Parent Should Go On a Solo Trip With Their Child
I recently took my 11-month-old daughter Ellie on a three day solo trip to Chicago. We flew eight hours round-trip on a plane and explored a brand new city all by ourselves.
You may be wondering why anyone would take a teething, crawling baby traveling by themselves when they have a partner, or even why take a baby traveling at all? Am I masochistic? Am I trying to exclude my partner from having fun with us? It’s not about either of those things.
Traveling with a baby or a kid of any age is a challenge, but here are some reasons why every parent should try it once.
It builds confidence as a parent.
Believe it or not, I was not always so brave about taking Ellie out by myself. I remember for the first 6 months or so, the thought of even taking her to the store by myself would bring on a near anxiety attack. I knew something had to change.
What I discovered while flying to a new city and traveling with Ellie alone is that I am a capable mother. After a couple of on-the-go naps, public diaper changes, restaurant meals, I realized I can handle each challenge as it came along. It still wasn’t easy, but everything was really easier than I imagined. It gave me the confidence I needed to be able to take Ellie out on my own without always relying on my partner to be there to handle every crisis.
You find your potential as a parent.
Maybe you and your partner have developed roles in parenting. Maybe he is always the diaper changer and the bather, and you are the meal maker and feeder; maybe you are the comforter and he is the disciplinarian.
When you are alone with your child for a few days, you have to take on all the roles of a parent. You are alone for every meal and bath time, for every bump and fall, for every screaming tantrum. You build trust and understanding between you and your child that you are there to take care of them completely.
You appreciate your partner more.
This is a no-brainer, but it really gives you a nice reminder on how helpful it is to have your partners support.
You build a lasting bond with your child.
This trip is for you as much as it is for your child.
Maybe you aren’t like me, but I didn’t immediately bond with my baby. Sure, when she was first born, I was very emotional–with a wide range of emotions–and I had a maternal instinct to protect and love her. But, the real bonding took weeks and months as I slowly got to know her, just as I would anyone in my life.
Alone time with your child is important for bonding. Both my partner and I took many trips and made great memories together with our daughter, but I realized it was important for me to connect with her one-on-one. And not just in the everyday setting. Taking a trip together will forever set this experience apart in my memory and I will recall it as a special time when I learned so much about how to be a mom to her.
You find human kindness.
The news have been depressing lately have they not? Gun violence, bombs, racism on repeat everyday–it’s no wonder I am starting to lose my faith in humanity.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve found it again while traveling alone with my baby. There was always someone looking out for the single parent with a baby. They are there to offer a helping hand or at least a smile and a kind word.
My favorites were the little boys at the airport who had no sense of personal space. They were two different little boys I met at different times aged maybe 3 or 4, and both of them came right up and started curiously grabbing Ellies dangling feet and hands as she sat in my Ergo. One really insisted that I give Ellie his lucky penny that he found and the other boy gave Ellie a big hug. Even though it was complete chaos at the airport and stress-levels were high, I walked away with a huge grin permanently plastered on my face.
And it’s a two-way street. There was a lady that came and sat by us on the lawn of an outdoor amphitheater on our first night there. She laughed as Ellie crawled and climbed all over me. She said she hasn’t been feeling well in a long time and had sad looking eyes, and though our time was short together, I was glad we brought a smile to her face.
It makes me sad to leave so soon, but I’m already planning our next trip back. I know Ellie will fall in love with the city just like her mom did.
My original inspiration to do this trip came from this dad’s trip with his daughter. Definitely a great read! Hopefully I was able to add my perspective to it.