In 1999, my parents organized our first family trip to Europe. Needless to say that such a trip is expensive so they found ways to travel on a budget. One cost-effective way to travel Europe as a family was to stay in hostels. Back then, hostels weren’t as common as they are now but they were still packed with young travelers who were exploring the world. It was a life-changing experience for me because I remember looking at the backpackers and telling my parents that one day I would be just like them. And I made it happen.
I spent my 20’s studying abroad and traveling the world. From studying in Italy to backpacking Europe to traveling Patagonia to spending New Year’s Eve in Rio to climbing Kilimanjaro to visiting Buddhist temples in Asia, traveling became a norm. Each time I visited a new place, I wanted more. It was like a drug. To sustain my travel addiction, I created a travel saving plan which allowed me to take big trips every year. I love every thing about traveling: from the planning process, to the experiences, to the people I meet and to the self-exploration process. My travel experiences have shaped me into the person and mother I am today. No book, classroom training or psychologist could have helped me develop my personality to the extent traveling did. I truly believe that traveling so much has turned me into a good mother.
3 Traits I Acquired Through Traveling And How They’ve Helped Me Be A Good Mother
The more you travel, the more you become self-confident. How? Travel forces you to discover unknown territory and get out of your comfort zone. By putting yourself in such a situation, you have no choice but to rely on your skills to navigate this unknown territory. You’ll be confronted with decisions and each decision you make will boost your self-confidence. Doesn’t this sound utterly similar to motherhood? Unknown territory? Making decision? Not knowing what the hell you’re doing? As mothers, we’re always doubting ourselves because most of us struggle with self-confidence. We always feel like we’re not good enough or can be doing better than we already are. Although there is always room for improvement, we need to learn to be comfortable with ourselves and the decisions we make.
Being a confident mother means you won’t be as stressed and you won’t suffer from anxiety when faced with challenging situations with your kids. In turn, there will be less tension in the house and the entire family will benefit from a happy home. But most importantly, I feel that as a mother to a baby girl, it’s my duty to teach her self-confidence because it makes navigating through life and careers so much easier. The best way I can teach her to be self-confident is by example and by introducing her to the world via traveling.
Hand in hand with self-confidence comes fearlessness. As a traveler, you’re constantly in exploration mode and ready to try new things even if they can be scary. Some of those things can be hang-gliding in Rio because it’s the thing to do if you’re there or climbing the highest mountain in Africa just because you’re in Africa. Being fearless means you don’t let your fears stop you from doing something.
Let’s face it, being a mom means your constantly faced with scary situations. We don’t know if we’re doing things properly. We’re also faced with many firsts: the first night at home with the baby, the first cold, the first day at school, the first boyfriend, etc. Each event is scary and my personal opinion on this is mothers who can better control their fears will be less stressed when confronted with such situations.
I don’t have many fears and when I do, I try to confront them. However, there is one fear that I’m having trouble getting over: my fear of swallowing a pill which developed after a choking incident. This being said, the last thing I want to do is pass this fear over to my children. I absolutely refuse to pass it over so although I’m scared every time I feed my baby a piece of something, I still do it. I could easily choose to give her soft puree until she’s over 1 years old but I decided to start at 8.5 months because I felt like she was ready. I don’t want to transmit my fear over to her.
Life is filled with unknowns. As much as we try to plan everything, we’ll always be given a curve ball. When traveling, you can get to your hotel and it’s overbooked. Your debit/credit card may not work and you’re strapped on cash. Or you’re stuck at the airport for way longer than you ever imagined. Being faced with such unexpected situations allows you to learn how to adapt quickly and overcome them without stressing too much. The reality is that every traveler is faced with such unexpected situations unless they’re really lucky!
Now imagine you can do that as a mom? Our kids throw curve balls at us every day. The easier we can adapt as moms, again, the less stressed and anxious we’ll be. I must admit that being a person who adapts well to different situations allowed me to quickly adapt to my baby girl. Although the first few months were difficult because of the sleep deprivation, I didn’t let it stop me. I do everything I used to do prior to having a baby…now she just tags along 🙂
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