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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:27 am 
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So interesting reading everyone's experiences! So many introverts here.

Butternut wrote:
Another way I have changed is I'm more thoughtful about how much I wish certain policies in our society/culture need to change for fathers. I don't think women should be having to make so many difficult decisions to become a mother while fathers can remain largely carefree. Workplace policies should expect that mothers and fathers will shoulder the responsibility of parenthood if they so choose. Career expectations (work hours, etc) should reflect the humane reality that everyone has (can?) a life outside of work. I'm tired of all the arguments being about what women should or shouldn't be doing. It's time to scruntinize what fathers are/are not doing.


I agree with this. I think there should be a better focus on a work/life balance even for those who do not have children. Unfortunately things seem to be moving in the opposite direction as employers use a bad economy to basically scare people into working harder for less money. I remember when the sort of standard working hours that everyone referred to were "9 to 5." But I've heard/read SO many instances in the past few years of people referring to "8 to 5" and I'm just like "when did THAT become the new normal?"

It's difficult. Fathers as well as mothers should definitely be able to take more time off work for parental leave, but it has to be done somehow without unduly burdening those who do not have children. My partner has a male coworker whose wife had a baby recently, and he took off six weeks when the baby was born, and then another six weeks a few months later when his wife went back to work (I think some was paternity leave and some was vacation time he had stored up). Which on the one hand I totally applaud, but it basically left my partner doing the work of two people for three months without being compensated or acknowledged for his extra effort and time. I really think his employer should have hired a temp for the duration of the coworker's absence, but they have no motivation to do that when they can squeeze one person for two people's worth of work.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:34 am 
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I so agree with butternut! The first year of greys life I felt like I was really alone, Nate really didn't help much and I had to step up because who else was going to. It was really hard on our relationship and it made me really angry that he felt it was ok to work all day, go for bike rides, out to dinner with friends and spend one day each weekend away from home. It hurt and made me angry. W had to have a lot of really candid discussions and now our relationship is great. He also changed a lot about his work life. When grey was young Nate was working 60-80 hours a week, now he is working 40 or less and most days he works from home. It's awesome, I can go to the bathroom alone! I was really scared I would lose myself to motherhood, and I will say the first year I did. Now, I feel like I am a better version of myself. I also tend to not deal with things that annoy me like I used to. If I don't like someone, I cut them out of my life, I don't have time to waste. I am better at spending time for myself on me and doing the things I want to do instead of talking about them!

One of the hardest things is that I want to be a SAHP but I don't want to fall into all the gender roles that society expects, and yet, here we are. I cook, clean, run errands and Nate fixes things. The truth is, I love cooking and baking, I love knitting, I love painting and I am starting to love cleaning, or rather having a clean house. A huge difference I see is that although Nate is the "breadwinner" I have an equal say (mostly) on everything.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:12 pm 
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tiny wu is only (almost! in 3 days!) 4 months old, so I'm still figuring out the answers to these questions, and I expect that if you asked me again in 6 months or a year, the answers will have changed somewhat. But here's what I can say now.

As a kid/young teen I had said I didn't ever want to get married or have kids. I wanted a career in the performing arts and didn't really see those things being compatible. Then I met Mr. Scandi and while it certainly wasn't love at first sight, he is the love of my life and that changed how I felt about other things. For instance, while I didn't just "want to have kids," I did start wanting to make a family with him. Honestly I think being married--we got married young, I was 22-- taught me the most about how to compromise and how to balance aspects of my career with other people, like regarding decisions about what city to live in, what kind of lifestyle was affordable, what sort of working hours to keep. And that's something that's been a huge comfort to me as I became a mom; just remembering that I am OK with changing my situation (within limits) and that I am not going to just have to give everything in my own life up for someone else.

That was a big deal for me since I worked as a professional ballet dancer for 10 years before having tiny wu. So having a baby in my field is still pretty much a career-ender. Let's face it, you're pretty much unable to perform for close to a year what with pregnancy and recuperating from childbirth. However, by the time we decided to start trying for a baby, I'd semi-retired and was working much more as a teacher and ballet mistress than onstage, and I actually found that really fulfilling too. I do sometimes feel wistful about it--like, I'd love to do Aurora again and there's some stuff I never got to do--but I try to remember that I was incredibly lucky to have the career I had, and that I do really enjoy my current job too.

