50 Things I Learned in 25 days and 3000 miles with 4 kidsby Elizabeth MacDonald
I am Single Mom Driving, and I am currently in bed, surrounded by sleeping children. We are in a hotel - our last hotel of this crazy journey. I have loved and appreciated all of the kind words and thoughts sent out to my kids and I over the last 25 days.
I have been horrible at keeping baby books, or even printing pictures over the years, but these adventures -- these are my memories that I want to hold on to forever.
Over the past 25 days and 3000 miles of traveling with my four babies, I have learned:
- My kids are amazing. I seriously think they are the absolute coolest human beings on this planet.
- Traveling does us all well. We were happier more moments out of every day than we are on typical days at home.
- My kids can also get annoying. They make fart noises, tell absurdly unfunny jokes, and like to attach themselves like Velcro to me at the worst times.
- My two-year-old LOVES the zoo – like high pitch squealed his way through it.
- Mifi is amazing BUT EXPENSIVE. This will be rethought on the next trip.
- I ditched the cloth diapers the night before we left and bought organic disposables and had ZERO guilt.
- Cracker Barrel seems like a great idea, until you spend $30 in the gift shop and your food takes 75 minutes to be served… and none of your children grasp how to play checkers.
- Shoes are always optional.
- Dirty feet don’t matter until they get near white hotel sheets.
- I could have packed ¼ of the clothing and still had plenty.
- Hotel beds are the best for jumping.
- People are either honking at me because they think I am nuts or think I’m awesome; I will assume it’s the latter of the two.
- 4 babies do not fit into one bed with me.
I miss my husband, but he would yell at me for letting kids pee on the side of the highway.
- Look at the weather a few days in advance. How did I not know there was a HURRICANE hitting the exact time we were driving through South Florida?
- People wanted their picture taken with us and the van everywhere! I mean, we are basically celebrities now – although, most of the people just said they needed a picture to prove to their partner that road trips with kids are possible.
- Sand sticks to everything, and is found even after two rounds of vacuuming out the car.
- Crayons and chocolate both melt in the car.
- Baby wipes can be used in any situation.
My proportioned, single serving road snacks are my best idea ever.
- Sunglasses can be replaced, so always buy cheap ones.
- My kids are drawn to tourist traps like moths to a flame.
- Gift shops exist because of children.
- I spent more money in gift shops than I did for admittance into the actual places.
- Always book a hotel that serves wine to your room.
- Babywearing saves your sanity, but so does a stroller -- and a double stroller is even better.
- Bathroom hand dryers can boost the morale of everyone – seriously, let your kid play with one for 2 minutes.
- No two children will need to use the bathroom during the same road-side stop, but one will always need to poop within 10 minutes of getting back on the road.
Milkshakes count as dinner if you are driving.
- Visiting my friends filled my heart with happiness!
Visiting my children’s friends from everywhere we have ever lived was just as much fun for me as it was for them!
- Map everything out in advance. EVERYTHING. It is so hard to plan something at the last minute with kids climbing on you and everyone stressed out.
- Have a plan B and plan C for everything! A back-up plan for bad weather, bad attitudes, late starts, and unexpected free time.
- Road trips are more fun with mermaid hair.
- Mermaid hair is the best when your 7-year-old helps dye it.
The best part of mermaid hair is MATCHING mermaid hair with the above mentioned 7-year-old.
- Finding little moments in each day to bond with each child is what this is all about!
- Frustrations will happen, but there is wine and happiness just 3 minutes away.
- I can still accomplish work, homeschooling, and parenting from the road.
- NO ONE MISSED ANY TANGIBLE PLASTIC CRAP THING FROM HOME. NOTHING. I am so serious.
- Bedtime is easy when your children have run nonstop from sun up to sun down.
- My sensory child (SPD) has come so far, but our days were still molded around his needs, and avoiding possible meltdowns.
- Pulling over on the side of the highway to pee is actually a bad idea.
- Update the AAA membership.
- Always know where bathrooms are located. (Ask my 7-year-old who had to pee so bad while in line at Disney.)
- Working out is still possible while traveling – it’s just a different type of workout.
- Amazon will deliver wherever you are.
- Stopping for days at a time with family has its ups and downs. The extra help was much appreciated (and a break was needed), but this was the ONLY time that my boys had meltdowns.
- I need to learn to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty. There just was not enough time to see everyone we wanted to see along this journey.
- There will be a HUGE detox taking place over the next few weeks in our home.
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