are also pretty key and so is relinquishing the idea that any big goals will be met. We once missed a kite surfing excursion because we were 'fishing' with a stick and a bit of my sweater yarn that had come loose. This was the moment, and we were in it, and that's what ultimately mattered. Embrace the fact that travel is for enriching life's experiences and you can't do that when you are chasing the expectation.