For the last few years, my family in KY, my family in VA, and my husband and I have tried to coordinate a vacation. Sometimes we all plan it together, and other times, one family will take a vacation and the others will crash it for a couple of days just so we can all see each other. This past month, my KY family used their time share to rent a house in the Massanutten Resort in Virginia. As Virginia natives, the Shenandoah mountains are where my husband and I have some of our best memories. In fact, we got married in Shenandoah National Park. Last year while we were house hunting, the Virginia mountains were ultimately where we wanted to be. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find what we wanted in our price range so, we took a leap and moved to East Tennessee, away from the busy Northern Virginia area where some of our family still resides.
The dates for the Massanutten vacation fell on my niece’s Spring break, which worked out and allowed them to join in for a couple of days. Unfortunately, my husband had to work, but I decided to take our 8 month old son and still make the trip. No one had seen him since he was born so this was a perfect opportunity. The trip was about 6 hours and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about the whole thing. We would be gone for 3 days, returning on the 4th day. Everything you can think of for an 8 month old, I packed. My SUV was full and it was only the two of us. I went into this experience with the expectation that my son would be a little off by the whole trip. I expected him to fuss in the car for the long drive, to not nurse as well since we would be using a cover each time, and I definitely expected him to have a hard time sleeping at least one, if not all the nights.
I brought my Pack ‘N Play for night time and for all my son’s naps, and reminded myself to stay flexible. No matter how out of wack his entire routines got, it was only a couple of days and I kept reminding myself it would all be okay. There was no need to stress because family would be there, all willing to help out if needed, and it would all be worth it.
Well, my little man shocked me and did not fuss AT ALL. He was SO AMAZING on this trip. He napped and played with toys in his car seat for the entire 6 hour drive both ways, he took all of his same naps during both days we were there, he ate great (under a cover in a loud room even), and he slept perfectly fine in the pack and play. Literally, it was like nothing changed for him. He was his usual happy, giggly, army crawling, life of the party baby boy self. As a new mom, this trip was a HUGE confidence boost.
When we got home, I felt SO good. My normal anxiety levels that I have felt postpartum were gone, and I felt so relaxed and CONFIDENT. Our daily routines resumed at home as if nothing had transpired at all.
In the weeks following, I have noticed a huge change in myself as a result of this trip. I am much more flexible than before and my anxiety remains low. I am more confident in myself as a mom and more confident in my relationship with my son. I feel like I am fully able to understand what he needs and how he feels without second guessing myself.
Bring on traveling and more road trips!