Moms on a Boat
Whole shelves of chick lit are devoted to the topic of how motherhood can change you. I’ll add a story about my first pregnancy. On our “babymoon” (what a marketing hoax!), Deal Dad scuba dived while I, seven months pregnant, snorkeled contentedly off of the side of the boat. Accompanying us on the boat were several families. Without fail, the Dads were out snorkeling or diving with their kids while the Moms sat with their youngest on the boat. I became more and more enraged thinking about my next twenty years…Dad out there gallivanting with our older kids while I was stuck on the boat. By the time DD finished diving, I was in a rage. Apropos of nothing, I started bawling that I just couldn’t be “Mom on the boat!”
In the last nine years, “Mom on the Boat” has become shorthand for any holiday opportunities missed because of childcare. I used to get annoyed at my husband when he would point out gourmet restaurants or charming pubs in our path, because our dinner would invariably involve some form of pizza and our pre-schooler alarm clocks went off at 6AM no matter what time we went to bed! Finally I realized he was having MOB moments of his own. We both loved our new lives, but the ghosts of our scuba diving, pub crawling, pre-kid selves lingered.
Last year our vacation had Mom (and Dad) back on the boat, but also on a zipline, a tuk-tuk, and the back of a pickup truck in Guatemala. Turns out I haven’t given our kids enough credit: our then four and seven year olds thrived in the new environment. Yes, we ate more pizza than I would have liked, and we still didn’t get out after 8PM, but looking back I’m amazed at how much we WERE able to do. Our four year old daughter discovered a love of worry dolls and papaya; our seven year old roasted marshmallows in a volcano and bargained for his own souvenirs in Spanish.
And, best of all, the whole trip was about the same price as a beach rental in Ocean City. Granted, no Boardwalk Fries has a franchise in Guatemala, but I’ve never seen dragonfruit margaritas at Mango Mikes. I came back from Guatemala not only rested, but energized. I’ve learned that it’s no longer necessary to plan trips FOR my kids, but to find places that excite us…and that the children will feed off of our energy. I’m happy to report that this Mom is finally off the boat for good!
How have your kids surprised you? Please share!