Picture by Shelly Young Photography in Orange County, CA
It happens to the best of us. You post a seemingly innocuous late-night Facebook status update that you find amusing before you hit the sack, only to get up the next morning and discover that the digital masses really took it to heart and then plastered your page with their own two cents. And then you have a dilemma: you can either try to address the variance of viewpoints and flesh out your own perspective on the matter, or you can ignore it and go on about your day. Or, if you’re my husband, who is currently in this exact social media conundrum, you can ask your wife to ditch the maternity photography angle she was developing for her pregnancy blog and instead write about the personal jam as a much bigger picture issue in which a larger audience might find both humor and connectivity.
If you’re interested in maternity photos and you’re LA-based, you should check out Lori Dorman Photography. These ladies are truly amazing photographers with a really unique approach to maternity photography. But if you’re interested in the great debate about traveling with an infant, read on.
The status update that gathered both dissenters and supporters among my husband’s 807 Facebook friends to one digital roundtable of midnight discussion was as follows:
A quick personal background note: the very basis of our relationship is rooted in international travel. We met while on an educational high school trip to Western Europe and, since then, we have cumulatively worked and played in over thirty countries. Some of these trips were tropical adventures in relaxation. Others were explorations of art, culture and history in major capital cities as well as small European hamlets. And still others were about cashing paychecks in the stifling summer heat of the Middle East and in war-torn areas of Central Europe. In short, we’ve been there. We’ve done that. And we’re nowhere near done.
It is this component of our lifestyle that seasoned parents often like to isolate and then generically comment on how everything is going to change now that we’re having a baby, as if our lives are about to forever transition to one of house arrest. This bugs my husband in the same way that I get annoyed with people who start their sentences with “Wait ’til your kid is [insert irrelevant age here]!” Shut up. Our kid isn’t even born yet, and your experience is not necessarily guaranteed to be our experience.
We’re not naïve. We know things are changing. Now that we have a baby to consider, we know better than to take international jobs in high-risk areas of the world, or to travel in a region where the low is 106 degrees, or to road trip through a handful of countries in a short amount of time on the quest for passport stamps. We know all of that because we’re already experienced travelers, so we have the ability to reasonably anticipate what wouldbe too challenging for us with a little one in tow. And because we’re experienced travelers, we know how to plan the heck out of a trip, which means you can bet my husband will be an obsessive research junkie when it comes to analyzing all the pros and cons of a certain vacation concept with a baby before actually booking it.
I’m not about to claim a long flight with an infant will be easy or enjoyable. I hate sitting next to fussy babies on the plane as much as anyone. My best friend from college took her infant to India when he was five-months-old and I recall her telling me that she wanted to cry by the end of that long flight. However, that didn’t stop her from continuing to travel with him, both domestically and internationally. Now, at age two, her son knows the airport security drill backwards and forwards and, when he’s on a plane, he acts as if he has been traveling his whole life. Oh wait. He has. In her case, practice, patience and perseverance were the keys to ultimately developing her son into a good little traveler who actually enjoys both the journey and the destination.
I also acknowledge that, at some point, we’ll probably fail. No parent is perfect, after all. But we’ll persevere and make adjustments accordingly for next time. We’ll adapt to our daughter’s wants and needs, just as she’ll adapt to ours. It’s all part of the learning experience that never really ends when you’re a parent, whether it’s your first time or your tenth. And isn’t that constant learning curve one of the best parts of the whole adventure in parenthood? From what I’m told, parenthood itself is a trip, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!
Thinking about traveling with infants or small children? Here are some handy Web sites to check out: