Why Traveling with A Husband is Worse than Traveling with Kids

a belle, a bean & a chicago dogWhen I first read this post a few months back, I literally laughed out loud.  Because my own experiences traveling with my husband are nothing at all like this.

I’m kind of kidding about that last sentence.

Wrapping up the travel guest posts is Liz, from a belle, a bean & a chicago dog.  Liz never ceases to amaze me with her endless support, funny and touching posts, and her apparent ability to be everywhere in bloggyland.  Today, Liz talks about the joys of traveling with kids: the big and the little ones.

Why Traveling with A Husband is Worse than Traveling with Kids

Before I get started, I need to insert my disclaimer: The following list may not apply. If your husband isn’t really anal, with girly tendencies, traveling with him may be an easy-breezy, simple and enjoyable experience for you.

But for me it isn’t. Nope. No way.

Here’s why…

1. My husband implements a strategy for packing our bags. Not just, “What needs to go in the carry-on, honey?” but for every.single.thing we are taking with us. I seem incapable of packing, according to him, because I don’t naturally ball up underpants and jam them inside my shoes in order to save a centimeter of space. I don’t think of clever ways to use the cups of my bras to nestle travel-size bottles of shampoo. It doesn’t cross my mind to shove pantiliners in the pockets of my 4 year old’s shorts.

Silly me, right?

Maybe because he has triple the beauty products that I do, those minuscule amounts of square footage seem vital.

2. My husband asks me 57 times a day, for the week leading up to our departure, what time we’re planning on getting in the car and what time I’m waking the girls up that morning. I’m not sure if it’s for his own OCD needs or if he feels badgering me to the point of ripping my own hair out is the best way to ensure I’m aware of travel times.

3. And that brings me nicely to my next point. How often am I ever late? Doesn’t he know I have gotten myself and two kids ready every single day, on my own, since they were born? And tell me how often I ever forget something they need!

Planning for a vacation is something we moms start doing weeks in advance. We hit the Target Dollar Bins for some new toys, load up on snacks, and grab a few favorite DVDs. We lay out clothes, count diapers and make sure lovies make the cut in the – apparently – highly-coveted suitcase square footage competition. We moms have got it down to a science, so QUIT MESSING WITH US!

4. My husband’s apparently never heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’ve been telling him for years that it doesn’t do any of us any good if he burns through Mommy’s Bag O’ Tricks in the first 32 seconds of our trip. If the girls are happily scribbling on their Magna Doodles, let them! If they are content watching their current Backyardigans DVD, why turn to them and tell them you’ll start something new?

Once the bag of tricks is used up, we’re all screwed, buddy. So keep your trap shut and wait until they ask what else it is we have for them.

5. For some reason, my husband thinks it’s wise to frantically ask me, when we’re ten minutes INTO our trip, if I have everything we need. He goes through a roll call of sorts, even bringing up things that no sane person would ever take along. I assure him we have what we need, and then point out that if he was this concerned I’d thought of everything, it would have been helpful if he had asked, maybe, BEFORE we left the house!

6. Given the past 5 points, you’d think that with all his micro-management, he’d continue be right on top of things for the remainder of our travels. But, in fact, the exact opposite is true. As soon as we hit the airport, it’s like he’s never before met these little people, a.k.a. his children.

Me: Can you hand me the wipes?
Him — Where are they?
Me: In the same pocket of the diaper bag where I’ve kept them for the past 4.5 years.

Me: Grab me that bag of goldfish, please.
Him — Who are you going to give them to?
Me: Kate and Maddie.
Him — Do they even like goldfish?

Him — Is this jacket ours?
Him — Do these shoes belong to us?
Him — What time do they go to nap?

Me: Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

So there you have it. Traveling with my husband is more aggravating, more trying and more exhausting than traveling with my 2 kids. Give me airport tantrums, in-flight diaper changes and lack-of-sleep-induced meltdowns any day.

I’d gladly take them.

Vegas, Baby!

Taming InsanityEvery now and again, I read a post that I imagine (or wish) I might have written myself.  That’s exactly how I felt when this little ditty popped up in my inbox.

For the third in the series of travel-related guest posts, we have KLZ, of Taming Insanity.  If you’re not already reading KLZ’s blog, please go.  Now.  This woman is supportive, funny, and leaves what I think are the best one-liner comments in bloggyland.  Today she writes about a few of my favorite things: Vegas, bourbon, and traveling without your kids.  Ah, the good old days.

