Millennium Mom

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin pie and long drives

When holidays arrive, for many working moms it means traveling to family. Often, but not always, our job has taken us away from our home town. This means on some, if not all holidays, you have to again pack the bags and travel. In our home this is the norm rather than an exception. Each Thanksgiving we head north to Detroit where my husband is from. Every other Christmas we head to NY where I am from.

So once you know you will be hitting the road, the question then becomes - plane or car? If it is a financial decision the car will always win. Today's airfares often make it just impossible to have that luxury. But even if money isn't your biggest issue, you must weigh in all the other factors. Let me illustrate a bit. When we had one child it was a given that we would fly to NY. Until he was two he was a free ticket and could sit on my lap (and sometimes you would get lucky and there was an empty seat next to you). It was simple to check the one car seat, or borrow one on the other end. Remembering food wasn't a bit deal, comfort toys, books, etc were only for one and you could all fit in a normal car on the other end.

When we hit two kids, we tended to still opt for the car on the trip to NY. My sister often had many of the necessities when we arrived and the baby was still free. Three simply put us over the top. Trying to check three car seats, fit in a car with luggage on the other end, put my family out by having to borrow someones car the entire time we were there, etc just didn't make it worth it. Since Sarah was born we have driven to NY every other Christmas at minimum each year.

For Detroit is has always been to drive. By the time we factor in the drive to the airport, arriving early, and drive to Arnie's parents house on the other end, it is a wash on time. This way we have our van, car seats, and more equipment than we could ever need with us. For New York we have to plan the trips a bit more. It is an eleven hour drive with one meal stop (meaning getting off the road and actually sitting down to order). The constant debate is when to leave, what is best time, etc. We have found there is no real good time. We aren't that into waking the kids at the crack of dawn, etc. We tend to have a normal breakfast at home and then hit the road, which normally puts us in my hometown between 8-10 at night.

Before you go make sure you have the following: videos (and ask each kid what his top choice is to reduce stress in the car), snacks for the ride, extra clothes (in case juice, etc spills), blankets and pillows in the car, CD's (for when the kids do sleep) and extra patience. Every time we do this trip all I can think of is "how did my parents and three kids drive to Florida every year in a sedan without a video player"...truly amazing in hindsight.

So enjoy your road trip and pack accordingly to make your holiday season "jolly" despite the at times trying travel to get there.


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