Anyway, all that background is to say that I certainly had my share of uncertainty and apprehension going into the whole parenting thing. tiny wu came along really fast after we decided to stop being careful--not even "start trying"-- and even though I was happy to be pregnant I also remember thinking "OK, OK, breathe, you have 9 months to get used to this!"

Now I can't believe that 4 months ago I didn't know this person. It seems crazy to me. I didn't realize, before she was born, how much of a real person she would be. Not in terms of the responsibility, work, or expense, but just how much she already is her own person. In some ways she's like me and in some ways she's not.

To sum up and really answer the question: I'm more tired now. I don't have time right now to do all the fancy/interesting cooking I used to, and I miss spending time just with my husband. But on the other hand I'm more appreciative of my time at work; I feel like it's such a huge gift to do something I love and am good at. I can recognize my own capabilities more because every day in the studio I feel much more sure of myself, my skills, that I'm doing the right thing--than I do as a mom. I am amazed that I can love someone as much as my spouse and not love my spouse any less, and that he feels the same way.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:22 pm 
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littlebear wrote:
One of the hardest things is that I want to be a SAHP but I don't want to fall into all the gender roles that society expects, and yet, here we are. I cook, clean, run errands and Nate fixes things. The truth is, I love cooking and baking, I love knitting, I love painting and I am starting to love cleaning, or rather having a clean house. A huge difference I see is that although Nate is the "breadwinner" I have an equal say (mostly) on everything.


This is so true. I am not sure how to deal with it, or if it is really a problem. Time will tell but I do want to model different roles for tiny wu and any potential future siblings so that's something I think about sometimes.

Also I forgot to say that I got pregnant at 29, had tiny wu at 30. So I've been married to Mr. Scandi for a long long time and that's been mainly a huge support because we already had a strong relationship; we'd already been through tough times and figured stuff out. But, it's also that much harder to give up being each other's constant companions and just doing our couple-routine all the time.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:44 pm 
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SV, that's so cool you are a ballet dancer!! I took ballet in high school and while I am not particularly gifted in dancing (except for tap, maybe), I loved ballet. Our teacher was so strict (one of her daughters is professional ballet dancer, too), but it was a good kind of strict.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:57 pm 
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I am much more tolerant--or you could call it having lower standards. I never imagined I'd be the mom who just said fine, the kitchen chores are all mine, just bring your dishes upstairs fairly regularly and at least more or less scrape the food off. I've given in on running the space heater full blast, buying bottled water, cable in the bedroom and a million other lifestyle things. The details are probably unique to getting a kid at 15 with her own ideas about life and having too many areas that desperately needed change, but I imagine I would've found parenting humbling no matter how I got here.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:20 pm 
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one thing that has changed for me is i CANNOT watch scary movies anymore. i just can't. i can't understand why anyone would want to even pretend that someone has been hacked apartor whatever. i can't even watch those tv crime shows hahaha.

i am also much more tolerant, i am like buddha compared to my former self. i am also much more of the gender stereotyping children are flooded with on a daily basis. holy shiitake!!! and therefore i have become much more of a feminist since having babies (especially my daughter).

and my social life is pretty shiitake. i used to have people over for dinner all the time, go to parties, visit people on week-day afternoons, now those things are foreign to me. afternoons are out of the question, what with baths and dinner prep :P of course, my daughter is still very small, i'm sure my social life will improve as she grows up a bit. like this weekend, i'm going to a festival to watch my partner's band play, i haven't done something like this for years!


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Friday wrote:
I am much more tolerant--or you could call it having lower standards. I never imagined I'd be the mom who just said fine, the kitchen chores are all mine, just bring your dishes upstairs fairly regularly and at least more or less scrape the food off. I've given in on running the space heater full blast, buying bottled water, cable in the bedroom and a million other lifestyle things. The details are probably unique to getting a kid at 15 with her own ideas about life and having too many areas that desperately needed change, but I imagine I would've found parenting humbling no matter how I got here.


I'm really glad you're posting, Friday, because fostering a child (Denmark doesn't really do adopting with older kids except in some specific cases) is the one thing I've actually considered a lot (when I am like a 20 years older and have an education and my own apartment and a job that makes it possible).
I have read a lot of your posts here, and they always strike me as interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:36 am 
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Oh, here's how else I've changed -- I don't shower as often (I don't even wash my face every day sometimes!), I don't always have a full face of make-up on (in fact, I usually don't unless I'm going out), and I walk around the house in yoga trousers (that usually have child-sized food handprints or grease marks on them) instead of jeans.

