Traveling With Kids is NOT for Sissies – Guest post by Mommy of a Monster

Today’s special guest poster is Natalie from Mommy of a Monster and Twins. I met Natalie on Twitter through her involvement with The Red Dress Club (they do writing prompts which I post about over on Writing with Chaos).

She juggles a three year old “monster” (yeah, nothing I can relate to there) and one year old twins.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Sometimes she fights the occasional Monster Mommy Moment, and has other mothers share their less than stellar points of parenthood on her blog. She survives with the help of wine, humor, and Twitter and I’m thrilled to have her guest post for me today.

Natalie asked,”What do you want me to write about?”

I replied, “Do you have any vacation horror stories, so if I have issues on my trip, I won’t feel so bad?”

“Oh yeah.”

So I give you a tale of vacation travel woe… Monster style.

Traveling With Kids is NOT for Sissies

One of the worst ideas that my husband and I ever came up with was taking our kids on vacation with us going on a family vacation with three kids three and under. Traveling with kids is just a bad idea. Let me clarify this point: I’m not opposed to traveling with a toddler. Or with an infant. But put together a toddler and two infants? That is just craziness. And yes, I’m speaking from experience.

Last summer, we decided to take the kids with us on a long weekend trip to the river. We have a boat, and thought it would be a nice, relaxing time. We had taken our son Ethan when he was the same age as our twins (they were about 10 months old at the time), and he had a blast! We had a blast!

How different could it possibly be?, we asked ourselves.

Very different. I can admit that after experiencing our trip to hell family vacation, I was a little upset that nobody, not family or friends, bothered to mention to us the threat of impending doom that traveling with three kids brings with it.

We figured if we left early in the morning, when it was still dark out, that the kids would just cuddle into their car seats and sleep for the 4 hour drive.

Not so much.

After waking up some very pissed-off children at barely 5 A.M., the drive was 4 hours of whining, crying, and non-stop complaining. By the kids, not me or my husband.

Okay, maybe we did do a little whining and complaining, but I assure you that we did not cry!

We FINALLY got to our hotel, and were greeted with a check-in line that was utterly ridiculous. Like 40 minutes ridiculous. Kids do not like to stand in one spot and not move after being in the car for 4 hours. I learned that the hard way.

After getting checked in and settled in the room (there was also a room debacle and we had to change rooms twice), we decided to load up the boat and get moving.

The kids will love it!, we naively thought.

The twins did not like the heat and HATED their lifejackets. I swear I think they thought the lifejackets were some sort of torture we were putting them through.

Also, sun block. We bought the spray-on kind and I was very careful to keep it away from their eyes. But within seconds of me applying it, they immediately put their hands to their eyes.

Not fun, people.

Has anyone else had a vacation like this?

Lastly, no matter how good of sleepers we thought the twins were, they did not cooperate when it came time to sleep.

They always sleep in the Pack n’ Play at my sister’s house! I said to myself.

They wanted nothing to do with the Pack n’ Play, and I spent the long weekend with Mia snuggled up on one side of me, Lila on my chest, and Ethan sleeping in the other bed with my husband.

And even after all of that, we have another trip to hell family vacation planned for July. Camping in the Sequoias for a week. And after writing this and reliving the nightmare all over again, I’m wondering if we really are gluttons for punishment!


Wow. Okay. I have been there, with a child sleeping on me, so desperate for them to sleep (while I spend the entire time awake).

So not fun.

Thanks for sharing your Terrible Travel Tale, Natalie. Here’s hoping mine goes much smoother. Be sure to check out Mommy of a Monster!

Do you have a travel horror story?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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23 Responses to Traveling With Kids is NOT for Sissies – Guest post by Mommy of a Monster

  1. Natalie, I applaud you for even trying with 3 kids. I traveled with one 7-month old (at the time) and nearly clawed my eyes out several times. And planning another? I bow to you, superior one.

    Great guest, Kelly!

    • I am reeling that you are planning a camping trip! I can’t even imagine camping on my own let alone with children. I traveled on my own when my children were under 1, 5, and 7 and that was hard enough – not enough mommy to go around.
      Oh and I am with you on the sunblock thing – every time it goes in the eyes!

