Behind-the-Scenes of Traveling with a Baby

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now that i’m posting once a week, i have this internal struggling with creating high-value content versus sharing life updates. moving from posting three times a week (for YEARS) to once a week has felt like when you are on a road trip, you drank all your water/coffee/tea/slurpees and you see that a rest stop is only a mile away. ah, sweet, manageable relief.

while i shared last week about 7 tips for traveling overseas with a baby, i want to give you some behind-the-scene experiences and thoughts from our two week adventure in the united kingdom! i so don’t want to feed into that ‘only share the highlight reels of life’ type person. that does no one any good.

<side tangent>

i hope you had a wonderful 4th of july! our besties from portland (aka malison) flew in to play for a long weekend! even better? we kept it from ravery and they surprised him by jumping out of my mom’s trunk! hopefully you saw the epic video on my instagram!

<end tangent>

okay, back to some less-than-glamorous adventures overseas.

the first plane ride – baaaad. we did not get a bassinet for atlas to sleep in on our red out to london (despite efforts of trying). after 3 hours of squirming, she finally feel asleep across our knees. can you imagine trying to sleep while your body is spread across knobbly knees?! can you imagine trying to sleep with a squirming baby on said knobbly knees?! it was pretty rough.

many hotel injuries

poor atlas had quite a few incidents in our 9 different hotel rooms. during our trip, she had just learned how to pull herself up on things so her legs were still wobbly and balance not so great. she had her first bloody nose after falling down from holding on a chair and smacking her face on the stand of the chair. so so sad. she also got fingers pinched in the door, hit her chin on a table and somehow got skin pinched by her eye in a hotel crib (this is still a mystery to me).

diaper blowouts

if you are not a parent, then this will probably exceedingly gross you out but parents know that blowouts are a part of a baby’s life. they are horrible. sometimes parents rock/paper/scissor for who has to change the explosion.

well, we were out to a nice dinner and atlas hadn’t pooped in 2 days (very rare and means impending doom when it does happen). she was enjoying some puree and her bottle while we were sharing a large glass of wine celebrating the end of a successful speaking tour. we knew the food was coming soon so we put her in her highchair.Β 

moments before our food was due out, there was significant grunting and various other noises from her while in the highchair. thankfully, we didn’t have anyone super close to us at nearby tables. ravery lost the rock/paper/scissors.

i chugged our wine and asked our waiters to box up our food so i could walk it back to our hotel (next door). we ate our dinner in a poopy-smelling hotel room on the floor while atlas fussed herself to sleep. #glamorous

another blowout story: to get between cities, the client booked a variety of trains, planes and drivers. we were in the midst of a 3 hour road trip and everyone was so ready to be out of the car. atlas had yet another blow out but we still had 45 more minutes in the car with really no where to pull over. both her and her carseat had a bath once we arrived to the hotel. thank goodness for sensory adaptation.

missing out on normal travel adventures

as much fun as it was to travel overseas with atlas for the first time, it definitely took some adjusting. ravery and i are used to hitting it hard when we travel so we can experience as much as possible of a new place and new culture. when you become a parent, you quickly learn how important sleep is for the baby (and yourselves but that’s another story). as much as we wanted to pop her in a stroller and hit the town, we knew it would be best for her – and then us – for her to be asleep by 8pm there.

we often got stuck in this go-between of ‘it’s 30 minutes until bed time but we can’t possibly all stay in the hotel room and stay sane.’ this resulted in watching atlas crawl in the lobbies of hotels or all over furniture. really i wanted to be out finding hole-in-the-wall bars and staying up too late.

full time mom-ing

i am impressed with women (and men) who find immense satisfaction from staying home with their kids. i believe it’s something you are wired with and this trip helped me come to terms that i’m not wired that way. since ravery had 6 keynotes through the U.K., i went into the trip knowing i wouldn’t be working on my projects or our business. in the beginning of the trip, it was manageable and fun to focus all of my energy on atlas. by the end, i needed my brain to be doing other things that didn’t involve my identity of ‘mom.’ i itched for it.

i actually found this realization very exciting because postpartum depression robbed me of itching forΒ anything.

despite some of the mishaps and less than fun times, i am grateful we can travel as a family (even if it means more time in a hotel room than exploring at the moment).


  1. Jennifer Haston

    July 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Very impressed by this! Thank you for being so real, as ever, with what is true for you in this journey of momhood! Especially with emphasis on the difficulty, the temptation is sooooooo strong to focus only on the highlight reel. My husband stays home with Vivienne full-time and it’s definitely WORK, I got a big taste of that when I was on maternity leave and I was not exactly screaming to go back to work, but close. I love her and she is wonderful, my brain is not wired to do that full-time so I am grateful that he enjoys it. We keep checking in to be sure it still works, which is a big part of why I think it’s working. He is having a dad’s weekend out this coming week (delayed Father’s Day) going fishing and no baby, so I think we need to keep scheduling things like that.

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

      thank you jennifer for your comment and for also being so real in your response! i so know what you mean about *almost screaming* to go back to work! we are in the midst of sorting out care for her because i need more time to work.

      so glad you keep checking in with the hubs to make sure it works for him too. hope he had a great dad’s weekend out!

  2. Paula Howley

    July 5, 2017 at 11:26 am

    I LOVE THIS POST. I don’t know honey, I really like these personal sharing posts a lot. I mean, I laughed my ASS off reading this. I like your other stuff too but this stuff is SO CHELSEA.
    Paula Howley recently posted…Head Start Public Speaking For Kids Gibsons Presentation Night

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2017 at 9:58 am

      oh paula – you always say the right then right when i need it. thank you πŸ™‚

  3. Audrey

    July 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    I’m glad you feel comfortable about sharing the glamorous and not so glamorous sides of baby-travels. I think you guys do a really great job. Sorry about all the blow-outs early nights- you know those kinds of things will definitely change as Atlas grows and develops!!

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2017 at 9:59 am

      thank you audrey! i will totally take blow outs compared to vomit so really…life is looking pretty good πŸ˜‰

  4. sarah

    July 10, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Love this post – refreshingly honest! For me, the struggle isn’t staying home more. It’s turning off the part of my brain that’s always hustling and just being more present for my baby and husband. I’m only 5 months in, so I need to take it easier on myself.

    • chelsea

      July 15, 2017 at 10:01 am

      great point to bring up, sarah! i struggle with that too when i am home with her and feel like i should be doing ‘more.’ i am working on that balance now so when i’m working i can WORK and when i’m with her, i can be WITH her! thank you for this and yes be easier on yourself πŸ™‚