15 hours there.
12 hours back.
Earlier this month I traveled from the suburbs of Atlanta to College Station, TX to see my youngest [half] sister graduation from high school with my four kids in tow [8,7,5,2]. My husband had to stay back and finish up a project so I brought a rent-a-helper,Noah, my fourteen year old brother. He didn't really charge me. As the saying goes---you get what you pay for. [just kidding]
Our trip landed us at College Station, Horseshoe Bay Resort, Montgomery, and Dallas.
We saw lots of family and friends and really enjoyed our time---mostly swimming!
Without further ado---
10 Tips For Moms Traveling Long Distances Alone With Kiddos Sans Husband
1. leave early in the morning
[avoids traffic, daylight safer to drive in alone, drive feels shorter because you arrive when its still daylight, easier to stay awake]
2. after you gps your destination gps nearest starbucks along the way
[triple shot it up baby!]
3. snacks, snacks, snacks
[if the kids whine, complain, cry, ask how much longer, or seem bored---throw them a bag of chips]
4. use a bluetooth headset or one ear bud
[allows you to listen to Jim Gaffigans comedy albums in one ear while still safely driving with one ear to hear sirens or your kids monstrously loud animated movie with the other]
5. bathroom stops---everyone goes even if "i don't have to go"
[less stops happen if you only serve water during the drive and keep in mind the goal is less than a 15 minute stop---don't forget bring Lysol wipes for the toddler who likes to wipe her entire business all over the potty upon mounting herself on the toilet following her demand to completely disrobe including her shoes to do so]
6. electronic devices are not necessary, but in my experience help
[iPads or dvd players are great and don't forget long power cords to charge in car and headphones ]
7. Redbox movies
[you can rent a movie from any red box along your journey and return it in any other city or state, my kids seemed to like "new" movies---that $1 sure kept them quiet!
8. pack light
[nothing makes it easier for getting in and out of the car and in and out of bags especially if you stop at multiple locations like we did if you have very little to load and or move around--- like your big box fan which is obviously essential]
9. pick your battles
[you are alone. where normally you might be all strict-parent-boot-camp on your kids so they grow up to be pleasant human beings---don't be afraid to offer them ice cream every single night if they promise to not make you cry---you can undo all this after only a few short painful weeks when you get home #speakingfromexperience]
10. prepare your heart
[that you and the kids may or may not sleep super well at other peoples places, that you might not get to relax really under that beach umbrella you can't wait to take a selfie under, or that you will look like a model parent at the pool as your children "make friends" by water gunning other adult guests in the face]
People kept telling me how brave I was to do this trip alone. Really, I was so blessed to have my sister [who lives in TX] and brother help me so much along the way I could not have done it without them and lots of very gracious and accommodating family members. We swam everyday, looked for local parks, and did pretty much anything thing I could think of to keep the kids from being wound up in the hotels. At the end of the day, it was either a little bit of crazy and excitement in TX, or just a lot of crazy and boredom back in Georgia.
I picked the one with the beach umbrellas!
I'm sure there are more things I would add to my list like: don't bring a newborn who would need to nurse and or scream a lot [got lucky this year!], or don't be pregnant that requires too many bathroom stops [also missed that boat this year but have sailed it enough to let you know it's okay to miss it this time around], don't bring a book, you won't have time to read it, make sure to sign up for AAA if you still don't know how to change a tire, bring a small trash that can double as a "incase someone vomits" or also please aim your trash near this [because inside of it would apparently be asking too much of you].
I promise you, if I can do it, you can do it.
I hope I've encouraged some crazy in you.
May Jesus be with you, He's a little less busy now that I'm back from this trip.