Jeremy has been a traveler since he was 2 months old. Travel with him has become more of a challenge as his mobility has changed and his needs have morphed into more than just a breast, a diaper, and a nap. Making him portable these days means packing smart and with purpose. For my birthday I decided to make a quick trip to Myrtle Beach to enjoy sun and sand with my LO. Here are some tips that helped make my life easier and I hope if you try them they will help you as well.
I started packing the week of the trip and I packed my son first and myself second. I used this wonderful bag from Amazon that I was able to put all of his clothes, towels, lotion, soap, shoes, and evening toys in. Packing early for him and myself gave me time to plan outfits based on the weather and proposed activities and try to color coordinate if possible (if you are into that sort of thing). As a single mother traveling I have learned planning is essential for me.
Diaper bag preparations:
It’s important to pack your diaper bag very well, especially if you are flying. You never knows when your flight is going to be delayed or if you’re going to get held up at TSA security check point and miss your flight. I always make sure I have multiple snack options. I have found airport prices to be exorbitant, the price for convenience they say. My little one has multiple snack favorites but it’s hard to know which one he’s going to want at a particular time so depending on the length of the flight I try to pack 2 of each of his favorites. Typically my diaper bag is a backpack style that I also got from Amazon but for trips I like to use my work bag from Thirty-One. I like the pockets on the outside which allow for quick and easy access of drinks/sippy cups, favorite toys, snack options, wipes, and the mesh pockets on the side serve for holding trash if I need it to or my phone if I need two hands quickly.
I also pack small toys and books to keep him occupied and I always have my back up — his iPad. He has limited access at home, so it serves as a treat in cases of emergencies. I also bring a set of over the ear headphones for him to use so as not to disturb others. Unfortunately a lot of toys do not have ear jacks so I just try and turn them to their lowest sound setting. I usually try to reach for his books first which thankfully he’s usually interested in because they tend to be quieter than his toys.
Handy mobilization options:
When my little one was small I transported him in his car seat with a converter stroller. It was very heavy but served the purpose because when we arrived I had his car seat with me and he was already strapped in. Now that he had put grown his first car seat I have searched for stroller options that work for me. The stroller that came with his system is nice because it’s large and allows me to put bag in the carriage underneath but it is also bulky for air travel, and after traveling with it and having it broken by the airline I started looking for another solution. I do like using it for car trips. The umbrella stroller is the next option I tried. Its nice for quick jaunts around town; however, I find the low profile hard on my back and shoulders for air travel. A friend who travels frequently recommended I try the gb Pocket Stroller. I used it this trip and loved it! One the way to Myrtle beach i checked it at the gate and it survived the airplane test and was returned unscathed. On the return trip I used it as a carry on and it fit nicely into the overhead compartment 😉. This saved us 15-20minutes of standing around waiting for the stroller outside the airplane. Anyone who has a mobile baby will tell you that when traveling with a little one who is tired, because they have been traveling all day due to a delayed flight, time is a precious commodity.
Pack your patience:
Gone for me, at least while he’s still young, of raising holy cane about delayed flights and compensation. I now “relax relate and release” as much as possible. I let my little one run around with me in tow behind him so that he has an opportunity to stretch his legs. He’ll be cooped up enough on the airplane. I patiently deal with the dirty looks of those that don’t like babies and don’t understand why I let him run around and talk — those that believe children should be seen and not heard. I apologize when my little one occasionally gets in the way of oncoming airport traffic. I’m also patient with the little one. While discipline and consistency is key understanding his moods in the context of overstimulation, new surrounding, new sounds, and new routines are important.
When I make quick trips I tend to only plan for 1 activity and take the rest as it comes. Recognizing signs of overstimilation, fatigue, hunger, and boredom as early as possible helps to avoid complete meltdowns.
Traveling can be a rewarding and exhausting. I find that the opportunity to expose Jeremy to new sights and sounds gives me a fresh perspective on experiences that I often take for granted 👩🏾👶🏾
Dating is precarious under the best of circumstances. The highs and lows of the emotions rollercoaster is enough for one heart to grow weary and faint in the processes. Being a hopeless romantic I realized early on in my youth that a gamut of feelings comes with the quest for love. I thought that I had found love a time or two only realize in the words of Stacy Lattisaw “I lost it on a lonely highway”.
So with baby in tow I set out on the highway of dating again. Given my current work schedule and being a mom going out and meeting someone organically at the store, library, mall, etc seemed far fetched so I decided to try an on-line dating site to meet people. Initially the choice gave me pause, however after talking with a few friends it seemed like a safe option if I was careful and also seemed like it would fit my current lifestyle. On-line Dating still has some negative connotations when I was asking around to get input and advice—some equate on-line dating with desperation, booty call options, and one person even said it’s the dating equivalent of of GMO! 😂🤣😂 While there are horror (true horror stories) the best advice I received from a friend of mine is to pick a site that has safe guards in place to protect your identity, not to readily give out personal information easily be smart and cautious just like you would meeting a random person in a bar--it really is not much different. So considering all the wonderful and hilarious advice I started looking at different sites. I looked at Plenty of Fish, E-Harmony, Match, Black People Meet but I finally made my foray onto CMB (Coffee Meets Bagel). I picked this site because it’s free, a friend of mine had used the site and recommended it, the matches occur at noon which is around the time I take my lunch break, it was started by 3 women and the interface seemed more female friendly, the site also provides a safe space to chat with someone without giving them my phone number initially, also I can "talk" (i.e. chat) on my schedule which can be limited at times and not have to worry, if I loose interest or get overwhelmed with harassing texts and/or phone calls.
