For some moms, the idea of a week away (or even a night away) from their kids sounds like paradise….for others, it sounds like a nightmare.
I have to admit, I’m a big fan of ‘me-time’ and since becoming a mother over ten years ago, I have tried to work in little trips for myself at least once a year. I’ve gotten to the point where I barely think twice about it – The kids are older now (11 & 7), they’re in good hands while I’m away, and I believe we all benefit from a little ‘absence making the heart grow fonder.’
That being said, I wasn’t a natural at this maternal separation.
The first vacation I took away from my daughter was nine years ago. She had just turned one and this wasn’t just a weekend getaway, it was a ten-day trip to Italy with my mom.
I wrote a blog post about the insanely detailed, 6 page list of childcare instructions that I left for my in-laws who were kind enough to volunteer to watch my daughter while my husband was at work during the day. Here’s just a sample of how ‘unnatural’ my first attempt at maternal separation was:
Since the whole point of the post was to poke fun at how completely insane this note must have seemed to my in-laws, I was expecting (and did receive) comments suggesting that I have OCD and/or needed a hobby because I apparently had too much time on my hands. But the vast majority of the comments that I received were from other moms who have written (or are in the process of writing) the exact same type of detailed instructions for their kids.
That’s when the other responses started rolling in
What kind of mom takes a 10-day vacation without her 1 year old?
My Kids are 6 and 3 and I still would never leave them, not even overnight!
How can you be apart from your kids that long? Life goes by so fast!
Who takes a 10-day vacation without your kids? Those days are over when you have children!
Do you agree that “those days are over” once you have children?
Sure, being a parent layers on a lot more responsibilities but it doesn’t mean that you’re no longer an individual. It doesn’t mean you and your spouse are no longer a couple. And in this case, it doesn’t mean that I’m no longer a daughter.
I tried not to get too defensive about these comments. I know I’m not a bad mom. In fact, I’m a darn good mom, and my guess is that these commenters are too. But their comments made me realize that there is a certain segment of the mommy universe that will find an excuse to not leave their children no matter how old they are. I would also argue that the people in this segment are probably the ones most in need of a vacation without their kids.
I challenge these moms (hell, ALL moms) to make a New Year’s Resolution to take a vacation without your kids this year.
Here are 5 reasons why:
Your Kids are Driving You Nuts
Whether your child is 14 months of 14 year old, chances are the majority of your life is dedicated to taking care of their needs: Cleaning, feeding, clothing, education, safety. 365 days a year. There are no other jobs where you would be expected to work so hard for so long without a little vacation time.
I’m sure there are signs you’re about to snap: Like you’re online making judgy comments about other people’s parenting decisions. Or your kids just rapid-fired so many questions at you that you involuntarily shouted: “Stop talking! My ears are full!”
You’re Driving Your Kids Nuts
Do you snap at your kids while helping them with their homework? Do you yell at your kids to hurry up and get in the car when you’re actually the one that made everyone late by getting sucked into a funny ‘goats who yell like humans’ video? Guess what? That drives them nuts. And you know who won’t do that to them? Whoever you have to come watch them while you go on vacation without them.
You Spend More Time Texting Your Husband Than Sex-ing Your Husband
Based on my informal study at my last wine night, most wives see their husbands about four hours each day. Two of those hours involve kids and the other two involve TVs. The majority of their interactions either happen through texts, over dinner (which primarily involves tag-team yelling at kids), and while brushing their teeth. Since we’ve already determined that your kids are driving you nuts, you’re probably often too distracted/tired/unhygienic for romance. You need a kid-free vacation with your husband. Having some time to love on each other will make you both much more loving toward your kids when you return.
You Wish Every Night Was Wine Night
You know how amazing you feel when you come back from a wine night or lunch out with the girls? Imagine that times three days. Make plans for a weekend getaway with your girlfriends. You’ll have an amazing time, your husband and kids will drive each other nuts while you’re gone and everyone will appreciate you 10x more when you return home.
It’s Important For Kids & Parents to Spend Time Together
Wait a minute…. Didn’t you just say that I was supposed to leave the kids at home?
Yes. But remember, you’re not just someone’s parent; you’re also someone’s kid.
I find it ironic that there are so many comments about life being to too short to be away from your kids when my post was about taking a vacation with my mom. I am her kid after all. A one-on-one trip with a parent may not be for everyone, but if you’ve ever even considered it, don’t wait. As I get older, I realize that those commenters do have one thing right: “Life goes by too fast”.
So, do any of these 5 sound like you? Then it’s time for a vacation without your kids.
You can start small with just an overnight at hotel downtown or jump right into the deep end with a ten-day European adventure.
Will you be nervous about leaving your kids? Yes.
Will your kids miss you? Probably for about the first 10 minutes.
Will everyone survive and end up having a great time anyway? Absolutely.
This is the year. Take that vacation without your kids.
Do it for you.
Do it for your kids.
Do it for your marriage.
Do it for your friendships.
Do it for your parents.
Like they say, life goes by too fast.
You can see the original ‘Childcare Instructions’ post here.
Sign up to get my new posts in your inbox. No spam, ever – I promise.
Once upon a time, I was a Senior Account Director at an advertising agency working for two of the top brands in the world. Nine years ago, I traded in my corporate life for a life as a stay at home mom, raising two of the best kids in the world. I started my blog, The Dusty Parachute as a way to dust off my online advertising skills and begin my job search. Instead, I now use it as a way to spend lots of time on the computer so my kids think that mommy has a job.
My essays have been featured in Scary Mommy, BonBon Break and Redbook and I’m also a contributor in the books, It’s Really 10 Months, Special Delivery and Martinis & Motherhood – Tales of Wonder Woe & WTF?!
Be sure to follow me on Facebook & Twitter and check out my 'Photos' tab for a sample of my Instagram feed. It's where I post my tasteful nudes (made you look!);)
xo - Susanne