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One of the major things I learned early on in motherhood was traveling would be much tougher moving forward. No longer would I just quickly slip on my shoes, grab my phone, grab my keys, and be out the door. No longer could I decide to head out-of-town for the weekend last minute. No longer would a quick trip to the grocery store be just that – a quick trip.
Good thing I recognized this truth early on because, man, was I right.
Though I was right about traveling being tougher with twins, I did not expect all of the scheduling and stress that came along with it. Since I live a couple hours away from my family, I often found myself living out of a duffel bag. I also found myself traveling almost every single weekend to see family or friends – something with a great end result, but causes anxiety on the way. My calendar quickly got marked up – and if that wasn’t already daunting, I found myself feeling guilty for taking the girls away from their father due to his hectic work schedule.
The anxiety, constant packing and unpacking, and stuffed calendar did lead to amazing memories, but I learned some key pieces to surviving the summer-long road trip along the way.
Photo credit: Jennifer Aline Graham
- Before you start, think about the end. It may sound a little cliché, but I had to do this many, many times as I wrote the long to-do list of what to pack. I hate packing. I hate living out of duffel bags. I hate packing the girls into the car crossing my fingers they’ll sleep the whole way. The anxiety was never-ending, but when I took a step back and thought about the end product of our road trip, it helped. It allowed me to realize the reason for all the packing and to-do lists and numerous trips to the car: the reason was the memories. Wherever we were going, however far it was, we were making memories and that’s truly what mattered.
- It won’t get much easier. Negative Nancy wrote this tid-bit of advice, but all for good reason. Though packing and writing those lists and planning ahead does cause some anxiety, most of the time, it always will. Even if you really put effort into relaxing and just going for the ride, you’re putting effort into that. That effort can sometimes be the hardest part. Coming to the realization that traveling (with twins or a singleton or toddlers or teenagers – whoever) will always come with some kind of stressor can make that stressor seem less, well, stressful. You expect it; you prepare for it. So, each time you travel, make yourself that big cup of coffee and just go for it.
- Sometimes, you need to be selfish. I don’t know how many times I can emphasize this statement, but it’s one I continue to focus on. During this summer’s chaos, I focused on pleasing others and keeping my girls happy – rarely did I focus on my own mental well-being. Therefore, during the long trips across the state, the hours spent packing and unpacking, and all the get-togethers we went to, I forgot to be selfish. Sometimes, you just need to be selfish and say “no,” even when you don’t want to. That little “no” may leave a sour taste in your throat, but it will give you a little time to breathe.
Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.
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