Written by Guest Blogger Emily Moxey: Traveller and Proud Canadian Mother
“You’re doing what?!?!?!” Yes I am … I am traveling with an 11 month old by myself, on an airplane for the first time, across the border to a big city to visit friends for 8 days who don’t have kids, and who live in a home with a lot of stairs. I heard it all from “you’re crazy” to “are you sure you should go?”; to “that’s a big undertaking” to a personal favorite “Be safe, the US is not like Canada…”
Here’s my story. And not only did we survive, but we had a fabulous time touring Philadelphia, while giving Mike and Derrick a glimpse of what life would be like with a baby under 1.
The trip did not come without its challenges, and what I will call realities. Let’s be honest, I didn’t have every baby luxury at my finger tips. Mike and Derrick were amazing and helpful from borrowing a playpen so Lucas had a safe place to sleep, and even covering a beautiful kitchen chair with a garbage bag so Lucas could enjoy his meals with us, and without fear of ruining said chair. Having the key basics covered locally (less to bring on the flight) was key. I could not have done this trip without the support of Mike and Derrick who were wonderful, accommodating and easy going (for the most part 😉 ).
Day 1: I was quite hesitant on how this trip would all go down, particularly on the first day. Mike thought it was a good idea to attend a fancy, outdoor dinner hosted by Pizzeria Stella at 7:30pm. Exciting right? Especially my arrival day after a 6am wake up for a morning flight with minimal naps… This is the spontaneity I love about traveling typically… but today… Wrong… insert overtired, crying, fussy baby that wouldn’t sleep in his stroller.
Reality 1: Dinner and being out until 9pm doesn’t work for a baby especially after only having a short airline ride nap. Even if it’s for pizza at Stella.
Although we may have gotten off to a “rocky” start on day 1, I was determined to make this work. Lucas was a superstar and slept amazingly the first night and fortunately this trend continued. Mike and Derrick were hands-on and helpful… this was going to be a success…right?
City Festivals: Pride in Philadelphia. An exciting time that we didn’t want to miss. We happened to be passing through the Pride Street Party on a Friday night. Off we went, Lucas half asleep and dozing with a light blanket covering his stroller. We stayed for about 2 minutes.
Reality 2: Taking a baby to a street party at 10pm at night amongst dancers, loud music and drunk people when he should be sleeping but can’t… falls under the irresponsible parenting category (in my personal opinion) and has no place in a baby-friendly vacation. Insert mommy-guilt moment.
After our 8 day visit, we accomplished so much. Running up and down the Rocky Steps hearing Lucas giggle uncontrollably; Derrick and Mike performing a puppet show for Lucas at the Free Library of Philadelphia; watching Lucas wade in the water and explore a mini waterfall at the family-friendly Sister Cities Park; and going to the Please Touch Museum where the toddler exhibits entertained Lucas for hours.
Reality 3: The biggest reality was something that I have learned from being a mother, and was reminded of everyday: everything takes longer than you think. A diaper change or poop explosion could make or break whether you see that tourist attraction which was on your list. Babies need to stop and be fed and can’t skip lunch even if you want to “power through” to get all the attractions seen. It’s a lot slower walking the streets of Philadelphia when you have to re-insert a soother every 100 steps in hopes your baby will have a nap.
The funny thing about all these realities? I wouldn’t change anything. This was my Mommy And Son End of Mat Leave Vacation, and it surpassed all of my expectations – it was a success which gave me new confidence as a Mom who still wants to see the world. Philadelphia is a wonderful city. These are memories I will forever cherish and one day I will be able share these pictures with Lucas. He will see the big adventure he had in the City of Motherly Love, and the love his Uncle Mike and Derrick have for him.
Thank you Emily for this post, and for sharing your adventures in motherhood with us! Please comment below: have you travelled with children before? Are you hesitant? Any lessons learned to pass along?