On the up-side, I know how to bake bread and can throw together a big, healthy, tasty meal large enough to feed a platoon of soldiers on short notice. ;D

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:14 pm 
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TheCrabbyCrafter wrote:
Oh, here's how else I've changed -- I don't shower as often (I don't even wash my face every day sometimes!), I don't always have a full face of make-up on (in fact, I usually don't unless I'm going out), and I walk around the house in yoga trousers (that usually have child-sized food handprints or grease marks on them) instead of jeans.



I was like this before! I actually just started wearing some makeup to work (14 months after) to try to pretend to be a bit more professional. I don't care about such things, but other people do so sigh.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:33 pm 
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Ha ha. I've never worn makeup (at all). I've never really liked showering daily, so now I'm kinda psyched to have an excuse to go every other day. (Hey, I can own that.)

I thought of one thing about me that having children has actually genuinely changed: I pay significantly more attention to what I eat now. Not in like a dieting way, but just not eating as much junky food. It's two-fold... one is that I really can't be eating chocolate bars for breakfast (thing I literally did pre-children) in front of my kids and then telling them they need to eat HealthyMush(tm) instead, and two is that like, I'm just kind of trying to take care of myself a little better so that I'll maybe be around longer to be able to enjoy my family and stuff.

For whatever reason, after E was born I became incredibly prone to being distressed by anything violent/scary/dealing much with death. Like I couldn't watch Dexter or anything. Or the news. Like, watching one unpleasant thing would make me miserable for days afterwards. It did go away eventually (and didn't come back after M) but I've realized that at least as far as visual media goes, I really prefer lighter things most of the time.

Interestingly-- hasn't happened with print media. Violent/scary/etc print media doesn't really bother me any more than it ever did. And radio stories mostly don't either.

Aside from basic descriptions of what happened, I absolutely could not physically handle dealing with any media concerning Sandy Hook. My heart breaks so hard for all those families who lost family members, but I really, really, really could not bear to, say, look at pictures of the kids.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:10 am 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
Ha ha. I've never worn makeup (at all). I've never really liked showering daily, so now I'm kinda psyched to have an excuse to go every other day. (Hey, I can own that.)

For whatever reason, after E was born I became incredibly prone to being distressed by anything violent/scary/dealing much with death. Like I couldn't watch Dexter or anything. Or the news. Like, watching one unpleasant thing would make me miserable for days afterwards. It did go away eventually (and didn't come back after M) but I've realized that at least as far as visual media goes, I really prefer lighter things most of the time.

I was an every-other-day showerer pre-kids, but now, I probably only manage twice a week if I'm lucky! Fortunately, I'm not a smelly or greasy person....

Word of warning to other sensitive mums, do not read Alex, the Life of a Child or Clan of the Cave Bear unless you feel like crying. I cried so hard at the end of both those books. The ending of Clan of the Cave Bear wouldn't've made me cry at all pre-children.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:40 pm 
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I really hope this thread keeps going, I really appreciate learning about everyone's path into parenthood.

I found quite interesting that in the "women without children" thread, so many people were bringing up travel as a reason not to have kids. First, because I keep hearing that from people who don't actually travel (or who don't travel much), and second, because everywhere I've been I saw traveling families, expatriated families, bi-national families (or more) so clearly children aren't an absolute contra-indication to travel. And I too want to keep traveling - in fact I can't see how I could stop? Like, in what circumstances could I possibly move back to France and never exit the country again? I know children are going to mean a different rhythm and different arrangements, but I'm actually looking forward to traveling differently. In fact, for years now I've been mentally filing away things I see or experience on my travels that my future kids might find cool at various ages.

Do international / traveling families want to chime in on that? Am I completely deluding myself, or...?


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:01 pm 
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WRT travel, the first few years can be messy, but above age 6 or so i've really enjoyed traveling with my kid, she's a fantastic travel companion and i really enjoy the part of traveling with a kid where you are showing them things for the first time and so blatantly crafting the "global citizen" [that's the whole point of our own adventure being here in Brazil- forming an American kid that has seen the US from the inside and the outside].
obvs, if you're concerned about citizenship issues and such for kid/spouse/etc it requires some research and planning, as does schooling, but i would never say my kid has been an impediment to my traveling [if we had the money, we'd travel constantly.]

