I’m slowly learning over months that will turn into years of being a mom that parenting is a series of rules you decide on and then 80% of the time you end up breaking them. It’s strange because sometimes Kamel and I have this light bulb moment and I think, “that would be really excellent to write about!” but then I don’t because watch, in 3 years I’ll totally disregard whatever system/rule/thought I came up with and then wow that’s annoying.
Like! For instance! Kamel and I have been trying to figure out just one real vacation for the year. One trip we both haven’t been, one adventure where their may be a beach, or some interesting food, or some fun activities that don’t belong in our usual life. Something where everything is about our schedule and taking a long lunch or a nap or spending the entire afternoon exploring little shops or kayaking or bike riding or whatever it may be. We’re trying to figure it out. And kids make that stuff complicated. Asking someone to watch your kid while you take 5 days away is difficult for me. I know that those 5 days are going to be really exhausting for that person. I will also worry that Gabe will be difficult or out of sorts because 5 days are a long time. So, I would just rather bring him along.
Ok, that’s not totally true. What I would REALLY rather is to have a real vacation where I don’t have to have my mom brain turned on at all, I don’t have to worry, I don’t have to know that in the back of my mind somewhere I am mentally doing the time difference to see if Gabe should be napping, or thinking “he should be in bed by now, I hope he is going down ok.” A real vacation would be a world where those things disappear for a while. The problem is, I don’t think that exists.
And that’s fine, because my main priority is that Kamel and I don’t stop having adventures just because we are parents. We don’t stop being adults just because we are surrounded by children. And I don’t mean the boring adults who go to work and come home and wear clean underwear, I mean the the “I do what I want!” kind. No, that sounds bad. The adults that are grown enough to make their own choices? Who can decide how they want to live and then execute it. Those kind. It’s just that part of that choice now involves small humans, which we agreed to create.
Anyway, back to my point. We are trying to go somewhere new and fun, and we’ll most likely be taking Gabe along with us because the alternative is complicated and stressful and I don’t mind not having any sleep-ins (I do a little) and I don’t mind scheduling our outings around nap time, or having to say no to some stuff because it doesn’t fit with the baby model. It’s better than feeling guilty for dropping my kid at someone else’s place and worrying about all the things I can’t see and shouldn’t be thinking about because VACATION.
So while Kamel and I are going back and forth with this whole thing, (“I don’t want to have to go with him.” “Well I’m not comfortable without him.” “But that means it is going to be hard and sucky.” “That’s not true! We have awesome times when we 3 have adventures.” “We should just wait until he can fully walk and talk and all of that.” “But by that time we’ll have more little people who can’t walk or talk and then it will be even harder.”) we decide that: We’re not taking our kids to Europe. Or anywhere out of North America.
(Flash forward 5 years and there is a group photo of us and all of our hoodlums in front of the freaking Eiffel Tower or some shit.)
Here is why: Domestic and mild international travel (Canada and Mexico… MILD) is challenging and expensive enough with the goober by our side. And it’s not that it’s so incredibly difficult to travel with kids – sometimes it is extra complicated, yes, but we do a pretty good job at it – it’s that we want to be able to go and have adventures and spend money on us and our marriage and our adult-ness without having it always be a family affair. Especially to places that our future and present children could not possibly appreciate.
And so, we’re talking about this and I really thought that we would be the jet setting family, except it turns out I don’t want to be. I want to be a jet setting Lauren. And call me selfish, that’s just fine, but I didn’t go outside of US/Canada until I was in m 20s. And I didn’t go to Europe with my parents, I went by myself and then I went with Kamel and I had to wait and wait and wait until I could afford a trip like that. And then I got to pick where I went and for how long and what I wanted to do when I got there. And it was so incredibly sweet when it finally happened, when I made that happen for myself. It’s a cool feeling to be the opposite of a tag along.
Maybe being a parent is sometimes about choosing what not to give your kids so that they can give it to themselves. And sometimes it’s throwing in the towel and saying, “Fine, have a freaking tater tot, and watch some kid’s TV while you’re at it,” when you said from the beginning “Only organic fruits and veggies will ever touch my baby’s lips.”
So, I reserve the right to change my mind and post that family photo of us all standing in front of Big Ben in 5 years. But most likely it will just be Kamel and me. We’ll make sure to bring back souvenirs.