Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How I Hope Traveling Will Make Me a Better Parent

So yeah, that whole having a baby thing is 6ish weeks away. Which is why I’ve been a little quiet here; nesting has totally taken over. You know that feeling of last minute panic when you pack your bags hours before a trip? That’s kind of what I’m feeling, but I’m compelled to clean ALL THE THINGS in addition to washing/folding/organizing baby clothes and my own clothes (and figuring out what spring outfits still fit now that it’s finally warming up).

My only “experience” with parenting is being a fur mommy to my sweet kitty. Granted, she had some similarities to a baby like waking me up at 3 am for food, being very cranky at doctor’s visits, and puking on furniture/bedding/etc. But I know I’m in for quite a change.

I’m hoping some of the lessons I’ve learned from traveling will carry over.

Dealing with the Unexpected

We made several wrong turns trying to get back to our hotel in Barcelona on New Year's Eve.

We made several wrong turns trying to get back to our hotel in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve.

Oh, my flight home has been discontinued (not cancelled, straight up discontinued)? The line for tickets at the Termini in Rome is so long that we missed the first train to the airport? The museum we thought was in this neighborhood is nowhere near here? In my early travel days, those first two problems left me panicky and flustered. But now I’m used to things turning out differently and not going according to plan. Having to roll with the punches and figure out Plans B, C, D, and E should help me learn the ropes of how to be a mom.

Dealing with Exhaustion

Turkish coffee in the Grand Bazaar definitely helps.

Turkish coffee in the Grand Bazaar definitely helps.

Red eye flights, jet lag, and ridiculous layovers are not particularly fun. It took me a few days to get over jet lag in Istanbul, and we had a layover in NYC that was almost as long as the flight from Istanbul to NYC. I’ll admit that I’m not the most pleasant person when I’m tired. But I’ve learned how to be less bitter and how to cope with napping to get over missed sleep. Hopefully this will translate over into the weeks of waking up and feeding a baby every 2-3 hours.

Dealing with Minimal Stuff

Miss Zoe, certified packing assistant. RIP.

Miss Zoe, certified packing assistant. RIP.

I used to be an over-packer. I wouldn’t know what I’d feel like wearing so I’d pack 6 extra outfits for a 5 day trip. Now, I’m much better at packing. I have a bunch of go-to outfits, a minimal beauty routine, and I don’t need a lot of other stuff to keep me occupied on long flights. I can travel with one bag on many trips, and I generally pack the same things over and over since I know they work. We’re trying to have a minimal home for Baby Art Nerd I don’t want our house to turn into a showroom for Toys R Us. I thought long and hard about what our lifestyle is like to avoid buying “necessities” we’ll never use. Until I know our baby’s personality, I don’t see the point of having a multitude of things that may or may not work. Our apartment isn’t huge, and I’d rather have Baby Art Nerd explore the world around him/her than have the latest and greatest baby item.

I know there will be a steep learning curve, but I’m hopeful that the lessons I’ve learned from traveling will help make things even a tiny bit easier.

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4 Responses to “How I Hope Traveling Will Make Me a Better Parent”

  1. 1

    Jenna — April 8, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

    Lots of wisdom here! When my older son was little, it seemed like he would never sleep well. I found that I could function on less sleep than I expected and that things that used to seem important no longer were. I’m still working on the minimal house thing. Very tough for us despite the fact that it’s one of my values.
    Jenna recently posted..A Sacred Conversation in a Church in VeniceMy Profile

  2. 2

    ehalvey — April 8, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you were able to adapt to less sleep and still function. I’ve slept so much lately that the idea of less than 9 hours just seems impossible.
    ehalvey recently posted..How I Hope Traveling Will Make Me a Better ParentMy Profile

  3. 3

    Christina — April 8, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

    That’s such a sweet post. :) You mention 3 really good lessons which I’m sure are critical for being a parent. (Coffee!) I just hope this kid is not a picky eater because travel quickly teaches one that there are a lot of delicious things out there!
    Christina recently posted..Science & Sfumato – Technical Analysis to Aid Art HistoriansMy Profile

    • ehalvey replied: — April 9th, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

      I’ve definitely given this kiddo lots of flavors to taste throughout this pregnancy: Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Armenian, Greek…

      The plan is to do infant-led weaning so kiddo will eat real food from the start.

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