My boys have notoriously been really difficult in the car as babies. I had to constantly pull over to feed or cuddle or just get them out to have a break from the crying and then put them back in and hope for the best. I had a lot of anxiety about travelling with them and rarely went anywhere alone until they were 18 + months and if I did I had a 20 minute time limit rule.
I had a horrible experience when I was travelling alone when Theo was 2 and Cameron was about 8 weeks. I pulled off the motorway onto a quiet road to get Cameron out because he was crying so hysterically. I got out and shut my door and heard “clunk”. I couldn’t get back into the car!! It was still running with the keys inside, along with my phone. My first thought was I need help! I had to leave the car and run to the main road. I tried to flag someone down by jumping up and down screaming HELP!! I caught the eye of a couple and thank goodness they stopped. THEY WERE AMAZING whilst I screamed at them to just “SMASH THE WINDOW!!”, they calmed me down and assessed the situation. It turned out that the driver door (the only one I didn’t try) hadn’t locked!!! So we managed to get back in. I couldn’t pull myself together enough to drive home and had to get my mother in law to come and rescue us. It was all okay in the end but it took me a long time to get over it and I still NEVER close a car door without opening another one if the boys are inside.
So that brings me to my point about planning and preparing for car trips. Here are a few things I do to make me more confident about going on a journey alone with the boys…
- Plan the route: I always check the route on maps before leaving if I am going on any major roads to check for big traffic jams or accidents. I have a huge fear of pulling onto a motorway with the boys and traffic is at a stand still!
- Basket of toys: For long journeys- rather than a bag I fill a basket of things and put it on the passenger seat so I can easily grab and throw stuff back to the boys. In here I put snacks, drinks, toys and wipes. See the photo above.
- Emergency car bag: I keep an “emergency” car bag in the boot with nappies, wipes, a couple of bin bags, change of clothes for each of the boys, a small towel, some calpol, a dummy and drinks and snacks (fruit baby pouches and sealed juices are perfect for this as the have long expiry dates). For littler ones you could put in one of those little sealed ready made milks and a bottle- I would just keep an eye on temperature requirements.
- Music: I brought a kid songs CD from amazon- yes an actual CD! and I leave it in the player so I’m not faffing about with my phone or the tablets trying to put something on for them. The Wheels On The Bus: Favourite Nursery Rhymes (BBC Audio Children’s)
- Don’t commit to times: Whenever I can, I plan to arrive within an hour ish time slot. This just takes the pressure off getting ready and getting out the house on time, then if I do need to stop I’m not worrying about being late.
Obviously I see the irony in that none of this helped me in my emergency as I couldn’t get to anything even if I needed it- ha! But I do feel better travelling knowing that I am prepared for delays, nappy blow outs or major tantrums! I don’t think I will be going anywhere alone for a long time though after number three arrives! xx