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:23 pm 
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aelle wrote:
I really hope this thread keeps going, I really appreciate learning about everyone's path into parenthood.

I found quite interesting that in the "women without children" thread, so many people were bringing up travel as a reason not to have kids. First, because I keep hearing that from people who don't actually travel (or who don't travel much), and second, because everywhere I've been I saw traveling families, expatriated families, bi-national families (or more) so clearly children aren't an absolute contra-indication to travel. And I too want to keep traveling - in fact I can't see how I could stop? Like, in what circumstances could I possibly move back to France and never exit the country again? I know children are going to mean a different rhythm and different arrangements, but I'm actually looking forward to traveling differently. In fact, for years now I've been mentally filing away things I see or experience on my travels that my future kids might find cool at various ages.

Do international / traveling families want to chime in on that? Am I completely deluding myself, or...?



Well, my parents did the cross-Europe train trip with a 1 year old in a stroller! People think they were crazy, but they didn't have any complaints themselves! I'd say the worst thing about the trip was that I was only 1 and don't remember a damn thing! But there are baby pictures of me in the Alps!

I suppose if you had a cranky baby you might not do that, but I was a smiling-happy-go-lucky-cutiepie.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:50 pm 
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I've traveled by train (19 hour trip, once with a 9 month old, once with a 3 year old and a 6 month old, as the only parent both times) and plane (couple long flights with an 18 month old with 2 parents, and recently a short flight with a 3.5 your old and a 1 year old by myself). Oh, and lots of road trips, long and short.

Honestly, I don't find it much different than traveling pre-kids. It costs more, logistics are a little tricky, and our destinations are somewhat different (though really not much) but it's still enjoyable and doable. Experiences here differ a lot based on your kids' personalities and ages I'm sure.

I have friends who were world travelers pre-kids (in fact, I believe they met in a hostel in India-- didn't keep in touch-- then later met again in Thailand) and they have traveled extensively with him already. He's 3 and he's already been to Australia, Bali, France, Switzerland and Italy as well as various places in the US... Meaning he's been more damn places in 3 years than I have been in my whole life.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:06 pm 
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my parents flew us from asia to NA and back every year. that's 3 kids. we went lots of other places too. we were really good travellers!

it costs a lot more to travel with kids, as we discovered on our trip to the UK this year. not just because you have extra seats to buy, but because you might be less likely to put up with inconvenience. we were backpackers... kings of long lay overs and tortuous bus rides and sketchtastic hotel rooms in the interests of saving a few bucks. now? um, no thanks. on the other hand, kids make you stop and enjoy the simple things in a new place, which is refreshing and cheap. we spent a lot of time finding cool playgrounds to hang out in!


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Since having grey we have been to Michigan five times, Washington, D.C., two times and Seattle/Portland/Corvallis/Ashland. It is different, but we still travel tons. We are currently planning a trip to Denver and a couple camping trips with him. He is 19 months, so that is quite a bit of travel for a little guy. I had one person tell me that the best thing she did with her son was to travel often from a young age so it wasn't a big deal as he got older. He didn't get all crazy in airplanes and he knew what to expect. The majority of our trips have been pleasant in the actual travel end of it!

I definitely get more anxiety traveling alone with grey than I did when I traveled by myself (duh), but overall it has been fine. I mostly get nervous if I am forgetting things.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:13 pm 
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I am much more irritable about noises, especially the dogs (one in particular that barks a lot). I always think they are going to wake the babby (when he is sleeping).


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:11 am 
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For me traveling has changed, but that is also because of the kind of traveling I used to do. I like backpacking, and in my 20s I used to pick a country, and just land there, with no hotel reservations, no plans, and just go travel for 4 weeks, using public transport, walking for hours, staying in cheap hotels or sleeping out in parks etc. It was amazing and very in the moment, and we went places like Guatemala, Vietnam etc where the infrastructure wasn't really great (but the living was really cheap).

With an infant or toddler, I'd want to go somewhere with a good infrastructure in case she got sick, I'd want to have a place to stay and minimize travel, and I'd want to hire a car so she could be in a car seat, instead of riding on the top of a bluebird school bus up the side of a volcano :) And I'd want things that were fun for her - so playgrounds, swimming pools (she is just getting over eating sand, so up to recently, beaches weren't that much fun), a place with other kids etc. So I could see that our trips would be geared around her needs more than before I had her, and would also be more expensive (no more sleeping in a dormitory for 75c a night in Guatemala, listening to prostitutes working a few beds down).

