Sunday, May 10, 2009


I was asked recently whether I wanted more out of my life. The question came in the context of how one fits travel and various other excitement and aspirations in with life as a parent. In the week or so since the question was asked, I've thought about it a lot — not just for the context in which it was asked but also as an exercise in thinking about my life and dreams.

When it comes to travel, these days I generally think of trips in context of where I'd like to take Buttercup. We have friends who live in Norway, Estonia, Switzerland, Denmark, and all over the States. All of these are on the list, as are plenty of other places, and while I hope to do "adult" trips again someday, I have begun to think of travels in terms of family. Does that limit my possibilities? Sure, but I'm okay with that.

When it comes to adventures, the other kickers end up being schedules and finances. Between my parenting schedule, work, school, ballet, and the detritus of daily life, it's hard to pull the time together for travel. I know people who manage it, but they are mostly dual-parent families and have significantly more resources in family (proximity) and money than I have. More family nearby means more alternatives for child care for "adult" trips. Two parents in the house means more hands on deck for taking care of life matters.

That brings me to the second hindrance: moolah. One of my shocks in the past few years is how quickly a decent salary gets eaten up by food, gas, utilities, school fees, activity fees, after-school care, rent, debt payments, car payments, random expenses around the house, and who knows what else. I keep a relatively small budget for incidentals and occasionally budget clothing purchases. In good months, some money goes into savings.

What this means is that it's often hard to think about adventures that don't fit the budget — both in time and money. For now, then, this means the adventures will probably continue to be smaller, closer to home. That's just the way it is, and it's not all that bad. In fact, it's a pretty good life.