Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Traveling with Kids

Family Adventure is HARD, but Worth it!

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


We have all been there. You see the photos that someone shares of their latest family adventure, and they look so happy and full of life standing by the ocean's water or on the ski slopes.

You think, "Awe, we should do something like that." But, then reality sets in and you recall that you barely got everyone dressed and fed that morning. Scratch that, you remain in your yoga pants and anyone 2 and under remains in their pjs because they should. I mean if you add up the hours they nap they should wear pjs all the time and lessen your laundry load. But I digress, back to the thoughts of, "If I can barely manage this crazy, chaotic, beautiful life, in my own home, how can I possibly get everyone to a ski hill or on/off a plane for an adventure?"

We all know that life is FULL and there are no nannys, errand-runners, fairy-packers, mealtime-organizers in the real world. There is only one dynamic duo and that is you and the man, that I pray you have along this journey with you, to get this all done. Hats off right here and now to all the single mamas out there because, you are AMAZING! But the point is this: It. Is. Hard. It is hard to take a full life and extend it even farther to an adventurous life, but it is worth it.

I first learned this by watching my friend one busy summer. She had 3 babes in her care, and if I recall the oldest was barely 4, then a 16-month-old, and a newborn. I ran into her at the zoo nursing the baby, instructing the 4-year-old to stay near-by, and comforting the 16-month-old who had a recent something (fall, tantrum, broken cracker...who knows). I was like a deer in headlights. "Amy! How are you doing it all?" She replied, "I just decided that this summer we are still going to live life." Live life. That struck a chord. I decided that I too wanted to live life. Maybe our zoo days would have lots of rest stops for snacks and feedings. Maybe I'd pause for the 15th time in the parking lot to make corrections to my 4-year-old's attitude. Maybe we'd start our ski day with a time-out on the side of the hill. But, somewhere in between all of that pausing, parenting, and extra work, there will be moments that can never be replaced.

The moment you see your child dive into the ocean. The moment your child skis down the hill independently. The moment they roast a s'more around the campfire. Moments.

Today we started out pumped to ski for the first time as a family. Hannah, our 6-year-old, is able to get on and off a chair lift by herself (yahoo!), so my husband and I can now split helping the boys and ski all together... at the same time. Guys, this is huge. It's been 7 years in the making with one of us running baby duty, or toddler entertainment from inside the lodge, while the older kids would take turns learning to ski. To finally break out of the ski lodge was earth-shattering exciting for us! So I set the day with eager expectations.


We did the usual: pack, organize, bring up 15 million pieces of stuff. Drive to ski hill.

"Almost there."

“One more hour to go.”

"Stop mimicking your brother."

"Look out the window so you're not car sick."

"Just 20 more minutes."

"No, you will not die of hunger before we get there."

"Do not look at each other or speak again!"

Mercy. Car trips are not where we shine.

Arrive to parking lot to put on all 15 million pieces of stuff onto tiny people.

Now that we are all dressed, tiny people have various complaints about said articles of clothing. We pause to make adjustments to articles. 2 hours later we are ready to walk. 20 hours later we make it across the parking lot. Let's not recount that event because... have you ever carried heavy skis while your 2-year-old demands to be carried? It wasn't pretty.


Arrive to hill and await ski passes purchased by the saint of a person called "Dad" to this crew. During the 10 minutes of waiting, 2-year-old decides the world is ending as he knows it. The time is just too much to handle. He decides he will crawl home, far away from this day of fun.

Dad arrives with passes, consoles toddler and convinces him this will be an epic day of fun. 2 hours later we shuffle across to the lift line and we are here.

WE ARE HERE! I want to scream from the mountain tops and/or bunny hill, whatever. We are doing this thing! We go down once, and toddler decides he doesn't want a harness on to ski. In fact, it is atrocious that we would punish him in this way, and he flails onto the snow in a full-on tantrum. We make it 2 runs until he demands to go home and have a snack.

Praise God for the saint of a man we are referring to as "Dad", because he again convinces the toddler that skiing is a-maz-ing. We are back at it after snack time and end up skiing for 3 hours of totally, fantastic, hilarious (toddler skiers are the best!), life changing, skiing bliss. It was a lot of work. It was a lot of fun too.

It is hard. It is all so stinking challenging. Parenting is challenging! Let me be honest, we have had a few adventures where we have fallen flat on our face and the hard outweighed the good (today was almost one of them), but we have had hundreds where the good outweighs the hard. Hundreds. Family adventure is rarely easy, but it is always worth it. So, I recommend you put in the work and LIVE LIFE. It's just too good not to.


Oh, and the next time you admire someone's family adventure photo with little kids... Remember, there is always a back story. Always.

Joy Petersen

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.