Preface: This will probably be my longest post ever! So, if you don’t want to read through my entire crazy travel day experience then you can stop reading now- but if you want to hear a story about a real moms cross country moving day experience then read on!
Recently our little wild family of 4 made a huge move across the country. Needless to say, it was quite the experience as we packed up our lives and flew across the USA. We were two adults with two kids under 2yrs old making a huge move. Not only would it take us 1.5 hrs to get to the airport, 5 hours of plane ride time and a 30 min very hot car ride to our “new home” we also would battle a 3 hour time zone change, sick kids and a new fully furnished home I had never seen before.
So our big day arrived (which consequently had already been delayed by two days because our almost 2 yr old had been throwing up and super sick the night before our original move day). This lovely travel day began at 5:15 A.M. as I slowly dragged myself out of bed after already been awaken multiple times in the night to feed my 3-month-old. As I rolled out of bed and realized it was moving day, I freaked out a little and then quickly washed my face and got myself ready for a day I had long been dreading. I checked the baby monitor and thankfully both boys were still sleeping. I frantically finished packing all our “last minute items” in our two checked bags, which were stuffed full, weighing in at around 50lbs a piece. When I say pack I mean shove and shove until everything is in the bag and it is zipped up- haha! I was praying they would pass the weight limit check when we got to the airport because there was no going back now- all our other belongings had been shipped out on a large moving truck a week ago. So it had to fit and I was just praying it would make the cut.
For the past week, the kids had been sleeping in some pack and play’s, in empty rooms with no toys, books or anything in them but blank walls, sound machines, and baby monitors. My kids are super troopers for all they had to endure during this moving process. Thankfully kids are very adaptable and mine found other things to entertain themselves with during this transition time.
As leaving time approached I had to wake up both kids to get them in the car and ready to head off to the airport. It is a 1.5hr drive to get to the closest airport from where we were living and that car ride is long with kids, especially at 6 am. If you have ever had to wake up kids from sleep in the morning than you understand how awful it is to have to do to them. So I started with the baby, got him awake, fed him and put him right in his car seat, he seemed less than thrilled to be awake- but reluctantly ate and got in his car seat. My toddler, on the other hand, was not very excited about being woken up to leave for the airport. First off, I had a hard time waking him up, he must have been in a deep very deep sleep because I had to pat him, pinch him and pretty much shake him awake before he even began to move. After sort of waking him up, it was time to get a diaper change and plane clothes on- haha this was a disaster. He was kicking, screaming, crying an enormous amount of tears in a half-asleep super grumpy state. I quickly got him ready with minimal damages from that first tantrum and off we drove to the airport.
The car ride consisted of me in the back seat between both car seats (which we had to borrow and buy for this one day trip- since our other car seats got sent in our vehicles a few days prior). Also just a side note- traveling with kids is ridiculous mainly because of all the things they need just to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, our little baby screamed and continually cried for the first 45 minutes of the trip, he is not a big fan of car rides in general, but then thankfully he slept for the remainder of the time. My toddler, on the other hand, is a great car rider but at this point, he was fully awake and just wanted to talk and point out every little thing he saw along the way. So my entire ride was filled with answering questions, trying to entertain baby and toddler at the same time. Needless to say by the time we arrived at the airport I was exhausted already from entertaining both kids in the car, squished in the backseat.
We quickly unloaded our massive luggage situation which looked like this: One adult with a baby strapped to them, a diaper bag, a purse and a checked bag being pulled behind them. The other adult with a backpack, pushing a stroller with a toddler in it, pulling a checked bag behind them. I bet we were a sight to see- LOL! We rolled on up to the check-in counter and to my surprise (thank you Jesus) our checked bags made the weight limit coming in at 50.5lbs and 44lbs- whew I was relieved for that!
Thankfully our experience getting through security was a breeze. Everyone else flying that day must have had sympathy on us because we looked like frantic parents with crazy kids, just trying to survive the airport security check. It was a production as we went through TSA and unpacked and then repacked up all our stuff and the kids. I am not even really sure why I so neatly packed everything, to begin with, because it all gets tousled about and into a huge heaping pile as we scramble to get down the line through security. But we did it and we didn’t even get searched our stopped to scrutinized by TSA with our carry on bags- which usually happens. Guess we didn’t seem like a threat to anyone at that time.
