Thursday, August 8, 2013

Learning to be a Better Mom on the Road

The last couple of weeks have been crazy around here. It started with an impromptu trip to Houston.

Papa got an unexpected day off from work in the middle of the week. He would be sitting around with nothing really to do, and we would be at home missing him. At 6:45pm Tuesday night I decided we would make the 4 hour drive down to spend the next day with him. We left the house at 7:00pm. I literally just stuffed a bag with a change of clothes for each of us, threw some snacks in the front seat and put the entire laundry basket of clean diapers in the trunk.

Bug (2y) was unable to fall asleep in the car until just before we arrived at the hotel, so the drive down was rough. We arrived just after 11pm, dumped our stuff into the room, and crashed. I woke up to this adorable sight of Josh (8y) and Papa sleeping in exactly the same position.

We spent Papa's day off at the NASA Space Center. It was a fabulous day, until I dropped my beloved wrap in the toilet.

Okay, okay, so I'm being melodramatic about my wrap. Really, it was an amazing day. We saw pieces of the moon, the Saturn V, Mission Control, Felix Baumgartner's Stratos Jump capsule and suit (which was a huge hit with Josh and I, since we watched the entire thing live), rode a simulated flight to the ISS, and tons more.


The next day Papa had to go back to work, so the boys and I were left to hang out in Houston. We started by taking my wrap to a laundromat to wash the toilet yuck out, then we wandered wherever caught our eye.  The boys wanted to look at the animals in Petsmart. Sure, sounds great. Afterward we stopped at a paint class and observed (sadly we got there too late to participate). We had lunch and the kids played for a while. On the way back to the hotel we happened across this great little produce stand run out of a woman's garage and picked up the juiciest, most delicious peaches for snack. Then they swam the afternoon away until dinner.
It was amazing how relaxed I was with nowhere to be and no chores to be done, no errands to run. I was so patient with the kids. I wasn't hustling them from one activity to the next. They found the laundromat fascinating? That's cool, we can hang out and watch clothes spin. We have no where else to be. They want to stare at ferrets for 20 minutes? That's cool too.

I had no distractions from my kids and their happiness, and it was fabulous.

The other revelation I had was in regards to our things. You may think that having packed so little and rushed off so quickly, we would be left wanting for something we had forgotten at home, but we weren't. The kids weren't bored without their rooms full of toys because we were engaged with each other making up games to play with the things we had available. I wasn't missing my computer with access to all my social media sites. We had each other and everything we needed. The only thing I missed was having a book to read in my down time. Of all the things at home, just my books.

Friday we set off for home again and took our sweet time. Anytime the boys were getting antsy or saw something interesting, I stopped and we got out. There was no fighting or crying, no "Are we there yet?!" We had no reason to rush home, so we didn't, and again, it was great. We stopped at this great rest stop to eat and then the boys had fun feeding the giant ants.

We had such a good time, we decided to do it again the next week. We spent the weekend in a flurry of laundry and food preparations. You know what I found? We totally over packed. With all the time to think the second trip through, we brought too many clothes, and WAY too much food.

We had all this, plus another cooler. Way too much food.

Our first day back in Houston the boys wanted to spend the day at the library. Be still my heart. Bug still talks about these giant checkers. I need to find a set for him.

The next day we went to the Aquarium, which was a little expensive, but I'm so glad we did it. The boys had a blast, despite the heat, and Bug talks about the rides all.the.time. He absolutely loved it.

The next day we'd planned to go the The Children's Museum, which was free that evening from 5-8pm. We hadn't planned on Houston traffic though, and sat stuck on the highway for nearly an hour. Surprisingly, we all made the best of it. We chatted and laughed, and Josh got a huge kick out of this giant "Do Not Enter" sign.

Sadly, by the time we got there Bug had fallen asleep and stayed asleep in the wrap the entire time. Josh became enthralled with the machines at the entrance and we spent all our time here instead of going to see the rest of the museum. That was just as well, because it was too crowded to really enjoy any of the exhibits anyway.

Over the two weeks, not only did we make fun memories from all the places we visited, we grew closer together and strengthened our relationships. It's a little saddening to realize the kids weren't doing anything differently than they usually do. All the change came from my end. I'm hoping to hold on to this mentality and bring it home with me. I want to simplify life at home so I can be the attentive, patient mom I was on the road at home as well. The kids deserve it, and so do I.

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