Travel or have a baby? 7 reasons I chose BOTH

“If you think a colored play space is good for a kid’s imagination, just imagine what running around the Taj Mahal could do.”

Travel or have a baby? 7 reasons I chose BOTH

Armed with quick wit and a self-deprecating sense of humor, Erica Levine Weber fell deeply in love with an adventerous lifestyle—before falling even more in love with her now-husband and starting a family.

Cue the dramatic music: Dun dun dun!

Except, is it really that dramatic? I mean, obviously your life changes from top to bottom. But is it possible to have it all? To be the best kind of mother, and fulfill all your traveling dreams?

Erica is here to tell you it is. Her blog—The Worldwide Webers—details how she and her husband spent the first year of their daughter’s life visiting four continents and more than 30 countries, with at least 60 flights and more 100,000 miles along the way.

Now she’s sharing why we don’t have to decide whether to travel or have a baby.

You can choose BOTH—and here’s why she did...

1. Boobs do not get charged as extra carry-ons

Erica: You can bring boobs everywhere, even though they could tip the weight allowance scale. It will never be cheaper to travel as a family then when your babe is under two. Hotel rooms, airplane seats, food costs… It's all cheaper with a breastfeeding infant or tiny toddler.

2. Cage-free kids are the healthiest

Erica: I like my kids the way I like my eggs: cage-free. If you think a colored play space is good for a kid’s imagination, just imagine what running around the Taj Mahal could do. And the latter is way more fun for us as parents.

3. What kind of fish am I being? Selfish

Erica: That's right, I'm doing this for me, because I love to travel and the memories we make will be ingrained in my head (and in the iCloud) for life. Just like a kid's second birthday party, all the money and time spent is for our memories as parents, not for the pint-sized guests of honor.

4. Breaking routine can be as beneficial as keeping it

Erica: Don’t get me wrong, a day without the toddler’s midday nap can be a recipe for disaster. But, realistically, life isn't always routine or perfectly timed around a kid’s schedule. Finding ways to incorporate her routine into travels or creating fun activities to keep her stimulated enough to break the routine keeps all parties adaptable and flexible.

The more times she sleeps in cribs other than her own, eat at restaurants where she has to not be a total demon or nap off schedule, the better we all get at meshing real life with toddler life.

5. A changing table with a view

Erica: If I'm going to change diapers and negotiate toddler tantrums it may as well come with a view and man-to-man defense. Home life gets chaotic with work, kid classes, school, play dates, cooking, cleaning, etc. And all these are generally accomplished with a divide-and-conquer method where my husband is at work and I'm holding down the family fort. When we travel, all those distractions go away and all of a sudden it's two parents spending time with our one (almost two) kids, so life actually becomes a lot simpler and more fun.

6. I want the next phase, not a new phase

Erica: I want to continue my life's passions and include my family, not turn into a completely different person who forgot their sense of adventure. Exploring with kids doesn't have to break the bank, dip into your limited day off allowance from work or even be to far off lands. It can be as local, short and financially savvy as you make it. It’s all about the journey anyway, right?

7. I dare you to tell me “no”

Erica: I know where my toddler learned her hatred of the word "no.” I don't like to be told no as much as the next person. So when we had our first baby and people responded, "no more travel for you"—and now going into our second baby hearing "no really, now you're definitely anchored"—all I think is "challenge accepted."

And if that incredible travel boost wasn’t enough, here are a few more “Motherly” thoughts from Erica.

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Erica: One word: FOOD. I get yogurt into my daughter as quickly as possible to bring her blood sugar and mood straight up. Hangery is real with her and we’ve found a quick high-protein yogurt, such as plain Skyr, where she gets to add “sprinkles” (aka granola) quickly pushes her into being human.

The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .

Erica: You don’t get what you don’t ask for. This has been applied to all aspects of my life and certainly to our travels. From asking airline staff to move passengers around so we get a free seat for the toddler to asking her nursery to accommodate her in various ways, I’m never afraid to inquire, and I’ve found that people are more willing to help than you’d think! You just have to be a self-advocate and ask for it.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Erica: I’d say patience, but I’m still working on that! Maybe more time with the Bhutanese monks and I’ll have it down by the time she’s a teenager (unlikely, I know). For now I’d say physical strength. At nine months pregnant I’m still bending, chasing, carrying and roughhousing with my 2 year old. Turns out mom strength is a real thing!

This quote inspires me. . .

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it”
Ferris Bueller

To me Motherly means…

Erica: Loving them versus liking them, hearing them versus telling them and following Olaf's guide to parenting by giving lots of warm hugs.

Keep up with the Weber gang on their blog or Instagram.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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