When I got pregnant, I resigned myself to the fact that this probably meant no more spontaneous outings. Not that I was the most spontaneous people to begin with (please…I have an anxiety disorder. There was little to no spontaneity). But with a baby, those last minute trips to the mall, or to visit friends, or going away for the weekend were bound to be no more. And for the first several months of new-mamahood, every single outing took planning and forethought.
Until this week.
J had a conference (read: ½ day of meetings followed up by laser tag and whirlyball) in Buffalo on Tuesday, and he had just been planning to drive down and back in the same day. But then he got to thinking….what a drag to get up at the crack of dawn, drive across the border with all of the commuters, and have to turn around and do the same thing in rush hour traffic? So we decided, completely last minute, to pack up and head down Monday night. Impromptu getaway, made possible by J’s phenomenal workplace, my maternity leave, and a baby who doesn’t hate the car.
So what do you need to know when (not) planning a last minute road trip?
1. Stash diapers and wipes everywhere. In your purse, diaper bag, glove compartment, back seat. Being able to snatch up a wipe when little one has just spit up her dinner and you’re travelling 110 km/hr on the highway? Valuable beyond measure.
2. Pack snacks (and avoid excess liquids). There’s nothing like getting on the highway, having the motion of the car rock your little one to sleep…and then bam! Your growling stomach or full bladder decides its time to stop. Do you wait, risking the hangry comments that are soon to come (or worse, risk peeing your pants), but keep baby asleep? Or do you try to stop and satisfy your hunger while hoping baby will stay passed out (she won’t). If you have a well-stocked snack bag, and haven’t had a million litres of water that day, you won’t have to make that call.
3. Invest in a plug/outlet for the cigarette lighter. When you need to grab and go, there’s no time to make sure that all of your devices are charged. But there’s nothing like trying to find Baby Einstein on your phone when all of a sudden the battery dies. Bring a charger and somewhere to plug it in. You’ll thank me.
4. Use a traffic app. If you’re travelling somewhere that involves the use of a variety of highways, especially during peak hours, download an app that shows you the traffic. You’ll be thrilled with your investment (of time, or money) when you avoid the bumper-to-bumper gridlock and arrive at your destination in good time.
5.Tell someone where you’re going. Even if you plan to be back in no time at all, and you don’t feel the need to check in with your mother every time you turn around, just give someone a courtesy call. You’ll be grateful when you don’t have eighteen missed voicemails and your photo on the back of a milk carton.
Okay, so these suggestions may or may not be actually helpful. But maybe they’ll help you realize that last minute trips, even if just to the grocery store (or across international borders) are totally possible, even with a baby.