Screw the Kids. It’s all About Me.
Wait until they are old enough to appreciate it.
They just don’t understand, so why would you bring them?
That’s a lot of money to waste on travel when they are so young.
The excuses and advice go on and on. When will people wake up and realize that I do not travel for my kids?
Let me say that again.
My travels are not solely for my children’s benefit. It’s all about me.
Yes, I am a very, very selfish mother. When I think of where we should travel next, I don’t think about what fabulous amusement park, playground or zoo there is. I think about what I have always wanted to see and then I book it. Oh sure, I check with my husband first to see if he has any interest in the spot, but when we decided to go to Kyoto, Japan, I didn’t get down to Dek’s level at 20 months old and say, “sweetie, what do you think. Do you want to have some sushi, yakitori and see lots of temples and shrines?” No. I just booked our tickets and packed him up to come along for the ride.
My boys are young. They are easily entertained. They don’t have opinions beyond “I’m bored,” “I’m hungry” and “I’m tired. I do realize that as they get older, and especially when they are teenagers, they will want to pick out where we go next. Heck, they may not want to go anywhere at all. I’ve accepted this (sort of) and plan on using the years that they are just happy to be with us to cross off all of the spots I have always wanted to go.
Does that make me selfish? Who cares.
As my boys get older and express an interest in certain things, I naturally try to find ways to keep them entertained while we explore cathedrals, shrines and old neighborhoods. We do stop at playgrounds and gape at trains. Naturally we pack a few toys. We still go where my husband and I want to go, no matter how many time zones and days of jet lag it takes. We have all survived plenty of flights and time changes. We will continue to do so.
Why don’t we leave them at home?
Unfortunately leaving my boys at home isn’t a luxury we can afford. Our families live on the other side of the country and they all work full time. Plus, I actually do like traveling with my kids. Each new destination opens their eyes (and mine) to the wonders our world holds. They see things I would never see without them. They find the most mundane things interesting, which makes it interesting to me too. Best of all, Dek gets to eat ice cream and gelato when we travel; the look on his face is worth more than a thousand words each time he takes his first lick.
Is it expensive to bring them along? Of course! As each of my boys turn 2 years old I have to add another plane ticket to our budget. That money adds up quick. Is it worth it? Yes! We may have to fly a little less in the coming years, but that won’t make our travels any less meaningful or memorable.
But they won’t remember any of it!
This is the worst excuse in the history of the world. First of all, I will remember it. Me. The mom who planned and paid for the trip she wanted to take. Does Dek remember walking on the Great Wall of China? No. I do and let me tell you that is one powerful memory I still hold onto.
The other thing to keep in mind is that your children remember and learn from more than you think. My boys may not remember every moment, but they know how to behave in hotels (whether they choose to do so is a toss up), be good airplane passengers (let’s not get into how bad some adults are), and use chopsticks. Dek learned the words lizard, volcano and boogie board while we were in Hawaii when he was two years old. He still brings up memories of trips we took one and even two years ago. These are things that I don’t remember telling him about repeatedly, just random bits he has held onto. If that’s not remembering it than I don’t know what is.
They won’t appreciate it
Let me ask you this, did you appreciate every museum your parents made you visit? What about every mountain they forced you to hike up? Probably not. When you look back do you appreciate it now? Possibly. I know I do am grateful for the many mountains, camping experiences, museum trips and concerts my parents took me to, willingly or not.
My boys do appreciate when they travel with us. They get uninterrupted time with mom, and especially dad who is at work all day and they rarely see some weeks because of his schedule. These are precious bonding moments. These are memories I’m making for them and they are building into their mental scrapbooks as well.
So yes, I’m a selfish mom who really doesn’t care where her kids want to go or how horrible the jet lag is on my kids and me. I’ll continue to book trips to the places I love, not Sesame Place every year. I have succumbed to the fact that I do have LEGO loving boys and we will be going to LEGOLAND one day. I can’t wait! I’ll be hopping over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for a butterbeer. Plus LEGOs are pretty awesome. Do you know how many hours they can occupy a 4-year-old? It’s amazing!
What other excuses do you have for me about why I shouldn’t travel, or why you aren’t traveling with your kids? I’d love to hear them. I bet I have a selfish reply for you that will knock your socks off.