Life With Littles | Surviving A Road Trip With Toddlers

Here’s to the days we KNOW our hands are full.
The days where we KNOW we’re crazy and in the thick of it.
The days where our expectations meet the rubber in the road (quite literally) at the raw realization that we just willingly got into a car with two little ticking time-bombs who also have bladders the size of peas (just like their mamma) and set out for a 26-hour road trip, together.
A road trip that we don’t want to wait to take till they’re “older” and “can handle it better”. A road trip where, yes, we KNOW our hands are full.
Full of false expectations, soggy diapers looking for a trash can at every rest stop, living our life in nap-to-nap intervals, and our days moment-to-moment (or snack-to-snack). Our hands are full of big adventures and even bigger decisions ahead. They’re also full of endless car toys, drive-thru coupons, and, most likely, goldfish that aren’t organically approved and may have been sitting in the car (under a seat) a day or two. Yes, our hands are FULL. But those hands of ours are full of so much more than you see, and even more than those two little ticking time-bombs of ours will likely remember from these little years of road tripping (and mommy and daddy losing their sanity a few dozen times in the 40+ hours in the car together).
Smiling Toddlers in the sand - Quote image - Full of false expectations, soggy diapers, living our life in nap-to-nap intervals, and our days moment-to-moment, yes our hands are full, but our hearts are fuller. | The Pause Pursuit | Surviving A Road Trip With Toddlers
They are full of unconditional love in our failures from those little time-bombs, grace to lead us back to our ‘why’, and purpose that meets us in our imperfection.
On this adventure, we kept to nap schedules and nighttime routines, yet slept very little (road trip toddler excitement is no joke-like Christmas morning, on steroids)! We laughed at ourselves in the mornings as we froze on the beach trying to soak up every minute of sun before the temperatures climbed. We watched our kids sprawl in the sand making angels and mermaids and fought over frisbees and shells, leading us to the border of dang near losing our minds because our tiny time-bombs were so off schedule that they could barely function.
Yes, our hands were full.
Yes, our hands are full!
And because of that fullness, we headed home with priceless moments only created outside of the comfort of the known at home (toddlers and camping – that’s another story!)
Moments where those tiny humans of ours experienced things they can’t see and do in the walls of our home. We saw dolphins, crabs, fish, alligators, and even touched stingrays. We danced in the rain with cousins, made tree huts, and ate peanut butter and jellies till we were blue in the face.
So mama, daddy, grandma, or grandpa, if your hands are full, don’t wait till they become less full to give your kids these experiences!
Even if they don’t remember these tiny moments, you will. You’re creating a childhood for them that they will be able to feel long after screen time is a thing of the past.
Your husband will remember teaching his daughter to play frisbee for hours on the beach (as she legit became better than mom). They may not remember the tears over crushing each other’s sandcastles, or the dancing stages they created in the sand. They may not remember laughing and reliving moments that happened for hours on the ride home, but those memories have become priceless to us.
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
It doesn’t have to be lived in a fancy resort or 5-star hotel. Sometimes, it can be in the comfort of those who open their home to you when they know you’re passing through their city on a 40+ hour road trip. These moments can be created in a pack-n-play shoved in a bathroom (or a closet) with earplugs in as you wait for your little one to fall asleep in another’s home.
Your hands will be full.
It will be hard.
But in between, there will be moments that remind you to pause, to feel, and to let go. Moments that will show you that in these little years, when your hands are most full, so is your heart. Sandcastle smashing, tantrums, and all 😉
Here are a few photos to help us remember (just the highlights, of course):

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