Vegas, Baby!

Vegas is an amazing spectacle of debauchery.

Unless you are pregnant.

Then it is a torture chamber. A torture chamber where you are forced to witness your husband’s spectacle of debauchery.

BTW, do you know how much one banana costs in Vegas? More than a drink. An alcoholic drink. So when your pregnant self is trying desperately to not gain 10,000 pounds, it’ll cost you.

But eventually it’ll come in handy.

Seeing as I was pregnant, you’d think I would have picked another destination. Except that I’m cheap. Plus, David always seems to manage to win cash in Vegas. I’m not sure how he does it and it upsets quite a few people we know. He’s been accused of having a horseshoe lodged up his butt by more than one person.

Ultimately, we were in Vegas because David had a conference there. Couple his company paying for his room and airfare with 300,000 United miles and what have you got? Say it with me: free vacation!

Let me clarify: a free vacation for my birthday.

My point is: this vacation seemed like a fantastic idea, expensive fruit and all. Not only would it be free but David would win money to pay off the expensive dinner we’d be having for my birthday.

Clearly, I’m not so bright.

The night of my birthday celebration started off harmlessly enough. I picked out a dress, which I slipped over my 13 week pregnant belly. A belly I thought was HUGE. I thought that everyone and their neighbors could see my belly. I thought that aliens in galaxies far, far away could easily identify me as pregnant. I mean, I couldn’t even button my pants!

We took this picture to document how “huge” I was at 13 weeks:

KLZ of Taming Insanity... 13 weeks

Again, I’m not so bright.

After that, we wandered over to the MGM for dinner. Where we had the slowest dinner service ever. David and I left pissed for different reasons. I had finally regained my appetite after all that morning sickness crap and hadn’t had my fill. David, on the other hand, was upset because he had intended to have more drinks before entering the Cirque Du Soleil show we’d bought tickets for.

Since he was sure they wouldn’t allow drinks in the theater (apparently he’d forgotten we were in Vegas and there were drinks everywhere), he ordered a couple at a nearby bar before we headed in. In his defense, they were pretty damn tiny drinks.

Still, this was the point where I should have headed back to the hotel by myself.

While David had his drinks, I got my pregnant self into line. Then I got out of line because I had to pee. I walked halfway across the casino, peed, then went and got myself back into line where David joined me.

We chatted idly when suddenly I noticed David was speechless. Speechless and gripping my arm quite hard. I followed his gaze. To the bar inside the theater.

The bar that was selling 32 oz. jack and cokes.

You know, I lied above. THIS was the point where I should have gone back to the hotel by myself.

Nowhere, ever, in the history of ever, should be allowed to sell 32 oz. jack and cokes. They lead to evil. They lead to your husband sharing his drink with a random stranger. Which wouldn’t bother you so much except that you are pregnant and the smell makes you want to vomit and you wish you could just go to bed already.

But you can’t go to bed. Because jack and cokes make your husband come down with “one more” syndrome. As in, “no, no, no, just one more hand and we’ll leave.” “just let the waitress come by one more time so I can tip her.” “I just need one more sip.”

Towards the end, these one more requests are met with one more death glare and one more threat of a punch to the throat.

Somewhere in here, I realized that I did not, in fact, look pregnant to anyone but myself. Which led to a lot of “Why are you being such a buzzkill, woman?” looks.

This in turn led to me loudly and frequently announcing “We have to go because I am tired and I am PREGNANT so we have to go.” Which is not super annoying at all.

Eventually I left my husband to share his drink with that stranger because I was tired and I was pregnant, so I had to go, as I reminded those at the blackjack table one last time. You know, just in case they hadn’t yet realized why I was so little fun.

When we awoke the next morning, David was not feeling so hot. So I handed him one of my mucho expensivo bananas. Bananas, if you don’t know, are high in potassium and potassium is good for hangovers.

He was…not enthused by my sacrifice. His head hurt and I was giving him a banana?

I fought the urge to tell him to store that banana with his horseshoe.

But the trip wasn’t a total bust. Since we’re talking about the horseshoe up David’s butt? We left that weekend up $400.

But neither of us knows how.

Our Little GPS

When I first saw a comment pop up from “Big Daddy” in my inbox, I immediately thought: “Hooray!  My husband is finally reading my blog!”

I did a little happy dance.

