Wimpy Mom Takes A Road Trip { Five Favorites }

We just made a road trip to Florida to visit my family: 1,000 miles each way, with a four year-old and a one year-old, neither of whom likes to nap in the car.  Right after we got back, I read Amelia’s account of her longer road trip, with twice as many kids, no air conditioning, and no CD or DVDs.  So yeah, I’m a wimp.  But whatever.   We lived to tell the tale, and here are some of the things that helped:

— 1 —

DVD player and DVDs.  Perhaps some parents the electronic babysitter, but I can’t get over this fantasy that car travel should be enjoyable and relaxing for me.  I like to read and listen to books on CD and do cross-stitch.  Singing “Wheels on the Bus” and counting cows and playing educational games or whatnot . . . for fifteen hours . . .  just doesn’t fit the bill.*  So enter this:

Or some other model like it.

And this:

Girl 1 watched it over and over and over.  The song selection is slightly questionable.  Girl 1 now goes around singing “We are on the prowl tonight/ like an alley cat./  Looking for some new delight / like an alley cat.”  But like I said, we made it there and back with sanity mostly intact, so I’m overlooking it.

*  I did read them a few books.  I may even have sung “Where Is Thumbkin.”

— 2 —

Books on CD from the library.  Pat and I have listened to a lot of John Grisham.  A lot of his older books are great (The Firm, Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, The Street Lawyer).  The newer ones are hit (The Litigators) or miss (The Associate, The Broker, The Confession).  But they all make the time pass more quickly.

Grisham probably wouldn’t work if you have older kids.  His books have some bad language and adult subject matter.  But we turned the volume all the way to the front speakers in the minivan, and the girls paid no attention.  Once they’re a bit older hopefully we can find some audio books we all enjoy.

— 3 —

Chick-Fil-A.  Good food (for a fast food restaurant), clean bathrooms, friendly service, and a playground for the kids to run around in.  Perfect.  We select our route to FL based on the number of Chick Fil A’s we’ll pass.  The only downside (upside?) is that they are closed on Sunday.

— 4 —

Van organization.  Okay, this is kind of a joke.  You can look on Pinterest and find all sorts of ideas like organizing car toys using bungee cords and little bins whatnot.  You can also put together cute little packages of snacks and toys for your kids to open each hour.  Me? I used three cardboard diaper boxes.  One was for books, DVDs, CDs, and miscellaneous “dry goods.”  Another was for snacks.  The third one was for trash.  It worked.

Fantasy (image from Organizing Made Fun)

Closer to reality (image via Turn Leaf Organizing)

— 5 —

Driving Time Equity.   I lost my cool with the girls about two hours into the trip.  They had been whining for approximately 1 hour, 59 minutes.  Then Girl 2 had some business that required me to dig through our biggest suitcase, in the back of the van, on the side of the interstate, with 18-wheelers zooming past.  (See supra #4 re: my van organizing skillz.)  Pat calmly reflected, “You know . . . I usually do most of the driving on road trips because I always thought it was the hardest job . . . but maybe you should take the wheel.”  I did.  I don’t particularly care for driving, but at this point in our family life, it’s a lot less stressful than playing stewardess/zookeeper in the middle row.


I’m excited to finally join up again with Hallie of Moxie Wife, for her Five Favorites link up.  Thanks Hallie!

11 thoughts on “Wimpy Mom Takes A Road Trip { Five Favorites }

  1. I love this! We’re taking a little thirteen hour drive to TX next month and I am terrified! And KidSongs? I just saw them for free on Amazon Prime and when I put it on for the kids, mostly to relieve my childhood love of Little Deuce Coupe, I too had the realization that some of the lyrics were a little creepy….or I guess it’s just the smiling kids singing them that makes them creepy….either way I didn’t turn it off 🙂

  2. AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Love. This. List. We let our kiddos use the iPads, but other than that, pretty much comparable. Audiobooks? check. (We do a blend of ones adult ones and also good children’s lit.) Totally agree with the organization thing. And all the “cute little packages” – um…if I hand that sort of thing to my boys, they are finished with it in 5 minutes and want another one. Um, no.

  3. Loved this. Not really sure what I would do without CFA, and I (sadly) can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to go there, only to realize it’s Sunday.Also, “it’s a lot less stressful than playing stewardess/zookeeper in the middle row” had me laughing out loud!

      • Oh, I hear ya. It’s so nice to have a better fast food option when traveling with kids! We have one right around the corner so I’m used to going there in a pinch. And I’m so used to places being open on Sundays, my first reaction is frustration when they’re closed. Working on more positive reactions towards them. 😛

  4. Laura didn’t care for Grisham’s “the Summons” but I loved it. It’s a nail biter, with lots of twists and interesting characters.

  5. Oh you are so not a wimp…driving with a 4-yo and a 1-yo anywhere is hard.
    Thanks for the blog mention! I think our lack of a/c actually helped our cause, because we had the windows down all the time, so the wind was rushing past and we couldn’t hear the whining. LOL

  6. Oh BRILLIANT to keep the volume up in the front of the car – we’re not due for any road trips until next summer, but I think we’ll probably have to get a DVD system for the kids to use while we listen to grown-up books 🙂

  7. Gulp. We have our first long road trip with the kiddo this summer and I’m DREADING it, mainly because I have so many nauseating memories of road trips from my childhood. I also, coincidentally, have many nauseating memories of Kidsongs from my childhood. Thanks for the survival recommendations 🙂

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