Dana Gallagher writes a blog The Stuff to Remember, and recently wrote about a trip to Paris with her 4-year-old daughter, which didn’t turn out exactly as she had anticipated. Her post about it, below, is incredibly honest, and a good reminder about how much unnecessary pressure on ourselves when we travel, and how we need to try to be in the moment.
I’ve been to Paris many times, some for work and some for pleasure but I wasn’t quite ready for this trip to Paris. This trip to Paris came with a whole new perspective on travel that didn’t quite hit home to me when we went to Mexico or Fire Island. Those vacations go something like this “should we go to the beach or the pool?”, no real stress or continuous movement involved there. Pleasurable to the kids either way, a win-win situation. The Euro vacation (in a big city anyway) is a whole other can of worms. There are subways involved, museums, fancy restaurants and SHOPPING to be done. And keeping your daily check list down to one thing with a small digression is hard. And jet lagged kids with jet lagged parents with jet lagged parenting skills is definitely a recipe for trouble. I’m not saying it sucked (yes, I’m saying sucked) but I am saying that I learned a valuable lesson (besides BRING A STROLLER). I learned that you have to really, truly be in vacation mode when you travel to a city that you want to see every inch of. To temper your expectations and remember that your kids will want to eat at the wrong time, sleep at the wrong time and have a really short attention span. If you can go to a city you love (and I do love Paris) and just be in the moment, be happy with whatever you can get to that day and be able to let go of your own agenda—chock full of things you will not be able to get to—and let go of your regret, you can enjoy this kind of travel with a small (almost 4) child. Having said all that, Imogen was a great traveler. Her mother, on the other hand, needed a minor mental adjustment.