Nervous doesn’t begin to describe the feeling that came over me as I stepped into the car.
The kids were secured in their car seats. We’d said our goodbyes to my parents and brothers. The car was packed. I was well prepared, that I was sure of. What I wasn’t sure of, however, was how I’d survive a 10-hour road trip on my own with three kids 5 and under.
Months ago, when I made this plan, it sounded like such a great idea.
“It’s going to be an adventure!” I told them excitedly.
“Yay!!” They responded, matching my enthusiasm.
While I thought it would be a fun experience, it wasn’t until a couple days before our departure that I started to think about how stressful it would be. Three kids on a long car ride alone actually sounds like some form of torture. I feared they would scream, cry, throw food everywhere, tell me they have to go potty every five minutes … you name it.
On our way down I had my husband with me, so when the kids needed something, I could help them while he drove. We had mastered our tag-team system on the many road trips we’ve taken as a family. We were a well-oiled machine and how dare we try to mix it up by eliminating a parent from the equation?!
But it had to be done.
My husband had to take a flight back to Manhattan for work, which left me alone with the kids at my parents house in Florida. Driving back by myself was a sacrifice I was willing to make to spend more time with my parents and extend our vacation.
And to be honest, I was kind of excited to do this on my own and prove to myself that I could handle anything put in my way.
The first 30 minutes in the car started with an argument between the girls on which movie they would watch first. I thought to myself that if this was how the first 30 minutes would go, I can’t imagine how the next 9 1/2 hours would be.
But in reality, it was nothing like I’d imagined. It was actually (dare I say) pleasant, and we made it to our destination with only two stops and a few tears shed.
I’ve come so far in my journey of motherhood. I’m at a point where I have enough confidence in myself to take a road trip alone. But it wasn’t until today that I realized I have hardly any confidence in my kids. I was so scared of their behavior on the ride that I didn’t stop to give them the benefit of the doubt that they would actually behave well. And not just well, damn near perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip for the four of us.
I’m saddened and ashamed that I didn’t give them more credit before. The credit they deserve. I know I’ve done my job and raised them the best I can, and they are showing me that in their behavior. They are good kids and behave well the majority of the time. I just need to tell them more. And tell myself more.
Now that our 10-hour road trip journey was a success, we’re now onto our next adventure — a 12-hour road trip back home next week! And there isn’t an ounce of worry or stress about it, because not only do I know that I’ll be fine, but my kids will be too.More On