When it came time for me to start thinking about having kids a lot went through my mind. I was coming up on 30 and I had always wanted to be a mother, and my husband had always wanted kids, but now it seemed SO HARD, it felt like I would have to give up so much.
But STILL – I wanted kids.
My mom always said, “Don’t wait until you’re ready to have kids, have kids, and then figure out how to make it work. If you wait until you’re ready, you will never have kids.” I began to realize how right she was, I was never going to feel ready. There was always going to be a next trip, or a next race, there would always be some excuse to wait. It was time.
So, I jumped and I was lucky enough to get pregnant very quickly. When I was pregnant my husband and I were constantly told we would never travel again. This was not what we wanted to hear at all. Possibly, this was the number one thing I didn’t want to hear. Sure our life is VERY different now, but it’s still pretty darn wonderful.
I’m happy to report we have proved the negative nellies wrong and we are still happily traveling and adventuring. We have made some changes but I am just as inspired by my travels as ever and am constantly looking ahead to new adventures. Here are my 5 Tips on how to make sure you continue to travel after kids!
- Believe in yourself
Remember the old saying, you can do anything you put your mind to. That applies here. You can do this. It may be more work, but this is your life. No one can tell you that you cannot live it your way. I was confident that I would not let kids stop my dreams of seeing the world. I believe it’s important to still keep your own dreams alive in parenthood. Sure, life becomes MOSTLY about kids, but there is still a place for you and your dreams. Believe you can make those dreams come true.
- Make it a Priority
When my husband and I starting talking kids, it was always – after the next trip, we will start trying. This went on for a while, and then we finally decided – After Ireland. Also, during the decision process to have kids I literally made my husband promise we would still travel twice a year together. He is my favorite travel buddy and this was a part of our relationship I was not willing to give up. Thus far we have kept this promise to each other! Now, it’s becoming once a year without the kids and once a year with the kids. In addition to traveling together I have been able to travel some with my girlfriends as well as with my mom, who is my other favorite travel buddy! I’m happy with this! It’s great.
- Ask for Help
In order to travel without your kids, you must ask for help. Now this is clearly easier for some than others, for many reasons. Some people have a lot of people to ask, some have none. Some live near their help, some don’t. I am pretty lucky to have a few great options every time we are planning a getaway, but there are always obstacles. We live 2 hours from our closest babysitter so the drop off/pick up is always a drive, but it’s worth it. Also, all of our helpers have jobs, so we have to figure out days that everyone is willing to make work. It takes planning and it takes asking. It’s not easy to ask someone else to take vacation time to watch your kid! I’m not sure if this will get easier or harder as they get older! I certainly feel it got harder after child 2, but honestly, it’s mostly in my head! Our family is always happy to help! This is something you can perhaps even ask your family/friends before you have kids. That way you know if you do have the help you need, or what you are working with. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if your family lives out of town, perhaps you can use it to your advantage! Go visit – and then ask them to watch the kids for a day or two of your trip. Then you can get away and see some sights without the kids!
- Change it up
I travel much different now than I did prior to my kids. The year before I had my first child, I took three separate trips to Europe and six trips within the USA and Caribbean. The first change is that my vacations per year have reduced from around nine, to three or four. The other thing is that now we have focused most of our trips closer to home, staying in the USA. This is both a great way to save money, and it puts our minds at ease knowing we could get home fairly quickly in case of an emergency. While, this will surely change as we navigate through the stages of parenthood, it’s perfect for now. Who knows, at some point my travels may all be right here in Minnesota, and that could be fantastic! Currently, I have my heart set on a goal to see all the USA National Parks and it has been AMAZING so far!
- Show your kids the world
Take pride in showing your kids the world and telling them stories about your travels. A huge driving force in my love for travel were my dad’s stories of his epic hitchhiking adventures in the 70’s. Today my mom is one of my biggest travel inspirations as she is currently making her travel dreams come true alongside her childhood best friends. Inspire your kids! Also, they are not kids for that long – soon they may just be your favorite travel buddy!
I hope these tips help you find confidence that you too can travel after kids! I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is worth it in so many ways!
Much Love & Happy Travels,