Motherly Collective

It’s my 7-year-old son’s April vacation week. Seemingly everyone has taken off somewhere. At school pick-up the question “What are you up to for vacation?” was answered time and time again with plans of  tropical beaches, national park hiking adventures or educational safaris through the Costa Rican rain forest.

I started to feel as if my plans to stay at home with my 7 and 2-year-old boys were inadequate. I began panic researching last minute overnights. But mid-hotel search, I became paralyzed by the realization that traveling with a 2-year-old is really freaking hard. I follow many Instagram accounts that make it seem effortless to whisk your small child away—photos of toddlers frolicking on beaches, splashing in pools, smiling at the all-inclusive buffet table on the grounds of some fabulous resort. 

But the reality is that it’s difficult to travel with a small child. I remember a conversation I had with a friend who offered this sage advice , “I’ve come to the point in my life where I need to make careful choices about which experiences will replenish, and which will deplete my energy.” 

Travel with kids encompasses a whole list of things: packing for everyone, flying with kids, missed nap times, airport meltdowns, baby gear arrangements, unfamiliar hotel crib and the early morning wake up that’s a result of a lack of black out shades. Not to mention providing panicked restaurant entertainment when the food takes too long.  I think of the packing list—diapers, wipes, sleep sacks, white noise machines and sippy cups. I think about all the parents who have posted some kind of picture-perfect sensory toolbox to entertain their toddler on the plane without resorting to screen time, and I make the conscious decision that right now, in this moment of life, it is better to stay home than to travel.

Because it will get easier. There will come a time when I will be able to pack my 10-year-old and 5-year old’s clothes into one suitcase free of other baby gear. I will be able to give them books to read or a card game to play to prevent the airport meltdown. I will be able to explain calmly and have that explanation be met with understanding that our flight has been delayed, or that the snacks are coming soon. And both my children and I will be replenished by the trip.

I will feel no guilt staying home with my kids until we’ve reached that point in time. There are spring nature walks to take, playgrounds to visit and car rides to the ice cream shop. Best of all, when my 2-year-old needs his nap, his familiar crib will await him in his very own room.

So if you are at this stage of life, don’t feel guilty or inadequate for not traveling over school break. There will be time to take that trip when YOU can enjoy it too. A time when you can sit at the pool and watch your kids swim on their own, drink in hand. Because it does, in fact, get easier.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.