Is it wrong to want to throw your kids over board?
Most of my pictures or videos involve us relaxing with a cold lemonade, swimming in the ocean, or filling up on adrenaline. The other night, while dining in a Peruvian restaurant, a couple from Seattle sat down next to us. They were celebrating 10 years of marriage with a trip to Machu Pichu while their two kids were home with grandma. One of them commented how well behaved our children were.
The ends of my mouth almost reached the tips of my ears. I was so proud. And at that time they were model kids and doing what every parent wants. Thanking the waiter. Using ‘Please.’ Engaging in conversation. Sitting in their seats. That was then.
Toward the end of dinner when the kids walked over to view the desserts, I turned to that couple and said, “You should have seen things an hour ago.” Decker was crying uncontrollably and saying he thought Colin should lose his iPad for a week. It took almost our entire 30-minute walk to the restaurant to get him off the ledge. I felt his pain because earlier in the day Colin vowed to not talk to me until July 1, 2018. He apparently didn’t agree with me taking his iPad as a consequence for his unacceptable behavior. It wasn’t the first time this scene played these past few weeks.
Raising kids is hard and while we happen to be on an amazing adventure in some of the most revered places on earth, we are still raising two kids. A year ago while vacationing in Honduras, we met a family who was coming to the end of their one-year round-the-world journey. They said that one of their kids was “driving them crazy” and “very challenging.” I knew we would likely experience the same but secretly hoped our experience would be different. It isn’t.
I love my kids. I love my wife. I love what we are doing. And, I love the life I get to live. Whether on a luxury ship in the Galapagos, in an Airbnb in Lima, or at home in Pleasanton I have learned that kids are kids where ever they are. They have a job and that job is to challenge the limits, to test the rules, and to push their parent’s buttons. I forget this at time but apparently I did it when I was young. My mom reminded me of it a few weeks ago when traveling with us. Thanks Mom.
But, as parents we also have our job. We need to encourage independence, set high expectations, and most important, hold them accountable for their behavior. Parenting is hard but a small comment about how “well behaved your kids are” made it much easier to handle.
Just like most of you reading this blog, I’m sure you have wanted to give your child a nudge over the rail. On those days when I have wanted to toss them off the ship’s bow, Audrey, who is an amazing parent, has turned to me and said, “They are doing what they are supposed to be doing.” While difficult at times, I would not trade this or my three travel companions for anything.
When that couple from Seattle asked us about our challenges traveling for a year, I smiled and said, “We are dealing with the same challenges you are dealing with at home.” It’s not all refreshing lemonade and beautiful beaches.