But, I am COMPLETELY excited about traveling with her once she is a bit older and able to appreciate it more. I'd love to go to Thailand with her for the vegetarian festival. I loved traveling with my parents when I was little, and I have wonderful memories. They were the best times, and I think L is going to love it too.

And I met a family who was traveling from Canada to Chile in a car with an infant once. They were awesome and superhippy. I have no idea how they did it.

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:08 am 
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Before I got pregnant with Beet, we went around eastern Europe for 3 weeks and stayed in crappy hostels and cheap hotels and travelled around by bus and train. I don't think I'd like to do that with the kids just yet (seeing as the buses didn't usually have toilets).

That said, we've done a lot of travelling by train around the UK with the kids and it's been fine (except for the time the toilet was out of order on 3-hour train all the way back from Edinburgh and poor Beet peed his pants). As soon as all my kids can hold their bladders as well as I can (which is not a huge feat, seeing as I always have to pee), I might be up for the occasional downgrading to cheap coaches (buses).

Where we go is not a huge deal, as the kids are generally entertained by anything. Just walking around a town or hiking up a mountain seems to interest them. Getting food when we've been travelling all day and the kids are getting fussy is usually our biggest challenge.

I know my husband would have no problem taking the kids to hostels (the only vacations he ever went on were hiking trips that either involved camping or hostels). I wouldn't be up for it generally, except you can get your own room in some of them, so that would be okay for me. [It seemed like every time I was in one of those dormitories, I got stuck with the loudest.snoring.people.ever. Even the gigantic Australians and Dutchmen coming in late, drunk, and rowdy (and usually really funny) were no match for the snoring.] In the meantime, I'm happy to keep arranging our travels around whenever Travelodge is holding a £12/night sale. ;D

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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:07 pm 
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We are currently on a trip and are using babynut's passport for the first time.

We liked to hike and travel cheaply like Tofulish, and that has changed a bit, but really not that much. She is 14 months and we have traveled 4 times around the US, Including a major hiking trip to Yosemite, CA. Now we are taking a beach trip.

I think it depends on your baby's temperament because I have a dear friend with a really fussy difficult baby who does not travel well at all, but our experience has been great. We just can't pull 8 hour hikes like we used to....we now move on her nap schedule and plan in lots of breaks and mellow time. I have to say, seeing the world through her eyes is such a joy that I don't really mind not seeing EVERYTHING like we used to try to do.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:55 pm 
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My partner and I have just decided to wait a while before we do any internationally travelling for a while. The main reason is that it just gets so expensive and why spend all this money to travel somewhere interesting when you aren't going to be able to do much sight-seeing?

I do actually vaguely regret not travelling more when Lydia was a young-ish baby-- at the time, I was still coping with the transition to being a parent. Now I look back and see how easy it was to travel with a pre-mobile baby who was happy as long as there were interesting things to look at, a comfy carrier or stroller to nap in, and there was a boob available. Toddlers are a bit harder to please.


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:04 am
Posts: 2456
Location: UK
My parents uprooted us all and took us to Germany for a year when I was 7 and my siblings were 5 and 3, and then to Holland for a year when I was 10 and they were 8 and 6. It's only now I am older that I realise how brave that was (it was out of necessity - they were very broke for most of my childhood and there were jobs for my dad abroad that were just not around at the time in England; also, my mother has a speech disability that makes communicating in her own language difficult, let alone a foreign language). I only have good memories of these times.

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Everyone turns into Boo Radley, if they live long enough ~ seitanicverses


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 Post subject: Re: How have you changed since you became a parent?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:20 am 
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Should Write a Goddam Book Already
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:05 pm
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Location: Willamette Valley, OR
Haha... I bathe about once a week for reals and sponge bathe otherwise. (During the winter.) And sometimes I don't even use deodorant. During the summer I can't stand to go to bed sweaty so I'm bathing almost every day during the hot part of the year. But I'm also almost always home, so if I know I'm going somewhere and I stink, obviously I'll take care of it. Ha. Like the previous poster, though, I don't sweat a lot and my hair can go a week without washing and be totally fine.

I'm about to attempt my first solo road trip with GooGoo and Lou Who this weekend. I did a 10 day trip with GooGoo at about 1 1/2, and it went okay, and Lou Who is a pretty decent traveller, so here's hoping.

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