So I setup my profile and got started! I cast a rather wide net of possible searches not wanting to limit myself too much in my potential matches. My first match I’ll call TY, for Too Young. His profile had his age at 26, definitely younger than me but as Aaliyah sang "Age ain't nothing but a number". We did the obligatory "hello who are you" dance. However, I wasn’t able to sustain interest in our conversations--if you can call them that. I mean how many “How was your day and Fines” can you exchange before it gets beyond boring! I needed more. I needed conversation. I needed someone who could engage me. I tried sparking topics that seemed to interest him based on the informationin his profile but found...none of that served as a flint to start a flame. I kept him on the back burner and looked at a new set of matches (hey you never know maybe he was just in a funky place). There were several who seemed interested however their bio left much to be desired so I passed. I know that I can be verbose and that does not always hold true for others particularly not from the distaff gender, but some information would be nice, something I can put my hat on so I can sit a spell and converse.
I kept searching and hunting; keeping in mind the phrase “I want to be as picky about who I date as my dog is about where she poops 💩!” So the next guy I decided to mutually match with had an interesting profile, I’ll call him EB, for Eager Beaver. Reported to have a job and to also be patient but during our chat messages on the site he seemed to have difficulty waiting for my responses and have nothing to do during the day to keep him occupied. Now I’m not saying I’m busier than most people but if you send me a message in the morning and I respond by noon I think I’m doing good. But apparently not good enough for him. So I started inquiring about what he did during the day and his response was “Nothing just watched TV”. Some choice words were exchanged via chat when I told him that I was busy at work and didn’t have time to respond to his messages every 5 minutes. So after our heated exchange of me trying to explain my work flow before I had the presence of mind to realize the I don’t have to explain myself to anyone 🤣😂🤣; I closed the chat! I loved that I could cut him off and not have to be worried about follow up harassing texts and messages! *WIN*
So I stayed with the site because it passed the avoid harassment test. The next guy I matched with let’s call him SA for Still Around! 🤦🏾♀️ Now this was an interesting turn of events; here was a match that behaved differently. On my profile I made no secret about the fact that I was a single mother and instead of the typical boring pleasantries and coyness he immediate asked about my life as a single parent. At first I was surprised, not because I was ashamed or didn’t want to talk about being a single parent but because its a topic that can complicate relationships. Instead of ignoring the issue he wanted to discuss it 🤔. So through our chats I’ve begun to see that he appears to be very honest, slightly brash, and engaging. Our chats on the site have been different than my other experiences: they have been filled with jokes and a sense of familiarity and comfort. So I finally gave him my number...We will see how this goes 😉 maybe after meeting at some point I'll give him my real name!🤣😂🤣
As a single mother my attention is constantly divided I must admit between my work obligations and my family obligations. I am far from perfect and at times I feel that my work obligations can sometimes begin to overtake my family obligations if I’m not careful. This past week was a blessing and joy for I had the pleasure of just focusing on my family for 1 full week with no distractions!
My village of supporters (Geechi and PopPop) had to go out of town for 1 week andI was therefore left to my own devices with LO in tow. Thanks to saved vacation time I decided to take a week off from work to spend unfettered time my son. Sometimes I get so used to help that I forget I am a capable mother and can do this on my own like millions of other women do. This week was just as much a needed time for them as it was for me to remind myself of my capabilities as a mother. As we departed my parents house and made our way back to my home so many things ran through my mind.
"What in the he-- are you doing?" "Did you pack everything?" "Did you remember his medicine?" "Do you think you have enough diapers?" "I have no groceries in my house!" "Did I clean out my in basket enough?" "YIPEEE!" "Are we going to have fun?" "How am I going to get the laundry done?" "Do I have enough gas?" "Did I bring enough toys?" "Am I going to be able to cook healthy meals with him?" "I want this week to be perfect!"
We pulled up to the house and into the garage. I turned the car off. Looked at my little one in the mirror and he smiled. I got him out of his car seat and he walked out of the garage into the drive way and turned around and looked back at me. We stared at each other for what felt like eternity but may have been about 1 minute and then we both laughed. Our week had begun!
Time with Jeremy flew by--we played games, talked to each other, sang songs, ran around the house, visited with friends, went to the zoo, spent time at the library, rested, but mostly we spent time just hugging and kissing each other. I think he needed this as much as I did. I learned from this week that its okay if the laundry gets behind a bit, it's okay if we eat out a bit more than I or the pediatrician would like, it's okay if I didn't finish my blog post, it's okay if my in basket gets cluttered at times, it's okay if my I haven't had a chance to do my nails or my pedicure, it's okay to be imperfect because in the end he just wants me!
Embracing my imperfection and striving for perfection through grace.