We strolled on down the airport aisle to find the gate, only to see that it was still another 30 minutes before boarding- ugh! Having to find ways to entertain a 2 yr old in an airport is not easy. I needed him to burn off some serious toddler boy energy before sitting on a 5-hour plane ride. So we let him loose to run up and down ramps, get on and off the moving walkways and weave in and out of seating areas. It was a sight to see as I walked around with the baby strapped to me, pushing an empty stroller packed full of our carry on items, and my husband chasing the toddler all around the airport. We were definitely something to look at, a pack mule and a chicken with his head cut off chasing a toddler. And well, of course, the toddler was screaming every few minutes because dad was attempting to protect him from hurting himself or running into people or touching every disgusting germ-infested thing at the airport. Finally boarding time! As we prepared to get on the plane, there just happens to be at least 8 people who need wheelchair assistance on and off the plane (this meant it took an extra 15 minutes of waiting time to get these people on the plane and settled). We flew Southwest, and if you have ever flown with them then you understand the no assigned seating situation and how hard that is for parents. So a whole 66 people in group A get to board before us. Thankfully we got family boarding, which comes right after group A gets on, and we made our way onto the plane only to discover that the earliest open seats for three are in row 26 right behind the wing of the plane. Yippy a very loud location, with a not so great view, pretty much at the back of the plane- ha figures! But we made our way into the seats and settled in for the long upcoming flight. Honestly, I am so thankful we were able to fly with the kids and not have to drive so please don’t read this as a total rant post and know I am so appreciative of all the good things that happened this day too.
As we sat down, my 3 month old suddenly has a hunger attack and desperately needed to eat. I was really hoping to hold him off till the plane took off since I have heard you are supposed to have your baby suck on something while taking off to help with the pressure changes, etc. during the initial ascent. So in an attempt to keep him happy I get out my nursing cover and began to breastfeed. This is happening as all the rest of the people boarding are walking down the middle aisle of the plane trying to find a seat. It’s bad enough that I have to nurse in public sometimes, but when I do it’s just that I don’t really want to draw attention to myself while doing it. And having a parade of people walking by you as you breastfeed your child is less than ideal for the start to any flight. Thankfully the baby ate well and fell asleep pretty quickly. Our toddler was doing ok, he started off watching his favorite movie on the Ipad and all seemed to be going smooth as we flew off into the sky toward our new home.
Seriously like 45 minutes of air time and it all began to fall apart. The toddler was getting squrimy he just could not sit still he was yelling, crying, demanding things, throwing things, having meltdowns, you name it he was doing it and it was awful. To make matters worse, both the kids were sick and snot was just flowing from their noses like a faucet. Trying to keep them quiet was impossible at this point, stopping them from putting everything in their mouths was not happening. The toddler, in his unconsolable state, scared his brother half to death which led to multiple screaming kids in this airplane. Nothing was helping them calm down now, it was a full-on meltdown disaster and everyone on the plane must have hated us.
About 2 hours into this journey the baby has a huge poop. So I take him back to the teeny tiny airplane bathroom, change his diaper get him all happy and situated back in our seats and no joke in less than 2 minutes of being back in our seat what happens- he explodes again with poop. This time it was loud, it smelled and it was all squished all over in his diaper about to leak out. In a panic, I was hoping to get right up and get to the bathroom changing area again, but sadly for a full 20 minutes, I was unable, since everyone else on the plane just had to pee during that exact same time. So the baby begins to fuss, he is uncomfortable, he has a runny, clogged up nose and clearly is struggling to breathe at this point. Our toddler has somewhat settled down, eating snack after snack playing with the Ipad, but starting to get the wiggles again. Then he turns it on and really starts to get fussy. He is SO overtired, grumpy, crazy all at once. At this point we are both freaking out, our kids are being horrible the baby is full-on crying, the toddler is melting down again and needs a nap and we are losing our minds as to what to do.
So we switch kids back and forth trying desperately anything we can do to console or fix this screaming nightmare from our kids. Finally, the toddler is exhausted enough he falls asleep in daddy’s arms and is quiet. I finally got a quick chance to change the babies diaper AGAIN. After returning to my seat I attempt to nurse him, which always causes eyes to stare at me, and he fusses for a while but then thankfully falls asleep. Both I and my husband are just cringing in exhaustion and embarrassment, as we hold our kids in the most awkward positions for ourselves praying they will stay asleep for the next hour. Luckily they do take decent naps on the plane and we both sit in pain as our arms and legs fall asleep holding them in those awfully awkward positions- but willingly doing it- because we know if we dare wake them up what terrors they might unleash. After about an hour and a half, they both wake up with snot everywhere, watery eyes and a little better moods. We are thankfully able to keep them both occupied for the next hour- not easily but successfully until the plane lands.
