What a trip!

Before I became a parent, one of my biggest pet peeves was babies wailing endlessly on airplanes. 

Why are you flying with infants, people? Flying is for grownups: sophisticated, vacationing folks who don’t want to be ear-ravaged in enclosed spaces. Babies don’t even have to PAY to be on planes because they don’t need seats. Why should they wreck it for everyone? Parents should have to pay extra for boarding with babies, right?

Worse were the toddlers who kicked your seat the entire flight. 

Why can’t you control your children? 

This is what I thought. 

Well. 

Then I found myself with a little traveler of my own, didn’t I?

Suddenly it was my kid who was colicky on the aircraft. It was me who feared the stink-eyes of passengers all around me as our little shrieker went to town with his lungs — and then dropped a deuce in Row 38 just before takeoff. 

During our son’s infant years, we brought ear plugs for our fellow passengers. When he was a toddler, he of course kicked at the tray table in front of us for the better part of every flight.

It was all just payback — parenting karma — a lesson in NOT judging others. Ever. Least of all, parents.

It was also a crash course in traveling with kids: It’s not easy; and it’s better to be prepared than caught off guard. 

In this month’s Travel Issue — coming to you, dear readers, for the first time in December — we’ve got you covered with our story about air travel with tots

You’ll find some smart advice and, I hope, motivation to plan ahead and utilize the growing resources available to traveling families, including those at Terminals 1 and 2
at our own MSP. 

Speaking of air travel, I hope you’ll also read Jennifer Hyvonen’s very personal essay about deciding to go to Africa with friends — not family. 

When Jennifer pitched a story to me about the legitimate benefits of solo travel, I was intrigued. I was struck by her thought process, her budget constraints and her conflicted feelings in her parenting journey as well as her life journey.

Among parents, the pressure to never, ever stop momming/dadding is high. And yet, what many of us really need to be the best we can be in the early years of parenting is time away. 

If you see your mom/dad friends on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat, bragging about their girls/guys weekends away (or kid-free adventure trips), I don’t think you should be jealous.

I think you should take one of your own.