And then I realized that the bloggy version of Big Daddy is not, in fact, the same one I had at home.  It made me a little sad.  Until I clicked over to the blog of Big Daddy Autism, and was quickly drawn in by his wit, sarcasm and insights into raising his 13 year-old autistic son, Griffin.

And now?  I relish every time I see a message or blog post from Big Daddy pop up.  Because he’s one funny guy.  Just don’t tell my husband that there’s another Bid Daddy in the house… okay?

Our Little GPS

When Booyah’s Momma asked me to guest post I knew I couldn’t refuse. My guest post assignment – travel related.  Perfect!  I travel a lot – to Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.   However, I figured this guest post needed a more exotic locale, like my parents’ house.

Neither of our vehicles is equipped with a navigation system, and we rarely use MapQuest.  Once we bring Griffin someplace, he remembers precisely how to get there (and home again).  On a recent visit to my parent’s home in one of the typical Florida gated communities – where every home looks exactly like the other – Griffin’s talent came in handy.

Despite the claims of some builders in Florida, naming your home models the Roma, Firenze, and Milano do not make them individual masterpieces in the timeless style of Italy.  Flipping the floor plan, adding a palm tree or moving a half bath does not make a three bedroom split plan, cookie cutter house unique or classic.

Thanks to this overwhelming conformity, when visiting my folks, the only way I determine which driveway to pull into is by the vehicles parked out front.  On this trip my dad’s new car was sitting in the spacious two-car driveway, so I pulled in beside it, careful to only get a few inches of the right tires on the grass.  This was quite a feat since it appears “two-car driveway” must lose something in translation from Italian.   After taking a moment to gloat about my driving prowess, and fix the patch of grass I dug up pulling in, we all piled out of the car and headed towards the house.  Except for Griffin. Griffin refused to get out and was repeatedly muttering,

“This is not right.  This is not right.  This is not right.”

In hindsight, he should have been yelling,

“You idiots!  You idiots!  You idiots!”

It seems that, since our last visit, my parent’s neighbor, two houses up on Torino Terrace (or Sicily Street or Arezzo Avenue – take your pick) admired my father’s new car so much, he bought one just like it.  Same color too.  However, since muttering is one of Griffin’s favorite past times, we didn’t pay much attention to him and just figured he would get over it and follow us in.   As we rounded the corner and approached the front door, my daughter, seeing unfamiliar garden gnomes, lawn jockeys and insect figurines, recognized our folly and stopped just short of the entranceway.  She innocently shrieked,

“This isn’t Grammy and Poppy’s house!”

Like cockroaches avoiding nuclear Armageddon, the three of us scampered back in the car and backed down the street to Grammy and Poppy’s place as if nothing had happened.

I had completely forgotten that my dad’s car was in the body shop for repairs.  A few days earlier he “accidentally” ran over my mom and crashed into their laundry room door a while trying to pull into the garage.  He claims it was a gear shift mix up that caused the incident.  I have my doubts.   If Griffin knew how to gloat, he would have.  If my dad was a better driver, the whole episode could have been avoided.  Why my mom was guiding him into the garage like a runway flag man in the first place is still unclear.

Traveling Circus

As you read this, I’ll be 50K feet in the air.  On a red eye.  With my children.  Fun times await me… I’m sure of it.

Yep, we’re on vacation.

But, I’m honored that some of my favorite reads have agreed to come house sit my little corner of the internet while we’re off having a mid-air meltdown frolicking in the sun.   Their assignment (which I’m so pleased they all chose to accept), was to write about something travel or vacation related.  And I’m honestly tickled with what they came back with.  I know you will be, too.

Old TweenerFirst up on the agenda is the wonderful Sherri, from Old Tweener.  Sherri is the mother I aspire to be once I’ve got a few more years of parenting under my belt: someone who is insightful, supportive, and who is blessed with the knowledge that, just when you think you’ve got this parenting this down… your kids are always going to throw you for a loop.  And, yet, she takes it all in stride with grace and humor.

Without further ado, I give you…

The Traveling Circus

With the holiday season in full swing, many families are planning those extra-special trips to visit family and loved ones. You know, those people you moved heaven and earth to get away from. These trips may involve all manner of transport, including (but not limited to) planes, trains, and automobiles.

And while it seems like the hardest part of any trip would be planning the dates and purchasing the tickets, I can honestly tell you it’s not.

