Over the past year, I have made this crazy transition from a family of four to a single mom with two kids. While juggling everything else as a single mom the one thing I feared most was giving up our family adventures. I have a strong belief that family travel builds life long bonds, lasting memories, and stress relieving moments.
This transition has been far from easy, but after a few complete disasters, moments that I truly believed I would fail, and some “aha” moments I have a list of ideas that will help cut the stress of traveling as a single mom.
Do not set your expectations too high – My very first road trip as a single mom was a complete disaster and I thought the day would never end. I loaded up my kids on Mother’s Day morning and headed to a park fifty miles south of our house. I had this idea in my head that I would sit on a blanket with my picnic basket and watch my kids play happily….yeah that did not happen! I missed the turn to the park and drove 20 miles out of my way, by the time we got to the park the kids were starved, the wind blew away our plates, and the disasters had just began. When I returned home that evening, I felt like a complete failure, my kids however thought the day was grand. I had painted this picture of what I thought should be instead of just enjoying what was happening….don’t ever do this to yourself!
Keep it simple – Prior to becoming the single mom, our family would take all day bike rides, hike for hours, and plan weekend excursions. Now I am not opposed to still doing those things, but in reality, I know I cannot manage my kids on a 6-hour hike in the middle of nowhere. I celebrate if we make it through the 1-mile trial at our local conservation center in less than 4 hours. Plan simple adventures that you know you can handle and then work yourself up to the larger ones.
Bring a friend – Nothing like a field trip right? I am blessed with two incredible friends that are also single moms. They rarely hesitate loading up their kids and heading out for an adventure alongside my gang. We share the cost of gas, food, and having the extra set of eyes to watch over the kids is such a blessing.
Plan – From budget to what to pack, planning is a huge key in success. Prior to being a single mom, I would wake up on Saturday morning with this crazy idea that I wanted to go hiking and we would go. These days I would not dare do that, so I simply plan one trip a month to some place special and throw all my efforts into that trip.
Ask for help – I am sure the CVB in St Louis, Mo thinks I am probably the craziest person alive. Every time I am planning a trip to St Louis, I shoot out a tweet or post a message on their Facebook asking for tips of where to go. This may seem silly to some, but I get inside advice from not only experts on St Louis travel, but also the locals who live there and can tell me the best-unknown places to go.
Let the kids be in charge – The worst thing ever is have a crabby 5 year old on all day road trip! I know I am expert of having crabby 5-year olds and what I have learned is let them decide what we are going to do. Recently we planned a trip to Elephant Rock State Park and while I said we were going hiking, I gave the kids a choice of three parks and they chose Elephant Rock State Park. The entire day was full of excitement, because they believed they had the power of choice.
Forget Fear – Last, but not least, do not let fear stand in your way. It may seem overwhelming at first, but if there is truly, an experience you want your child to have then just do it. I may not be an expert at fishing, hiking, biking, or any other crazy idea I come up with, but I am fan of watching my kids enjoy life.
Have an Adventurous Day,