We got off the plane and let me tell you the glares, stares, and looks we got from people were less than happy smiley ones. We realized the toddler had not been changed once on the flight and had completely soaked through his shorts with pee and now desperately needed a diaper change. So in a disgusting, extremely busy airport, we park our load of stuff and I took him to the ladies bathroom for a diaper change. Of course, this was a disaster as well, he didn’t want to lay down and get changed, he just kicked and screamed and beat on me till I finally got him calmed down and proceeded to do a stand-up diaper change with my child clinging to my neck. A sweet mom washing her hands nearby offered me condolences as I attempted to make my toddler behave for a diaper change. She said, “ Hang in there, I have flown with 2 littles ones before and I understand how hard it can be- can I help you in any way?” I politely and a little embarrassed said: “no thank you, I think we are ok, I’m just trying to survive today.” Maybe God knew I needed a little encouragement at this point in the trip, but I was so thankful to have someone with a shared experience offer help and simply say I know what it’s like to be where you are right at that moment. So finally cleaned up and somewhat ready we attempt to get the toddler in the stroller which turns into a full-on screaming, kicking tantrum. I finally calm him down enough to bribe him with a “special” treat (more snacks from the plane ride lol) and he is harnessed in. I then re- strap the baby to myself and off we go to get our luggage.
The walk from getting off the plane to where our luggage comes off the carousel thingy was like 2 miles long. I mean we must have walked the entire length of the airport and then some just to get our bags. Thankfully all along the walk, there is plenty for the kids to look at, from restaurants to shops to slot machines and flashing lights everywhere it was at least a quiet walk (despite all the noise of an airport) on our end.
We finally arrive at the carousel to find out bags beat up and going round and round. My husband grabs one of the 50lb bags and I grab the other only to discover somewhere along the way one of the handles on our bags is broke, so we are unable to wheel a 50lb bag anywhere- it has to be carried to the car… So my very sweet husband who already has a fully stuffed backpack on and is pushing the toddler in the stroller now has to somehow carry a 50lb suitcase all the way to the car. I was no help with a backpack of my own, the diaper bag, the baby strapped to the front of me and me pulling the other checked bag I couldn’t do a thing. However, my very sweet brother-in-law came to the rescue and decided to meet us inside the airport, he was our ride to the new house, and he helped with this awful luggage situation.
We get outside and its like 100 degrees, the heat from the pavement was startlingly hot, it was literally burning my skin and possibly melting my shoes. Plus the hot air blowing around felt more like a hair blow dryer on high than a cool breeze on my face. So as we proceed to the car, all of us sweating to death, exhausted and a little stressed as a million people are flying by us with their luggage and lost looks trying to figure out where to go too. We finally get to the car and I am so happy to be in the car. The car seat situation had been thought about prior to leaving so we had borrowed car seats for the kids and I sat in a teeny tiny back seat squeezed in between the kids.
The ride from the airport to the house was only 23 minutes but it felt like an eternity as my baby literally yelled and I mean yelled at the top of his little lungs so loud it was baffling the entire way. With all my energy I was trying to keep him entertained, well really just stop him from yelling like this (even though I totally felt the same way and wanted to scream at the top of my lungs too). I was unsuccessful at it, but in doing so kept the toddler entertained with my funny tactics. We arrived at our new place got everyone out and ventured inside to a place I had never seen or been in before.
My husband had to come out to this location for work a month ago and during his 2-week long work trip, he had to look at properties and find us a new home to rent. Let me just say, leaving things like this to men is not always the best, they just don’t think like women or even anywhere close to a mom- but I was seriously so thankful for a place to live. As soon as we walked in the door I began baby proofing the place. Survival mode kicked in and it was an entire week until our belongings arrived, which seemed like forever. Luckily we had enough clothes and personal items to make it through till our stuff arrived.
The good news is, this experience was only one day and as hard and challenging as it was, we survived it and made it through the big move. God doesn’t always say life is going to be easy or that the hard days in our lives are going to be good. But he does promise to be there with us, guiding us and loving us no matter what that looks like.
Thanks for reading all about my crazy travel day- if you have ever had a wild travel experience share it in the comments below. I would love to hear all about what other moms have been through when traveling with kids!
Until next time,