I have always been a travel addict and, in particular, a passionate advocate of slow travel, where you spend an extended period of time somewhere and really get to know the ins and outs of your location. Slow travel is also a better option when you have to work as you go because you are better able to manage your working hours with the time you need to thoroughly explore a place.
Because we work primarily remotely, we spent a lot of our pre-baby relationship working on the road because we could, but we have always had a home base. As my pregnancy complications became an issue after the second trimester, we began to stay home more and more. We have started to ramp it back up in the 9 months since the baby was born by going on 4 extended road trips, but the majority of the time has still been spent at home.
I feel that travel is a vitally important part of a child’s education, but I have also felt that a bit more stability was necessary for us during this first year with the baby. A number of reasons led me to the conclusion that I wanted to spend more time at home during the first year, and the decision, based on these considerations, really serves to reduce stress during a time I should be focused on my little one.
Feeding and Weaning
All of the equipment required for feeding and weaning has been my greatest deterrent from traveling more extensively during this time. With pumping taking up a large portion of the first 6 months and my desire to make all of my own baby food, I haven’t been so keen on taking this show on the road.
Weaning and making my own baby food, in particular, has become my pet project, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I wouldn’t be able to experiment and enjoy the experience as much as I have if I didn’t have all of my books and gadgets, and baby loves sitting up in his high chair. Spending a lot of time on weaning has been my way of trying to create a healthy relationship with food for my baby, so getting to work on weaning under optimal conditions at home has been worth it to me. Once he has the basics down, he’ll be ready to explore the world of flavors.
As I mentioned in my last post, we have been really shit at having a defined schedule, and traveling a lot only makes it worse. I want to continue to have a flexible schedule, within reason with a baby, but we clearly need to spend time and effort making sure he is getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night and that he is spending plenty of time on enriching activities. Weaning also works better when we’re on a schedule.
Establishing Mommy Roots
File this under another thing that I’m terrible at. Playdates? Nope. Other new mommy friends? Not really any to speak of. Children’s parties at work? Well, that’s one thing I can check off the list. We have been going to story time at the library and mommy and me yoga, but we really haven’t talked much to the other mommies. Making mommy friends is hard under any circumstance, but it’s nearly impossible on the road. At least at home, I have other friends with kids who I can reach out to and who have reached out to me.
All the Stuff
There’s no way around it. Babies require a lot of stuff, and traveling with babies makes me feel like a pack mule. This may be the laziest excuse for not traveling with a baby, but it is also the most draining to think about. Flying with a car seat is my nightmare du jour. If you have to check it, you may not know how much trauma it experiences in the cargo hold. Visibly, you may not be able to tell that it is no longer safe, and the thought is keeping me up at night as we’re about to embark on our first flight with baby next week.
Traveling Time Limits
Working on the road leaves little time for actual work, and this amount of time dwindles even more with a baby. Planning enough time to work, explore, tend to baby, and get around extends trip times even longer than usual, which is often more costly and sometimes not even doable due to other commitments. It also requires much more planning and many logistical considerations, which will become fewer as he gets older.
We are still traveling somewhat regardless of these issues, but I’m happy to travel less to reduce stress during an already busy time of adjustment. We have benefitted as a family by not trying to take on too much, and I do look forward to adding travel in more and more without forcing ourselves or feeling overextended.