Going on vacation without the kids

Going on a trip without our kids can sometimes seem against nature. Yet, many parents choose to do so every year. We talk about the benefits of traveling without the kids, and we give you tips so you can be prepared!

For your well-being and your relationship

Moms sometimes tend to forget that before becoming a mother, they were half of a couple, and during this period of big changes, they were, are and will always be a woman first. Our kids have regular needs that need to be met, and so do us moms, who have this tendency to forget about ourselves a little too often.

While going on vacation without the kids might seem scary because we are proud of our new identity as a mom, it can sometimes be beneficial for us to take time to unwind and most importantly, to concentrate on our relationship. Remember that a rested and happy mom will be in better shape to take care of her family's needs, and if you think going away is what you need to get your groove back, it's a perfectly suitable option to consider. The important thing is that you are well prepared before departure to avoid unnecessary worries that may spoil your trip.

If you are breastfeeding, but you feel the need to have a little time to yourself, you can decide to store your breast milk in the freezer for a few days while you get away for some much-needed pampering!

Choose people you trust to babysit

Letting other people take care of your kids requires a lot of trust, and if you're not comfortable leaving them behind, you will worry during your trip. It's important to choose someone you trust, like grandparents, extended family or close friends who respect your values.

If you know your kids are in a safe environment surrounded by people you trust, you'll be able to fully relax and appreciate your vacation. And remember, the kids are on a vacation too, as they will benefit from new interactions with different people that will allow them to create bonds with other adults and go through adventures they'll be glad to share with you!

How to be well prepared?

The best thing you can do to prevent worrying during your trip is to adequately prepare for any eventuality. If your child is old enough to understand, it's always a good idea to let them know about your trip in advance so they have time to get used to what is coming. You also have to think about the people who will be caring for your kids and what they need to know; make a detailed plan that you can give them, so they know what to do in case of an emergency or just have a clear idea of your kid's routine. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  • Make a detailed schedule of your kid's daily routine so his or her caregivers can refer to it quickly. Don't forget to include all emergency details and necessary documents.
  • If possible, have your kids looked after in their own home, as this reduces the number of changes they have to go through.
  • If your child is older, you can give them a calendar with an X marking the day you leave and the day you return. Ask them to X-out every day in between while you are gone. This exercise helps them visualize when you will be back and feel more reassured.
  • Prepare some of your kid’s favorites: books, movies, games, meals, and snacks. Everything that is familiar will be reassuring for children. 
Even if we'd prefer not having to think about it, there is always a possibility that a serious accident may occur while we are gone. To make sure the people caring for them can act in consequence, we recommend signing a document giving them temporary power of attorney, so they can make quick decisions in your absence.

When we miss them too much

It's not because parents decide to go on vacation without their kids that they forget they are parents overnight! Rest assured, it's normal to miss the kids while you are away, the opposite would actually be surprising! You're not the only mom to worry about feeling this way. However, there are things you can do to ease the transition and to help make you feel better during the trip:

  • If your baby is still very young, why not go gradually? Start by going away for a night, and increase progressively according to how you and your baby feel.
  • Don't be embarrassed to bring pictures of your kids on your trip! You can look at them when you're missing them.
  • A quick call or Skype session can go a long way in reassuring a mom who misses her kids. Even if your baby is young and can't talk, it doesn't matter! Their little « gogo-gagas » will still make you feel better.

A compromise

For those who are unable to consider leaving without their kids but who still need to get away from home, why not consider a compromise: plan a family trip and invite one or more family members to join you! This way, you can plan activities for the whole family while at the same time reserving some time for you and your partner to relax together. And this way, you get the opportunity to spend some quality time with your extended family, something that families don't have the luxury of doing much nowadays. Everyone wins!

Image de Mariem Melainine

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