3 things you should know when traveling with a toddler.

airplaneFun

I have had my fair share of traveling with a baby/toddler. It’s not an easy feat. Definitely not for the faint of heart. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and just plain stressful. Once you get to your destination, whether by train, plane, or car, you can breath a little easy. Until that point you have to make sure you pack up the kitchen, the house, and everything in between.

When my oldest was younger I felt like it was a breeze to travel. She didn’t need much. A DVD player to watch and re-watch her favorite movies. Some coloring books and crayons. Snacks and beverages. Her blanket, and a change of clothes. Not awful. She would have her mini freak out moments here and there but for the most part she was the ideal travel buddy.

My youngest on the other hand is in a category all his own. We have taken a trip by car and by plane. Both were character building exercises when it comes to parenting. My husband is usually the driver and travel agent. While I take up the rear and watch over the kids. I am in charge of care, organization, feeding, and entertainment. We kind of have a system. It works.

Here’s the outline I follow to ensure a fun and happy time while traveling…

  1. Electronics are your friend. If you don’t believe in kids movies, games, or apps for your little ones then you’re missing out. I can not tell you how many times a Disney movie saved our lives from a catastrophic meltdown because he couldn’t have this or that. We had games and movies at the ready for him. I mean who doesn’t love a little mindless entertainment once in awhile. I’m not saying he was glued to the screens but they did help distract him during those moments when we were all ready to throw ourselves down and weep uncontrollably because the line for food was ridiculously long.
  2. Pack those snacks. It’s easy to go with out a meal here or there, maybe not if you’re a diabetic like me, but even then…when I get busy enough I can lose track of time. My kiddos love snacks and they can usually hold them over just long enough for real food to come or for them to pass out from exhaustion or boredom while waiting for flights to board. Don’t be afraid to pack a little bit of everything because of course at that stressful moment of trying to find your gates is also the time they decide the treats they once loved ¬†and cherished are now kryptonite and they want nothing to do with them.
  3. Lastly, a mental tip. Traveling can be a hassle but it’s like that for everyone. The way the kids act while trekking across the states or even countries is not a reflection on you as a parent. More than likely they are exhausted, hungry, bored, and probably too excited for wherever you’re headed to think about sitting still in a seat with nothing but sky to look at. Kids cry, some adults do too, just remember that you will eventually get to where you need to go and all will be right with the world. You’ll get through it, trust me, I’ve done it.

Have you recently traveled with little ones? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?

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The Diabetic Mom.

It’s weird to think I’ve been a type one diabetic almost as long as I’ve been a mom. My first pregnancy followed very closely to my diagnosis and it became a whirlwind of overwhelming emotions. I hadn’t really grasped what being a type one diabetic meant but I was going to have to figure it out quickly because it wasn’t going to be affecting just me. I was going to have a baby bump roommate who would be experiencing the roller coaster that is this illness right along with me. Needless to say it was a stressful time, happy, but stressful nonetheless. The beginning of motherhood, along with my diabetes journey, would cause me such anxiety I wondered often what kept me going. Aside from the beautiful, bouncing, baby girl smiling up at me. I prayed for strength and wisdom. He only gives us what we can handle but there were definitely times I was left feeling like the weight of the world were on my shoulders.

Thankfully I made it out of that worrisome time with a beautiful, smart, and perfectly healthy daughter, valuable knowledge to combat the tediousness that diabetes can bring daily, and a sense of humor. Because at the end of the day if you can’t laugh about it, even just a little, then life is going to be one big ball of yuck.

So I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss with you some things I’ve learned about myself, this disease, and motherhood, and how it’s shaped my view on life.

So let’s jump in…

The connective line between all three is me. If I am not on my game and doing my best then everything falls a part, not always drastically, but I have found that things don’t run as smoothly as they could be when I am in a funk. In the equation of life it is fundamental to remember you and your health. Whether that be mental, physical, or emotional. Doing what you can to ensure you’re at your tip top shape in those categories is key. Exercising, taking time to treat yourself, or even venting with someone in your support system, can all be ways to rejuvenate you and your health.

A technique I’ve used when I start feeling any sort of frustration, diabetes burn out, or insecurity in my parenting, I write it all out. Every single thing bothering me, I write it out, removing it from my thoughts and the fabric of me and then I crumble it up. I rip it to shreds. It doesn’t necessarily remove the “issue” but it gives me visual gratification that I am in control of the situation. Even when it doesn’t feel that way.

