3 Simple Steps to Reset When Family Travel Goes Wrong

The flight attendant was giving me one of those “get your *%#+ together crazy mama” looks as I re-boarded the plane clutching my daughter’s kindle in hand.

affiliate links are included in this post.

It has been one of those days. You know the kind right? Those family travel days when everything seems to go wrong?

It started with my kids waking up at 4:45 am. 4:45 am! They were excited. I get it. But sheesh.

My husband had been gone all week for work which always means I sleep less and I had been up much later than is intelligent for a mom about to embark on air travel with two kids the previous night. (But have you watched the season 2 finale of Jane the Virgin? How could I not watch at least a little bit of the next episode? Especially when Netflix so helpfully had it queued up for me?)

So it was really my fault. I’m owning this.

I know that I need to go to bed early and give myself lots of extra time in the morning before we leave. I didn’t.

I sent my twins back to bed (I mean come on – 4:45?) and fell back asleep.

So of course by the time we were all up again I was running around like a crazy person getting them ready, doing my neb treatments, showering, throwing last minute things into the suitcases, removing things they threw in last minute, offering breakfast, cleaning up breakfast when it was spilled all over….you get the idea.

The car arrived to take us to the airport and when we finally made it downstairs I got the first of many disapproving looks from the driver.

It was really only downhill from there.

One kid got car sick. We got dropped off at the wrong terminal. The other kid had a meltdown. We had a narrowly missed bathroom incident. The flight attendant wouldn’t switch our seats so we were all together. Both kids hyperventilated.

Finally we got on the plane, (Pats self on back for at least managing to get this right) bravely negotiates seat switch with busy businessman on the phone (I’m a total introvert who hates any confrontation), and then my daughter says “where’s my kindle…uh oh.”

Uh oh?!?!

A vision of it charging back on the terminal flashes into my head. This is so not my day.

And honestly a good portion of it was my fault. I was definitely not my best mama self.

I am a list maker. A schedule creator. A routine follower. An always-carry-a-ziploc, potty break before we leave enforcing, think 10 steps ahead kind of mom. I have a freakin’ Masters Degree in Education for crying out loud.

But some days I just completely fail.

And here’s the thing. We all do. No one is perfect all the time. Not even close. On my best days I screw up at least 100 times.

It would have been easy to meltdown or wallow or give up, but at 11:23 am there’s too much day left to throw in the towel.

So I did my best to re-set.

I got my twins settled. Juice. Snack. Seat belts. TWO kindles. Check. Check. Check. Double check.

I took a few deep breaths. (Rogelio’s voice in my head.)

I read my magazine for a few minutes to clear my head of to do lists and self annoyance. (I’ve also found scrolling through pictures of the beach on my phone or Instagram equally distracting and calming for moments like this.)

And then I thought about the things that had gone well. (This is harder sometimes than others but there’s always something. Even “at least my twin sister doesn’t have me paralyzed in the hospital” – sorry, more Jane.)

In this case I could list off;
Everyone was still alive.
We are all reasonably dressed and fed.
We made it to the airport on time.
My kids are currently content.
My shoes are cute.

It wasn’t a big list. Today had a lot of room for improvement but there were things that had gone well. In fact, the most important thing – getting on the plane to Chattanooga – had been achieved.

Armed with a slower heart rate and a few wins on the brain, I was ready.

In the next couple of hours it was very possible that our rental car company wouldn’t have the right car seats, I would get lost on the way to our destination, I would realize I had forgotten to pack something (ie. ALL of my toiletries) and one or both of my kids would cry, but I was ready to once again try to be the best mama I could.

And that’s all you can really ask of yourself whether you’re traveling or just making it through another day.

Take a breath.

Pause for a minute.

Think about the good.

And then try, try again.

3 Simple Steps to Reset when Family Travel Goes Wrong