When traveling kids, especially with little ones (less than two years old), one parent can’t do everything, and both parents shouldn’t be trying to do the same things. For example, it is important that one parent is in charge of overall travel logistics. This eases the pressures of travel from the other parent that allows them to focus on taking care of the little one throughout the travel. For example, if traveling by plane, it’s helpful if one parent handles all the “administrative” stuff like check-in, checking baggage, and navigating the TSA line regarding ID’s, boarding passes, and baggage x-ray. This allows the other parent to focus on the “operational” side of things (i.e. taking care of the little one). This sounds like a bunch of “no kidding” type stuff, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen parents traveling with a little one, and they’re both trying to do everything at once and end up fumbling over each, getting in each other’s way, and having their stress level go up to eleven.
Travel is stressful enough, so anything you can do to ease that stress as much as possible will make things more pleasant during the travels of your little tribe, and like a tribe, when you travel, you want to behave has a tribe. So, rule #3 for traveling with kids…Distribution of labor. Establish ahead of time who will be responsible for what. It will not make sense for both parents to do everything at the same time. You will only get in each other’s way and cause undo stress when traveling, so establish the roles each of you will have when traveling. When my wife was nursing, it just so happened that our roles were gender-based, because that’s what made the most sense for us and we were able to develop a system around our roles that worked best for us.
The whole gender-based thing is very unpopular nowadays and makes my wife and I seem like we’re stuck in the 50’s, but it’s what made the most sense for my wife and I when we would travel with our infant boy. Since my wife was nursing, it made most sense that she handled our boy throughout the trip while I dealt with all the logistical type stuff. I’m not saying that the system my wife and I have established is the way it should be for all. The take-away is to have some kind of system that distributes the labors of travel so that each of you are not fumbling over each other and making travel more stressful than it has to be.