I confess: I get scared shitless of traveling alone with my kid every single time

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Traveling alone with a 4-year old is not all flowers, as you might guess or know. For some, safety can be an issue, for others being on long buses rides can be the thing. For me, the scariest part is always the behavior.

I´m talking about that meltdown that happens, and also about her lack of discipline around me. It´s really amazing how well behaved she is when I´m not around.  How unfair: the person who loves her the most, gets the worse treatment. And it scares me shitless that I´ll have to deal with this in another place where I have no support system to count on (meaning people to watch her).

After a lot of analyzing what happens I came to a few logical conclusions, the main ones are:

1- So much of her short life (in our point of view) I´ve been very permissive, but with the regular shifts to authoritarian (meaning daily screams, threats and etc). This laid out some very sick dynamics between us like when I come up with a rule, stick to it, but not so much, and she wins with her tricks (wining, crying, screaming as the preferred ones). Or my rough responses to normal questions. I´m slowly fixing this, I hope.

2- Single care giver of a single child for years without any break longer than one day, a few times in all this time. Victim’s syndrome on the side, the scientific truth is that no one can be lovingly at all times under the pressure of taking care of a kid 24-7.

When I spend a week having trouble at bedtime night after night, I start wondering why the hell would I want to go through this on the road. I imagine us at the camping site, the young crowd hanging out at the kitchen, laughing and Luísa being a brat for over tiredness and my lack of creativity to deal with it at the moment and thus having a hard time in public.

It´s because of reasons 1 and 2 that many times I go through over one hour of her crying, sometimes ending with me having a fit, sometimes having me as a creative loving mother. Usualy making me an emotional wreck, my eyes frowned constantly. All my hours spent taking care of her: something I chose to do and love and also something I have no other option at the same time.

How can I then think it´s a good idea to travel?

I´ve been planning on going to the Pacific for one month. It actually started with 2 months in my mind. Then I thought, maybe, 1month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks. And then I catch myself thinking: should I go at all? Will I regret this? Will I be so tired of the day, the sun, the surf, the work online I have to find time to do and then not have a home to go nuts with my kid freely? No friend to visit to take me down of that edge? No one to call to get away from Luísa for a couple of hours?

I also fear my backpack. Even though it´s much lighter than in this first packing list. This one is different, I´ll bring a tent, an inflatable mattress (a sheet, extra sarongs for towels) and we will camp together for the first time. I really fear carrying all that I want to carry (being the most challenging item, the longboard – in my surf trip to Nicaragua, I learned that sometimes the board has to pay to go). The guitar stays behind.

But maybe, a trip is really what can cure us from our freaked excessive one on one relationship. By getting to a new place, our routine shake and we get closer, both more loving and cooperative and we both enjoy the newness around us and make new friends and entertain each other and ourselves differently than in our regular routine.

Most probably, my fear is the fear of change. The fear of shaking my comfort zone.

Luísa is really excited about the idea of sleeping in a tent. I´m exited about camping costing about 6 dollars a night.

Well, what the heck, I have to do these trips. Once I start thinking about them, it´s unstoppable. Even my fear can´t hold me back. It´s too late. I just have to go.

I´m starting to feel the high of this trip already.

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on January 5, 2012. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.

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