If you talk to any travelling Mother, or Father for that matter, I think the one thing that everyone will say is “there are good days and bad days travelling with kids, but the good days far outweigh the bad.”
We’re into our 6th week on the road now and have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly. But I can honestly say that apart from when we had both of our kids and got married, this is the best thing we have ever done!
But the reality is, behind all the beautiful photos we post of perfect scenery and cute family photos, or checking in at different locations each week, motherhood on the road can be just as tough as it is at home, sometimes harder.
Before I go on, for anyone reading this who isn’t a travelling Mum I know you’re probably thinking “what’s she complaining about, she gets to travel full-time to all these different places, I wouldn’t be whinging if that was me!” – and you’re right. I’m not whinging as such, this life is great and I don’t want it to end. I’m just putting it out there that this motherhood gig is both the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do and the hardest thing you’ll ever do, regardless of your situation.
As for the Dads out there travelling full-time, by no means am I degrading all the work you do. It’s so great having you around so much more! I think for some families the biggest adjustment to life on the road comes from now having Dad around all the time and for Dad to get used to being around the kids 24/7. But I’m not a Dad, so I’m not going to start speaking for them.
One of the hard parts about travelling as a Mum is that you don’t have your ‘Mama Tribe’ around. Those women who live near you, you see them regularly, your kids play together, they might be your friend or your sister or your sister-in-law, the ones you can message and have a play-date arranged for that afternoon. Yes, you meet other Mum’s along the way, but it might only be for a day, or a quick conversation at the park and then you’re off on your different paths again. Of course, you can call/text/email your friends from home, but it’s just not the same as having that support in the flesh. We’re also used to having our parents (the kid’s Grandparents) nearby where we could go over for a couple of hours and let the kids play there while we got to semi-relax.
We still have our ‘Mum duties.’ I still prepare three meals a day and clean up after three meals a day (plus snacks in-between) There’s still washing – either hand washing our clothes or taking them over to the caravan park’s laundry, there are still beds to be made, dishes to be done, floors to be vacuumed, groceries to be bought, toys to be put away and rubbish to be taken out. Yes, it takes a lot less time than it does at home because we have fewer things and less space to clean, but at the end of the day, they’re still jobs that need to be done.
I still read with the kids, practice numbers, letters and songs, draw, paint, cook with them, sit on the floor and play with them. I still feed Luna – both meals and breastfeed, cuddle them, change nappies and take Kawhi to the toilet, get them dressed and brush their teeth. There is also still daily tantrums and toddler attitude that needs to be dealt with.
I’m woken up by Luna anywhere from 2 – 12 times a night (currently 5-10 times most nights) where she will demand to be breastfed before going back to sleep. She is also going through a phase where she won’t self-settle at all, so during the day she either needs the baby carrier, the pram or the car to go to sleep – sometimes I get lucky and she’ll go to sleep in the caravan, after an hour of coaxing. Kawhi is also a bit of a Mummy’s boy at the moment and demands a lot of attention.
That’s all in-between sightseeing and exploring new areas, taking them to the park or swimming, drive days, planning and researching where we’ll go to next, setting up or packing up the caravan and spending time with my husband.
Being a Mum on the road can be hectic and exhausting. Some nights after we’ve put the kids to bed I could go straight to sleep myself, but I end up staying up for a couple of hours just because that’s the first ‘me time’ I’ve had all day. Adam and I try to give each other some time out each week – I’ll take the kids for a walk in the pram to let him have a sleep in or he’ll take them out to get a coffee, etc. But the reality is, it doesn’t always happen. Living in a small space has so many benefits, but it also means there is no escaping each other. Living in between caravan parks/free camps/showgrounds/national parks also means that your kids need 24/7 supervision that YOU need to provide. You don’t have a fenced off backyard where you can turn your back quickly to take the clothes off the line. There are dangers everywhere – cars, roads, water, animals, etc, that personally, I just can’t risk anything happening to my kids.
Being a Mum on the road is also amazing and rewarding. I’m so glad that we got ourselves into a position that we could take off to travel indefinitely and I get to spend all this time with my family. Being there all the time to watch our kids grow, comfort them, see the wonder on their faces when we experience new things and make memories that will last a lifetime is an unexplainable, good feeling. I love being a Mum and I love these two kids so damn much.
So this one was for all the Mums out there travelling – know that you’re not alone on the bad days and through the mundane tasks that still need to be done, and to all the other amazing non-travelling Mums – know that just because we don’t wake up in the same house, in the same neighbourhood every morning, it ain’t all rainbows and sunshine every single day that we’re on the road.