Traveling With Kids, Mom Guilt and Other Stuff

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I read a lot of travel blogs.  A lot.  It seems that every article I come across about traveling with children discusses how great it is – how both the parent’s and children’s lives are enriched by the experience.  I actually don’t doubt it’s a great experience for both parent and child.  And I admire these families immensely.  I am looking forward to the day my daughter is truly old enough to explore the world with us, but until then, I’m choosing to leave her home.

But, Katie, didn’t you just take her to Cancun?  What’s up with that?

That doesn’t count – it’s Cancun, not an African safari.  Plus we were there with lots of babysitters  family, which is the key difference here.

My thoughts on traveling with kids...
We had lots of family with us in Cancun to keep our daughter entertained.


I like traveling with my husband.  I value the trips we get to take together – just the two of us.  While these trips might be fun with a 3 year old tagging along, they just wouldn’t be the same.  We are very lucky to have many ready, willing and able grandparents (and other family and friends) around that are more than happy to watch our daughter while we get some time away.  This is a major luxury,  I know.  We are lucky, and we take advantage of it every chance we get.

Mom Guilt

I love my daughter with all my heart and I am beyond happy to be a mom (we went through a lot to have her).  As much as I love my daughter, at 3 years old I have no desire to take her on any far away, exotic adventures.  But then I read all of these blog posts about families traveling the world with their young children.  They talk about what a joy and inspiration it is to travel with kids.

Cue “Mom Guilt”.  Because I must be the worst mom on the planet if I enjoy (gasp!) traveling without my 3 year old, right?  Maybe this all goes back to me just not being “that mom” – the one who has it all together and really, really enjoys motherhood.  I’m the mom who can’t fake enthusiasm at the lame library story time, the one who accidentally drops f-bombs at playgroup, the one with her nose in her phone at the play cafe because she just wants some time to herself.  That’s me.

So maybe, this article isn’t really about traveling with kids.  Maybe it’s just about me not being the mom I thought I was going to be.

My thoughts on traveling with kids...
We have lots of fun with my daughter, but I really value the trips alone with my husband too.

I’m Not The Kind of Mom I Thought I Would Be

I love being a mom.   I love how being parents has strengthened my relationship with my husband and generally encouraged us to lead healthier lifestyles.  But being a stay at home mom and spending all my time with a toddler is not for me.  Just typing that makes me feel guilty.  There are all sorts of good moms out there, and just because I don’t want to spend every day playing Paw Patrol and doing seasonally appropriate crafts doesn’t mean I’m not one of them.  I’m a good mom.  Sometimes we all need to be reminded of that.  We come in all shapes, sizes, colors and types.  There is no perfect mom, but there are a lot of good ones.  My husband always tells me, “Don’t let good be the enemy of perfect”.   Good is enough.  I am enough.

I am Enough

I am enough.  It’s so simple, but so powerful.  It’s also so difficult to take to heart.  No one is around every corner reminding me of this (because, you know, I’m an adult) so I have to remind myself.  It’s easy to doubt, but easy to embrace once you believe.  So I’m going to keep writing it down.  I am enough.  And I don’t have to take my beautiful little lunatic 3 year old on every trip I go on to prove that to anyone.

I will just write about it.  Because writing is cheaper than therapy.  Happy Travels.

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My thoughts on traveling with kids...




Xel-Há Park a great place for Snorkel, all you can eat & drink at Riviera Maya in wonder of the world.






This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Carrie @ Season It Already!

    Love! I especially like J’s “Don’t let good be the enemy of perfect”. Nice! True!

    Truthfully, being a mother is not only a full-time job, it’s an all-the-time job. You deserve a break, too. Not only for yourself, but also for her! So you can be re-energized and love the moments you DO spend together.

    (P.S. She’s so adorable!)

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Thanks : )

  2. Kevin

    You are not alone in that feeling. I echo all of your sentiments, except replace “mom/daughter” with “dad/son”. We’ve taken out son on the occasional extended weekend to Maine or New Hampshire, but it is really tough to enjoy when your 2 year old likes to take 2-3 hour naps starting at noon. And you are in for the night because he goes to bed between 8 and 9. We are also lucky to have family close by that love to have him for days at a time. That allows us to get away from time to time to recharge. You definitely are not alone.

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Thanks, Kevin. It’s good to know I am not the only one that prefers to leave my kid at home!

  3. Rita

    Good article. Kids need to get away from their parents too. That’s how they learn and grow up to be strong women who are not dependent on mommy or daddy for everything. The trips help you maintain being husband and wife and not just mommy and daddy. Plus it gives us grandparents a chance to connect with our wonderful granddaughter 👏👏

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Good point. Our trips away give our daughter some really special bonding time with the grandmas. : )

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