    • Natalie says:

      I know! Another trip…we still might chicken out as we get closer to the D-Day 😉

  2. Kir says:

    HI Nat!!!!
    well we have taken the boys to Florida (on a plane twice…once at 9 months and once 21months) it was interesting….and tiring. Plus all the “CRAP” you have to pack.
    We have also taken them away for long weekends to my mom’s marina house and the Jersey Shore, my brother’s wedding etc…and they always end up in our beds, (Not the cribs we BEGGED the front desk to send up..LOL).
    I miss sleeping with my husband. *sigh*

    I will admit to the use of Xanax before any trip with my kiddos…taking the edge off and I agree that spray on sunblock is just not right for kids….OYE. I’ve seen lots of red icky eyes because of it……but now when we travel again this summer, I’ll be remembering YOU.

    Great post, good luck with the Camping, HOLY CRAP that’s something I will never do. I don’t “do” nature. LOL 😉

  3. John says:

    I’ve been there, one sleeping child on me, another theatening to fall asleep, wanting to sleep myself, but can’t because as soon as you close your eyes, the awake kid is going to smack the sleeping kid.

    I got a call to play a gig the same day we were supposed to start vacation. Instead of leaving in the morning, we’d just leave that night – the kids would sleep in the car the whole way down & it would be just like a regular day for them. I wish someone had poked me in the eye when we made these plans.

    The gig went great, but the kids screamed (loud music & lots of “daddy is right there but he won’t play with me”). We left at 10pm for a what would be a 5 hour drive, but since it was the middle of the night, it should be quick.

    The kids slept for about two hours of the six-hour drive (and an accident where a driver fell asleep, drove off the road, and flipped his car back onto the highway added a lot of time).

    Essentially, we drove through the night to have cranky kids (who now needed to investigate the new surroundings, so there would be no sleeping from them) and two shell-shocked parents. Not fun. It wasn’t until days later that things even started to work their way back to normal, and by then, we went onto the lovely side effects of eating sand.

  4. Natalie says:

    I am thinking of traveling with my son when he’s about 9 months…guess I better do it now before I have more kids! It’s tough to go anywhere that is more than 2 hours away!

  5. My girlfriend just sent me a message about her upcoming flights from TX to Italy (for two weeks) then onto Johannesburg and home again again ….
    She said, I’m just remembering how it is to do such terrible travel with a two year old, or is it such travel with a terrible two year old … poor thing – good thing they have great wine in both countries!

  6. Natalie says:

    Thanks for having me over, Kelly! This was a fun one to write.

    Here’s to hoping you are having a blast and that the kids are being angels…and that Murphy stays WAY the hell away 😉

  7. Leigh Ann says:

    Seriously, you tell it like it is! Our last 2 trips to see family in Dallas (3 hr drive) were disasters! It made us stay home for Christmas (actually the better option), but I am NOT looking forward to going back up there in a couple of weeks. I’m prepared for no sleep and lots of sweating.

  8. We once decided to drive to South Carolina with an almost two year old. It’s seven hours away. And we left at 5pm. Wow. Stupid is NOT fun.

  9. I can totally relate! Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, but sometimes with kids they are even more stressful than just being at home!

  10. Annie says:

    I have four children and this sums up the typical “vacation” in my life for the last 12 years. I can not remember the last restful vacation I had. I have learned to expect it to be exhausting work so I always plan some alone time when we get home.

  11. Jessica says:

    You are a brave woman for traveling with 3 kids under 3. I don’t even like going to the grocery store with my kids who are 7 and 2.

  12. Kristy says:

    Oh, yeah. “Vacation” with children is a crapshoot. You never know what could go wrong. And, it’s not really “vacation.” It is work. Work to try and have a memorable experience with your family. But a relaxing vacation? Not really. One time, an escalator tried to eat my son and stroller alive right in front of my eyes. We were in an airport. It was awful. We’ve had the most amazing screaming fits in the car. Sleep? You just hope and pray!

  13. Coolwhipmom says:

    Seriously, you are my hero Nat. I don’t think I would’ve even tried what you did. But I am in full agreement. Traveling with littles is for the birds. Hilarious post!

  14. Jessica says:

    We have yet to plan a major trip (like a week long camping trip, you are crazy Natalie!) but have done long weekends up north and the drive alone was enough to make me want to jump out of the vehicle.
    Being out numbered by little ones while traveling just does not put things in our favor. Maybe we will pitch a tent in the backyard this summer and pretend we traveled somewhere.

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