My name is Erin. I’m a toddler mom and a pup mom. I had my son in May of 2016. Becoming a mom was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I have loved every moment of it. I am a stay at home writing mom. I write everyday after my son goes to bed. My partner occasionally works away from home. When he’s home, we spend as much family time together as possible, and when he’s gone, I practice my Solo Mom Life. Life isn’t always easy, but I try to be as grateful as I can. My son helps with that. You can find my blog at thewritingmomma.ca or follow me on Instagram and Facebook at thewritingmommalife
I am writing this while sick. I went away for a week to Ontario, and came back sick. It was just my son and I for this one.
I was stressed out about it the days before we left. I was worried about his energy in the airport, I was worried about the plane ride, I was worried about the rented vehicle.
My kiddo has been extra active in the last few weeks. He runs away, and he is having a lot of trouble listening to me. He’s three. He knows what I’m saying, but chooses to ignore me. He’s also extra loud at times. Basically, he’s a toddler. I worry too much that we are going to bother everybody who we pass. Especially in an airport. I also had visions of him running off through the airport while I tried to juggle the carry-ons.
My anxiety was hitting full force. My partner had to work so it would just be the tot and I. I would have been a lot calmer with some help. I was going for a reunion, and I knew once I got there everything would be okay. It was the trip there I was worried about.
The day of our trip arrived, and luckily my partner was able to drop us off at the airport. He helped us bring in the bags. I was going to bring an umbrella stroller for Anthony in the airports, but at the last minute, I changed my mind. It seemed like one more thing to lug around, and I didn’t want to do it. There were a few times I regretted this decision. Anthony and I are wagon people, and he wasn’t used to the stroller. I should have brought the wagon. Instead, I borrowed a backpack from a friend that had a ‘leash’ on it. The backpack was full of diggers. I’ll get into that later. I didn’t need to use it before getting on the plane.
Once we were past security, we found a little play area to hang out in while waiting for boarding. Getting there went really smoothly. Anthony played before boarding, and then we got on the plane as quickly as we could. The plane was flying straight to Ottawa, and it was a smaller plane with just two seats on either side. I had Anthony’s tablet with some downloaded Netflix shows. (He loves the dreaded Max and Ruby), and also had his seat TV on a Cars movie so between that and toys and books, he was very distracted. I watched the movie A Star is Born. Which means I was ugly crying as we landed. There were times when Anthony wouldn’t sit down, and wanted to move around, but for the most part, my boy did okay. There were times when I was frustrated, and just wanted him to sit down, but I did okay. The family in front of me lent us a car book that he loved. We had books as well, but he liked this one the best.
As we exited the plane,and headed for the luggage, I realised it was time to let him run. I was having trouble holding him and the backpacks. We have the leash backpack a test. It worked out really well while waiting for the luggage. I’m always watching for ‘the looks’ when my kid is crazy, and I knew we’d get them because of the leash. At that point, I didn’t care. It helped me stop him from running, and helped me grab our luggage (although not very easily.)
This was the only time we used it. From there, we picked up our pre-rented car (including a car seat), and hit the road after fighting to get the car seat in. It was a two hour drive, and Anthony slept the entire time. This was a LATE nap from 5:30 to 6:30 – Ontario time. I knew it would be a late night..
I was relieved to arrive, and get out of the car. I was relieved to see my friends. I haven’t seen some of them for 20 years. There were a lot of other kids running around, but Anthony was the youngest.
I was stressed out about the travel there, but for some reason I thought the actual stay at the cottages would be easy and relaxing. It makes me laugh writing that. I was a solo parenting a toddler hoping to relax. We had a lovely time, but at times, I wasn’t able to talk to as many people as I wanted to because my son wanted my attention or needed my help. I was stressed out at moments during the week, and had one quick cry because I wish I had more of a break. I wish I could have let him loose more, but I wasn’t comfortable with it, and he likes to be around me. It will be easier as he gets older. We had an amazing time, and even with the stress of a toddler, I was so grateful to be there, and enjoy the scenery and people. I was able to have breaks as well because my friend’s kids played with him.
The trip home was a lot harder. Anthony and I were sick. We were up at 5:30 in the morning to drive two hours to Ottawa. This time, we would have one layover in Toronto. Anthony stayed awake until the last ten minutes of the drive, and did not appreciate being back in the car. It was a long drive. He woke up as I got him out of the rental. He wanted to be in my arms the entire time. We had a few hold ups through security. I had to drink all the water in our bottles because I forgot to dump them out (I probably needed it), they also had to security check both us and the bag. Anthony was as patient as he could be. I had done something to my back the day before so it hurt anytime I moved, including picking up Anthony, and moving around with him in my arms. We had time to grab some breakfast and a coffee before boarding the plane.
After arriving in Toronto, we had just enough time to find the washrooms and wait to board. At this point, I was getting frustrated at my son. He was climbing all over me, he wouldn’t be put down. At times he was licking me to be funny. My back was aching, and I was hot because of how sick I was. I just wanted to put him down. There was a woman in front of me that kept looking back at us, and I was so worried we were annoying her. It turns out she is just an amazing person. She turned around and talked to Anthony. She asked him questions, and she showed him things. She helped me. As they called all people with kids to board, I thanked her. She had no kids with her, but took the time to talk to Anthony and calm a solo Momma. She made the trip so much better and so much easier. She understood that it’s not easy.
And after three long hours on the next flight, we were home.
I’ve travelled with Anthony many times. We do road trips all the time by ourselves. Flights are different. They stress me out. They make me anxious. However, here’s a little secret about travelling solo with kids: it usually all works out. It’s easy to get worked up about little things, but the truth is, things will happen. Your kid might annoy people. Your kid might stress you out. Your kid might also make a random baby smile. He might tell a stranger all about his diggers. It’s an experience, and I’m sure this won’t be our last solo travel. We’ll continue to get better. I’ll probably always get anxiety before the trip, but I know I can handle it.