Or that’s what everyone told me anyway.
Before I fell pregnant I constantly got told not to rush into having children (I got married at 22 so people must have thought I was the kind of person who liked to rush into things). They told me to live my life before I had to give it all up to look after another small human being. They told me to travel before I had kids, wait until I was older, blah blah blah you know the drill.
I’ve always been VERY broody, so at the age of 25 I decided I was finally ready for a baby. I had a stable home, job and marriage so there wasn’t anything holding me back. My husband and I decided to take one last trip away, somewhere long-haul that we figured wouldn’t be very baby friendly. So we went to China.
Fast forward a few years and I’m calling bullshit. I now have a demanding one year old who doesn’t sleep through the night, is grouchy if she doesn’t nap and likes to be constantly entertained. But to date we have taken her to five different countries. We drove from the midlands in the UK to the North West of France with her, we flew to Italy and climbed for hours across a cliff-side, me carrying her in a sling and my husband carrying her pram, we did a week long, 1400 mile, road trip around the whole of Iceland with her at 6 months and most recently we took her to Saint Lucia and Antigua – an 8 hour flight and a 5 hour time difference.
Not once during those trips have we thought “Shit. We really shouldn’t have done this with a baby”. Yes we had a little extra luggage with us, yes we were a bit more wary of the trips we took, and yes it meant that we couldn’t both go and get pissed at the all-inclusive bar and stumble back to our hotel room at 1am but these were sacrifices we didn’t even think twice about having to make.
I’ve always wondered why people used to tell me that having a child was the end of my freedom, but I realise now that it’s because they’re the people who allow their freedom to be stolen. We managed to go abroad, experience different climates and time differences and still manage to give April 3 meals a day, all of her naps and her bedtime was on time every night. We’re not super parents by any stretch of the imagination, we just have a passion to travel and the determination to make it work.
So as I sit here planning our 10 day road trip to the West Coast of the USA in November, I want other parents to know that you CAN travel with a child AND have a good time. You don’t have to be Mr and Mrs organised, you just need to carry a few extra things. If you’re planning to have children and wondering if you will have to give up your life and freedom for it, the answer is no, not if you don’t want to.
So, to those people who feel as though having children has stopped them from living their lives – you’re wrong. Your children didn’t stop you, you stopped yourself. So go out there and live a little, there’s still time.
P.S. hope you enjoyed looking at some of our holiday photos – my husband is a bit of a fab photographer – www.davidkinallyphotography.co.uk 🙂