Alongside all of that it’s important to remember that we aren’t alone in this. Our friends, our family, and even our coworkers, are right there with us. They are ready and willing to be a shoulder, a comforting conversation, a useful resource for almost everything going on in our lives. The thing about parenting and diabetes is that neither one are easy. Each one comes with their own set of aspirations, frustrations, victories and failures, but not one of them have be done alone. Take the time to gather yourself up and allow your trusted confidants to take the wheel sometimes.

And above all else. Be gentle with you. Because you really are doing your best.

 

Community

Whether we see it or not we are all a part of various communities. It’s not a negative, and it should never be seen as separating one person from another. On the contrary it’s the glue that keeps a lot of us together. I happen to be a part of multiple communities in and around my city and I love it. Feeling close to people who get it, who understand what you are going through, it’s human nature. No one wants to be alone. They don’t yearn for that kind of life. Often times it’s just an unfortunate event that brings them to seclusion. It’s our job, the ones who do belong, to always make it a point to include others and go out of our way to be welcoming. Because that’s what community is all about.

The idea of community is to bring like minded individuals together and allow them the space needed to grow and flourish. We all need encouragement and support. When I embarked on the journey of motherhood I became a part of the mom community, we see each other at the grocery stores, sometimes dragging our screaming children behind us. We see each other out at restaurants trying to enjoy a meal that isn’t being cooked and cleaned up by you, and we smile, because we get it. We seek advice from one another because if anyone knows what you’re going through it’s another mom. And we’re always willing and ready to lend a helping hand and offer up what has worked for us.

Some of you may or may not know that I am also a part of a church community. And even though I have severely slacked in attending mass I know that if I needed them they would be there with open arms. Praying and sending love my way. We’re there for one another whether we see each other often or every once in a while. Because community is accepting each other, faults and all.

Another big community I happen to be a part of is the diabetes one. I may not meet up with other diabetics daily and discuss the craziness of this disease but I am always thinking of them. People I have met online and people I have met in person. We keep in touch and they are blessings to my life. They keep me motivated and striving for success. Their victories feel like mine and when they need a shoulder to cry on I’m there for them. Just like they’ve been there for me.

Community isn’t about segregation. It’s about finding people who have your back even if they don’t always agree with your choices. People who will stand with you when the going gets tough. Sometimes we just happen upon these communities, and sometimes they can save our lives. Community, to me, is one of the most important things you can have next to family. A solidarity, a trust, and a belief that when you’ve been knocked down or you’ve been beaten and bruised too many times, these people will be your support. They will always try to bring you back up. We should all want to be a part of something like this. Something so much bigger than us. I know I feel grateful every day for the moms, the diabetics, and the church communities I am involved with.

I couldn’t imagine it any other way.


Do you think community is important? Do you have a community or support system in your life, who are they? 

Sleep when baby sleeps…

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This is a very common phrase or piece of advice that is doled out to new parents, new moms, if we’re being specific. I heard it a lot during my first pregnancy, and again with my second one, however with my first I was actually able to sleep when she slept. She was the only one so all of my attention was on her. I solely focused on what she needed and even let my diabetes slip here and there. I ignored the laundry and the dishes. I vacuumed only so she wouldn’t get anything in her mouth she wasn’t supposed to. I literally did the bare minimum in house work and just enjoyed cuddling with her.

It was awesome.

With baby number two being a very rambunctious little guy and also having a very active seven year old now I don’t have many opportunities to “sleep when baby sleeps..” because when he is sleeping I am washing clothes and cleaning baby food stains out of the carpet and dealing with the aftermath of poo explosions, yes, those happen a lot. I am trying to give my oldest enough attention so she doesn’t feel neglected or feel any sort of animosity towards her little brother. I am trying to spend quality time with my husband. And this time around I am not allowing my diabetes to sit on the back burner. I’m busy being the secretary and planning meals.

There is so much more on my plate these days that when it comes to sleep it seems as though it is only something I can accomplish at night, once everyone is asleep, the house is semi picked up in case people stop by, laundry is done -because kids go through a lot more of it than you’d think- and I am just that exhausted. I can never sleep when baby sleeps during the day because there is always one thing after an other that needs my attention. So when I hear that piece of advice being thrown about…I cringe.

I’ll tell you the truth.

You can’t really sleep when baby sleeps unless you basically want to ignore the whole world. Occasionally it’s possible but those moments are few and far between. So no, don’t expect to sleep when baby sleeps. Instead of that incredibly played out advice I’ll say this, do try to relax whenever you can so that you can maintain your sanity. Always remember that eventually your to-do list will get done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and never be afraid of letting the laundry go for a bit. As long as you’re happy, your family will be happy.

It’s going to be okay!