Never good enough to travel.
It all started with a conversation I overheard in Poland: “My daughter came just for few days back from studies and she went for one week to Lublin, then 2 weeks to Petersburg. My husband tells her to stop wasting money. But I calm him down and say: let her get this craziness from her system, she will get married, finally sit in one place and calm down.” I felt sad about this girl but then other variations of this conversation started to pop up in my mind, I’ve been there too: “you first get married and then you can do whatever you want”, then “first get children, for travelling you will always have time” and finally “wait till your child gets bigger and gets stronger and then go” (WTF! Get stronger? It’s a normal kid, what am I supposed to do? Children’s body building?). If you are from Poland (probably not only), you probably heard much more. Our families, our society wants us to feel guilty.
1. If you are single and travel, you should get married (don’t let me even start on the social tv spot about sobbing ex-Tokyo/Paris visitor not able to have kids. HELLO!).
2. You think: if you’ll get married, it will get better. NOOO!!! Coz then you have to have kids, kids, kids! Otherwise you will never ever, bla bla bla. For travelling you find some other time.
3. So you have a kid. Now it should be ok, right? EEEEEh… You wish!
What I heard till now was that I am a bad mother, irresponsible, egoistic, that I’m torturing my kid and that my daughter does not even remember anything from it. Let me elaborate on that.
How we are bad parents only because we travel
If you are traveling with your kids, the sentence you are going to hear the most often will be: “Kids will not even remember it.” Ok. So tell me about your trip 10 years ago to the seaside. What do you remember? Often what is left from our travels is just a short memory of the sun, the wind, a smile, a smell. No matter how old we are, our memory is not perfect, but we are not travelling just to remember it later on. If you want a detailed report on life in Chile, you watch a documentary. Going there just to store details in your memory makes no sense. Travelling is much more than memories. It is the experience that we get. All those impulses, even if they are not stored perfectly in our memory, play a huge role in creating us. Our 8 months old daughter definitely will not remember us visiting Montenegro, but it was then, when she started crawling. She will not remember visiting the Old Town in Bratislava, but it was in Bratislava, when she for the first time stood on all four. In Poland she got her first tooth and she started standing on her own in Lithuania. Every big step in her development happened during our trips. So, to answer the question, yes, she will not remember it. And?
Another common phrase is: “Why are you torturing your child with travelling, you are an egoist, and travel just for yourself.” Well, I truly believe that my child, any child, wants happy parents. If sitting at home, watching tv, and talking about crap makes others happy, it’s their thing. But why should I feel miserable, only because other people have different expectations about what brings happiness to my family. My child is not miserable when we travel, she is miserable when her family is miserable. So no, we are not egoists. We keep our family happy for our daughter.
“Travelling with a small kid is irresponsible.” Only if you want it to be irresponsible. When we didn’t have kids, we didn’t pay so much attention where we put stuff. Bleach could stay on the floor, pins on a table, balcony door wide-open, etc. But the moment you welcome a small creature into your house, you make sure it is safe for your baby. Everything may be irresponsible and dangerous. But it is enough to be prepared. As a parent you already know it, you don’t just baby proof your house, you baby proof your travels as well. Your destination, the length of your trip, how you go, when you go, what you do. All that had to be baby proof. So please don’t call us irresponsible.
Travelling is a disease
It seems that all the arguments against travelling, that we hear from people, have one thing in common: they treat travelling as a disease. Like with being single, being gay, or not wanting kids; our families and our society seem to think we will grow out from it. Travelling is not a bedwetting! We can’t grow out from it. That’s what we love. That’s who we are. So if they know that travelling, being single, being gay, or not wanting kids makes us happy, why do they do everything to make us feel miserable? If they claim to love us, why aren’t they happy for us being happy???
To all my single girlfriends traveling to Tokyo, to all my gay friends, to all my friend marriages without kids, to all my brave mothers taking their babies with them while travelling, we are all on the same page: we fight for what we love!!!Feel free to share: