My husband travels often as part of his job. In the “before times,” he would be away upwards of three or four days a week. It wasn’t an issue when it was just me. I’d often catch up on my tv shows that he didn’t care for, or hang out with friends.

Now that our son has been born, I’m much more reliant on having back up. So, when my husband’s schedule took him for an overnight down at the beach, it seemed plausible for us to join him. However, it did mean that I’d need to drive down separately with my son, which was a good two hours or more in the car to get there.

I anticipated needing to stop a few times along the way for diaper changes and feelings, but I thought I could handle it. In practice, however, it was far more difficult than I imagined. My son tends to be quite good in the carseat, until he’s hungry, needs changing or doesn’t like being constricted anymore. At that point, he’ll scream and begin crying at full volume.

We had to pull over for diaper changes and feedings about four times, each time in a location more inconvenient than the last. With each stop, I would balance the screaming baby precariously in my lap while trying to check his diaper, all the while checking over my shoulder for oncoming traffic that might swerve too closely and praying that my son wouldn’t decide to continue his “activities” after the diaper came off.

The hotel was dead in the off season, so I managed to score a close spot near the door. My husband had just finished checking us in, so I finally had a second set of hands to help me. The wind was whipping around as only it can in February at the beach. We hurried into the hotel and up into our room.

My son was very happy to finally be out of the car seat. He had been battling some nasal stuffiness, but the dryness of the hotel air was really doing a number on him. As a result, he couldn’t be laid down flat so he had to be held to get any sleep.

After a long night of hardly any sleep, I decided not to waste anymore time and left as soon as the sun came up. Our drive back was equally difficult. Although we only had to stop three times, I had to battle the effects of lack if sleep. I was nodding off at the wheel and constantly trying to shake myself awake. I also broke my cardinal rule about leaving him in the car at the gas station, just so I could run in for a moment. (I did lock the car, though, if that counts for anything,)

When we finally got home, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had asked two much of my little guy, and would not be repeating that mistake anytime soon.