Yet, I’ve noticed that my Facebook news feed is heaving with chirpy reports and filtered, grinning photos of people’s blissful summer trips that, evidently, included a toddler. I’ve had to conclude that these people are doing what everyone does on social media: lying. Demonstrating that you have it together enough to pull off a vacation with a child nicely backs up that “thriving human person” PR campaign we’re all working on. Most of us, especially parents, are as likely to admit real, abject failure on Facebook as Vladimir Putin is to put on rainbow-print pants and march through Moscow.
Unfortunately, I’m all too well versed in the cruel reality of large-scale trekking with a toddler. My family travels a lot because my husband and I are British, so we feel obliged to hop across the pond every few months with our 2-year-old. By the end of every trip, we feel like we need a vacation to recover.
On a recent flight to London, the iPad and sugary treats we’d packed as stay-in-your-seat bribes were deemed unacceptable. Instead, our daughter ran up and down the aisles for seven hours, stopping occasionally to hit a stranger or squeal at an old lady. It was a pretty accurate precursor of things to come. She spent the next two weeks refusing to sleep, eat, or do anything to reinforce the myth that we are coping as parents.