Five Reasons To Ditch Dad: Guest Post From Jennifer Coburn Author Of: We’ll Always Have Paris

Thank you so much to Jennifer Coburn for her guest post below and for being kind enough to share her book, We’ll Always Have Paris, with me. I truly loved this heartwarming yet humorous memoir about her and her daughters travels and how it taught her to live like there’s no tomorrow.

Jennifer has always been terrified of dying young. So she decides to save up and drop everything to travel with her daughter, Katie, on a whirlwind European adventure before it’s too late. Even though her husband can’t join them, even though she’s nervous about the journey, and even though she’s perfectly healthy, Jennifer is determined to jam her daughter’s mental photo album with memories—just in case.

From the cafés of Paris to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Jennifer and Katie take on Europe one city at a time, united by their desire to see the world and spend precious time together. In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped vanquish her fear of dying…for the sake of living.


We are doing a giveaway for a free copy!  To enter leave a comment below or like the Facebook post. We will announce the winner on Friday.

You can pre-order your copy here.  All proceeds before April 8th will go to the American Cancer Society in honor of Jennifer’s father, Shelly.

You can also watch the book trailer here


Guest Post: Five Reasons To Ditch Dad

When I tell people I left my husband at home when I took my daughter to Europe, they assumed my marriage was on the skids. One mother even confided, “I ditch mine whenever I can too.”

The truth is I would’ve loved if William could have joined Katie and me on our overseas adventure. But when he said he couldn’t come along I had two choices: stay home or go without him. I had very little experience traveling, so the idea of being the only adult – the sole person responsible for absolutely every aspect of the trip – was more than a bit daunting.

I decided to go anyway and I’m so glad I did. Katie and I definitely had our misadventures, but really it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. And there were some very real benefits to traveling without dad as listed below:

Trying new roles – When one person is missing from the equation, the family dynamic changes. If William had come with us to Europe, I would have gladly handed him the map and let him assume his natural role as family navigator. Without him, I had to figure out where the heck we were going, and how to read the Godforsaken map. Know what? I can navigate. (I just don’t like it.)

Creating Mommy memories – William and Katie have very similar interests. They watch Dr. Who, Merlin, Sherlock, and Big Bang Theory together. (And now that raunchy cartoon Archer!) They run together; they take rock-climbing class together. They have discussions about science that I can’t even understand, much less participate in. I’ve got to admit, I kind of like getting rid of the competition for a few weeks so Katie and I could discover our shared interests and create our memories.

Meeting new people – People reach out to a woman traveling alone with children in a way they don’t when they see dad’s along. Sure, there are those European Casanovas who think American women are easy and make their move. And yes, there are a handful of miscreants who see a woman sans a man as an easy target for a purse snatching. But mainly people want to help a mother and children make their way through Europe enjoyably. Katie and I got more free meals and invitations than we ever do when William is with us.

Saving money – Let’s face it, dads take up a lot of space and eat a lot of food. When Katie and I travel with William, our costs don’t increase by half, they double!

Letting absence make your heart grow fonder – Katie and I have now taken four long trips to Europe together, and each time we miss William terribly. We get over it pretty quickly because, hey, we’re missing him from Paris. But we do feel his absence, which reminds us of all the things we love about him. Coming home to him is that much sweeter.

So go ahead and take that trip without him – you’ll be glad you did!






Traveling With A Toddler: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Traveling with a toddler is brutal, especially alone. You would have thought I learned my lesson after this debacle, but apparently not.  That’s the thing with kids; you always give them second chances because you are blinded by love.


The last time I flew alone with my son, I swore I would never do it again.  That was nine months ago.  So he’s changed, right? He would listen to his momma and be a good boy this time, right? Not. So. Much.  Monster Diva is officially his new name. Being pregnant doesn’t help either.  I am tired and the last thing I want to do is chase after a toddler in an airport.

I took some key mistakes on my part from last time and prepared a grand plan.  Almost as if I was writing a strategic sales plan, I carefully mapped out activities and pitches for the three-hour flight.  I listed all my collateral: Goldfish, DVD’s, Fruit Snacks, and my ultimate bribery tool: Chocolate. I also tried to pack light (which is almost impossible with kids) to prevent carrying too much luggage.  I checked the bags to free up my hands, in case I had to chase the little monster. Checking bags is very difficult for me.  I HATE checking bags.  I like to have my bag in my possession and not have to wait when I deplane.  Me, a woman, once took a carry-on to Paris for a five day trip to avoid the baggage claim. I took a stroller this time too. Why?  To lock his a** in and prevent him from chasing shinny things.

We made it to the gate relatively drama free.  I got this! Right when that thought crossed my mind… here we go. He takes his shoes off and starts trying to ‘Hulk’ his way out of the stroller. All the while he is shouting, “I wanna go on air pwanne!”  I tried to stay calm and convinced him they wouldn’t let him on if he is a bad boy.  Then, I found a TV with cartoons.  Thank you Jesus. Tip: try to not have more than an hour waiting time once you get to the gate. This is known as the witching hour.  I took notes for next time, literally.

"Only good boys allowed on plane!"
“Only good boys allowed on plane!”

Once we got on the plane, I cornered him in the window seat and apologized to all those around me in advance.  Taking off was exciting for him, he liked to count to ten and yell, “Blast Off!!”  Luckily all the people around me thought it was cute. He also bursted out in song a few times, serenading his audience with favorites such as: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old McDonald. Just like the last flight we had together, he doesn’t like people sleeping around him and would yell, “Wakey-Wakey!”

The remaining time was challenging, but at that point I just didn’t care. After two airplane bathroom trips holding him in mid-air trying to aim in the toilet, I gave up. He opened and closed the window shade at least three dozen times, and we were the last to get off the plane because he took his shoes off and refused to put them back on. I had to use my secret weapon, the chocolate, to get the shoes back on.


Luckily my husband met us and flew home with me.  I pawned the kid off immediately and told my husband I was now invisible. He was a trooper and kept Monster Diva in check for me. I have to fly again with the kid in two weeks….alone. Isn’t there a better way?  Should I just give in to the embarrassment?  Should I just let him be a toddler and tell all the other passengers to go screw themselves? Are there day nannies that will fly with me?

I don’t know, but I need a new plan.  If I wasn’t pregnant I would down a few glasses of wine. Either way, God help me. Prayers are appreciated.

Tips from this flight that were helpful:

  • More snacks
  • Charge computer longer
  • Put shoes on that are difficult to take off quickly
  • Sit in the back of the plane so not as many people around
  • Fly at night so he sleeps
  • Drink (if you can)
  • Don’t take any carry-on’s, it is too stressful
  • Pack light
  • Buy kid headphones (mine didn’t fit him well)
  • Remember this is temporary