Can you travel alone with three kids and not cry?
Spoiler Alert: It’s possible.
When we came to visit Michigan in August, we tried something new –
I flew alone with the 3 girls and my husband flew out two days later.
People thought I was crazy.
I had a team meeting at work the day before I left and told them I was travelling alone with our 3 children 5 and under. They said things like,
He’s going to owe you.”
My husband’s coworkers said I was a “saint.”
I thought it was weird people would have that reaction to it. I mean, they’re my kids why wouldn’t I go somewhere with them?
We were going to visit my mom so it wasn’t like I’d have no help once I got there and we had a direct flight.
In fact, usually my husband is the one that does stuff alone with them. For him it’s not a big deal. He just hops in the car and goes. He took our two girls on a road trip by himself (when we only had two).
Despite what everyone else thought about it, I was excited because I wanted to do it.
Don’t do it if you’re not ready.
I remember my husband asking me to take our two girls to Michigan by myself a year or two ago and I was like “Absolutely not!”
It was not even up for discussion.
There was no way I wanted to travel alone with two kids. I don’t remember now if I was pregnant at the time or not but I think I must have been if I was so adamant that I wouldn’t do it.
A year ago wasn’t the right time for me, but this time it was.
When the idea to take a family vacation came up, I suggested that I could leave early so my husband could have a couple of days alone. He didn’t have to ask me.
I was excited to travel alone with my three girls. I thought it would be an adventure and I was excited to do it.
I wanted to surprise the girls on the morning of our trip because they get so excited they can’t sleep the night before BUT I also wanted them to pack their own stuff. I ended up telling them the night before so they could pick out their clothes and pack what they wanted to carry on.
We had a direct flight that left just after 9:00 in the morning. That meant we got up and out of the house like it was a regular work day so we had plenty of time at the airport.
I hate to rush so I made sure to have plenty of time at the airport.
My husband dropped us off, so all we had to do was check a bag, get through security and get to the gate.
Of course, if you’re familiar with DIA you know that this isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.
The airport is under construction so things are moved around and aren’t all accessible. We went to the main security and they told everyone to go there. It’s at the other end of the airport and there was no way I was walking over there with the kids.
So, we waited in the line. When we got to security I had to take my youngest out of her carseat, collapse the stroller, take all the devices and liquids out, all while keeping an eye on my 3 kids.
My oldest had to undo my shoes for me but we made it through security.
Once I got everything put back together we had to wait in line to get on the elevator. Our was the 3rd elevator and we just missed the train when we got downstairs.
We got on the next train.
My youngest was the only one in a stroller, the 3 and 5 year olds were walking. They got distracted. They were slow. They had to come into the bathroom with me.
None of it was a big deal because we were just strolling through the airport.
They wanted to take the moving walkways, so we did. They didn’t get to explore as much as they wanted to, but that was ok.
Our seat assignments were not all in the same row and I was concerned about that. I did have a ticket for my youngest because I’d much rather have a 1 year old strapped in her car seat on the plane than try to wrangle her the whole time.
When we got to the gate and I let the kids walk around and once there was a gate agent, I hauled all of the kids over and told them I needed us all to be seated in the same row. They did it without a problem. (I don’t know if all airlines do it.)
I tried to nurse the baby before we got on the plane and she wouldn’t eat, she was too distracted.
We boarded the plane at the tail end of the families needing more time. When I was collapsing the stroller at the end of the gangway, the business class people started boarding. A few of them asked if I needed help because I had my 5 year old holding the baby while I figured everything out. (Sidenote: I don’t know if people are only helpful when you fly to the Midwest, but when I do people are usually helpful.)
I carried the baby and the carseat on the plane. There were only two seats on each side of the aisle, so I had the baby next to me and the older girls across the aisle. We all got settled. I tried to nurse the baby again. She wasn’t having it. An older gentleman offered to hold her when she started crying. Apparently he didn’t mind.
Lots of snacks were consumed during the flight. I swear my kids want to eat the whole time. When they weren’t eating, my 5 year old was drawing and my 3 year old was just holding her blankie and looking around. The baby fell asleep. The 3 year old did ask for the kindle once and I gave it to her, but she didn’t like wearing the headphones so it didn’t last long.
We got off the plane and there was my mom.