Parent as Packhorse?

sparkyjuniortravelbackpackI don’t fly (my husband refuses), but Lisa Unger’s frequent flier article over at the NY Times this week had me groaning in total agreement.

I too have plane shame – or the road-tripping parent’s equivalent. Where I once traveled with one bag in hand, I now carry six. And it’s all due to the three-foot-and-change person who travels with me.

STUFF has taken over our vacations. Bags of it.

Our Mother’s Day trip to visit my in-laws down in Virginia required a bag for her toys (nine hours in the car, you better believe we brought toys), a bag for her accoutrements (kid toiletries – from the baby wash we still use to the swallowable toothpaste she likes best), plus that colossal bag for her clothes . . . extras of EVERYTHING lest we be stuck somewhere without a laundry and she spilled her way through a pile of t-shirts and shorts.

By the time we got done packing in a cooler full of cold juice boxes, yogurt and fruit, we had just enough room in the backseat for her booster seat . . . oh yeah, and her.

Put together, my husband and I had fewer bags then our (then) three-year-old. But our trip, to borrow a phrase from Unger, “required the mobilization of a small army.”

Her daughter has now been on more than seventy flights, and her passport is littered with the evidence of visits to far-flung countries. Unger calls her an “intrepid” traveler.

My daughter “travels well” too, despite someone teaching her those infernal words “are we there yet” this spring (Pennsylvania, by the way, is interminably long to a three-year-old, but even longer to her suffering parents). But there’s nothing like pulling up to a hotel, booking a room and then making six trips back and forth to the car for her stuff . . . when you’re only staying the night. Hey – we had to get her Elmo bathing suit. And her flip flops. And her (toy) computer. And . . .

Do you feel plane shame for your packhorse parenting?

Image: CSN

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