It’s bringing the children.

Before kids? I could buy a plane ticket or gas up the car, throw a few things in a small bag, get some cash and be off to enjoy the fun that a trip should entail. Since this didn’t include being frisked or body-scanned by airport security, the fun really did start the moment you got to the airport.

But now?  The amount of planning, coercing, and negotiating that goes into a family vacation is enough to make the boardroom in Trump Tower seem tame.

And there’s nobody to say “You’re Fired” to.

So I’ve devised a simple get-ready-for-travel plan for each stage of your children’s lives, a guide to help you survive your family vacation. You’re welcome.

Travel with Infants and Toddlers

Biggest issues: The most difficult things you will deal with when traveling with infants all relate to things leaving the baby’s body. This includes screams, cries, burps, drool, spit-up, projectile vomit, and basic bodily functions usually contained by a diaper. On a flight with a few hundred of your newest friends, any of the above mentioned things can cause them to turn on you. Quickly.

In a car? The sheer fact that you are all in close proximity to each other means that anything leaving the baby’s body directly affects all of you. And not in a good way.

When they hit the toddler stage, all of the above problems still apply, except that they are now bigger, noisier, stinkier, and can actually talk back.

Basic items to pack: diapers, toys that aren’t battery-operated or make noise of any kind, change of clothes for baby, wipes, change of clothes for mom, wipes, Cheerios, chewy snacks for toddlers (so they can’t talk), more diapers, tissues, paper towels, cash (for cocktails), earplugs (for your new friends), more wipes, and a ready supply of “I’m sorry” and “She’s teething” comments.

Good luck.

Travel with Adolescents

Biggest issues: Once you pass that whole itty-bitty kiddies phase, you’ve hit the big time: you’re traveling with big kids. There are still things leaving an adolescent’s body, but most of them involve whining and not bodily fluids.

So while you may not have to worry about extra wipes and diapers, you do have to worry about finding a decent restroom stop.

Which is about every 20 miles by car.

By airplane, it’s every time the “fasten seatbelt” sign goes on.

The next issue is the feng shui in the backseat of the car. Kid Number One can’t be too close to Kid Number Two, whose backpack full of toys and snacks can’t be bigger than Kid Number Three. There must be a distinct and separate pocket of air in which each child will breathe. Eye contact between siblings throws the whole thing off, so it’s not advised.

Children at this age not only talk back, but they have enough common sense to realize that your answers to their persistent questions aren’t always accurate. When you hear, “Are we there yet?” for the seventeenth time and you answer, “Just a few more miles!” your third grader is smart enough to realize you are lying.

Which throws a monkey wrench into the trip. Honesty is not always easy with adolescents.

Basic items to pack: every portable video game item you own, any snacks that you won’t mind being permanently ground into the carpeting in your car, paper towels, ear plugs (for you), pillows for children to use as a shield when they can’t even stand to look at each other, toilet paper (when you’ve gone past the last rest stop), and your anti-anxiety meds.

Good luck.

Travel with Tweens and Teens

Biggest issues: Now that your kids have reached their tweens and teens, they are almost like adults, and traveling with them should be fun! Just like traveling with friends! Only, not so much.

They may eat like adults and be adult-sized, but be forewarned that they are still little children when it comes to traveling with family. Seating in the car is not just an issue of feng shui but the size of growing bodies makes space an issue. So when Kid Number One has legs the length of the Panama Canal and wants to put his feet in Kid Number Two’s space there will be hell to pay.

If you are traveling by car and are the only true adult, another big issue is which kid gets to ride shotgun. Even if you find a fair way to decide this, shotgun will have to be monitored in terms of hours or miles, possibly involving an algebraic equation.

Music is also a huge thing at this age. On a road trip this summer with my two kids, I made the mistake of letting each make an hour-long CD of their favorite tunes to share in the car. About five minutes in, I realized the benefit of their iPods and headphones. Bring them.

But by far, the biggest issue with this group? Free Wi-Fi in the hotels and restaurants. I think Google should have a feature that maps the distance between free Wi-Fi spots. Of course, then you have to keep switching who is riding shotgun between stops.

Basic items to pack: sugary snacks, chargers for any and every electronic device your kids own, caffeinated drinks (for you), air freshener, twice as much money for food as you intended on spending, barf bags, duct tape (for mouths), and a camera.

So get out there people, and enjoy your family time this holiday season.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.