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Why you can and SHOULD take a kid-free vacay

The last kid-free vacation my husband and I had was just about six years ago. Seriously, we didn’t even really take a honeymoon (read: young and poor). And since our kiddos were born, we’ve never spent more than a night away from them. Partly because I’m a control freak who is mildly obsessed with routine, but mostly because my children are mildly obsessed with being suction-cupped to me 24/7.

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However, when the opportunity to take a 4-day, kid-free vacation at an all-inclusive resort literally fell into our laps, we couldn’t pass it up. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited. Mega-excited. But, I was equally as excited as I was TERRIFIED to leave my little minis while we went gallivanting around without a care in the world.

I’ll spare you the details (that’s what Facebook & Instagram are for) and fast forward: everything was beautiful, everyone survived, and in the process I learned a lot about myself, about my relationship, and about mom guilt.

{Big sigh} Why is the mom guilt SO real? Why do we feel this overwhelming sense of sadness after only a few short days (or hours) away from our children– or worse, at the THOUGHT of leaving them? Why are we made to feel like we’re being selfish for taking care of ourselves and our needs?

Unfortunately, I don’t have some profound answer to all of these questions. We live in a society where we’re stuck in between “Seriously, can’t you be away from them for one second?” and “Seriously, good moms are always accessible.” It took me a full three days into our four-day getaway to decide that taking a trip sans kiddos was not only acceptable, but TOTALLY worth it.


Here’s why you should take a kid-free vacation:

You can NOT pour from an empty cup

When you’re in the day-to-day shuffle, it can be hard to notice the little joys that make parenting special. Everything starts to feel like a chore. The three-year-old who insists on dressing herself, brushing her own hair, putting on her shoes, and buttoning her own coat can be painfully frustrating. When really, her determination and persistence is quite admirable. (Plus, those fine motor skills are improving with every button!)

Taking a step back can remind us how fleeting these moments are and help deepen our appreciation for the daily grind. When you take a kid-free vacay, you get time to clear your head and reprioritize.

You get to rekindle that magic with your significant other

Let’s get serious. There’s something about getting dressed up fancy and enjoying a long and uninterrupted dinner that just makes you want to play footsy under the table. Just because you’re parents doesn’t mean you need to give up all the things that make you YOU. Before kids, it was just the two of you. And after kids, it will be just the two of you. It’s important to keep that spark!

Your children get to develop important coping skills

Like I said in the beginning, my kids are more or less attached to me 24/7. While I absolutely adore this stage (aka where they still think that I’m cool and fun), there are many times when I get frustrated because they’re so dependent on me. I don’t mean dependent like “let me do that for you,” but more like “my mama is right next to me every.single.step of the way and I can’t do it without her approval, even though I totally can.” When I remove myself from that equation, they are forced to work on their independence. Win, win!


Tips for making the vacay transition a success:

1. Leave the kiddos with someone they’re comfortable with.
Staying with grandma and grampa is much more fun and enjoyable than with your cousin they’ve met twice. If you don’t have someone who they’re used to staying with, consider doing a test run before the real deal.

2. Explain to your kids what’s happening ahead of time.
I’ve always been one for as much open dialogue and honesty as possible with kiddos and this is no exception. Prep them for what’s ahead so it isn’t a shock. But don’t prep them too early, as the GRANDMA’S COMING! anticipation can really amp them up

3. Gather all important documents and phone numbers in one, easily accessible place.
This includes doctor’s phone numbers, any necessary medical history, any necessary medications, a daily activity schedule (if that’s your jam), general tips on what helps your household function best.

4. Check your phone company’s long distance plan.
Especially if “international locale” is on the itinerary.

5. Plan some fun, quality time ASAP when you get back.
While you may want to immediately unpack that suitcase or share photos when you return, make sure that your little ones realize how much you missed them! 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted, focused attention can do wonders.

And voila! Treat yo self and enjoy that adult time, mama. You deserve it and you’ll be a better mama for it.


Share your tips for vacationing sans kiddos below or on Facebook at MothersRest.


About the guest blogger:
Jess is a lover of fresh air, coffee and wine (equally, not together), fitness, and trying to live a more natural, minimalist lifestyle with two little ones at home. You can check out her blog at Playdates & Prosecco.

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the obligatory “ocean pic” from Jess’s fun vacay with hubby


Photo credit, featured image: Jenn Richardson from Unsplash.com




ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS
Getting lots of love on Facebook for this post. Here are my favorite tips that other mommas shared.

Definitely do a kid-free vacation! We always try to go somewhere that we know there will be not a lot or no kids! We try to do one trip for just the two of us every year (sometimes it’s only a two-day trip, others it’s a week!) and then 1-2 family vacations a year! It definitely strengthens our marriage and lets us get back in touch with each other without the kids.
-Kim, momma for two girls and one little guy


Ummm, word to the wise: start small… We just got back from a week-long trip without 4.5yo dd and I was pretty miserable. I mean the trip was nice and all, but it was way too long away from her. Everyone said she did fine but I’m worried if it felt too long for me, it def must have for her!! I also got really fed up with dh b/c I think we are just so not accustomed to so much togetherness.
–Hope, middle school counselor and mom


Start small. Do a long weekend away within driving distance. That way you know you can always get back home easily if needed, to ease your mind. Long weekend at a nice hotel with spa, or do it surrounding some type of interest you and your husband have and enjoy together (hiking, camping, sports event, theater tickets, etc.)
–Jennifer, boy mom x 2


Try a Carnival Cruise! Camp Carnival is free, and awesome. That way you can travel and see new places together, but also get plenty of alone time too when needed! They give you a special phone to reach you if needed. They also do late nights and also have an in-cabin babysitting option too if it’s after bedtime. We took my son on his first cruise when he was 26 months and he loooooved it. He’s 3.5 now and still talks about it!
–Melissa, mom of two people babies and two fur babies


I personally vote for going on a cruise. I highly recommend a kid-free vacation. I did one in February and I have 2 boys. My oldest was 4 and my youngest was almost 2. I had never left them for more than 1 night (not counting the 2 nights he was without me while I had the youngest) and it was for a 7-day cruise where I couldn’t be reached some days and I called the days we were at port. I was a nervous wreck before the trip because my oldest is really attached to me and I was worried for him and that he wouldn’t be able to calm down and I wouldn’t be able to “come home.” I wasn’t worried for my youngest even though he weaned just a couple weeks before the trip.

I notarized a medical form and made a booklet of important information, just in case. I also left a few little surprises that my mom could give if the kids were missing us really bad or just something to brighten their day. I finally relaxed and fully enjoyed my trip after a phone call on our second day and I talked to my oldest and he was happy and didn’t once whine that he missed me but said that he loved me. He was having fun with his grandparents. We got back and my oldest ran up to us but my youngest just kept on playing. I hope to do it again! Sorry to write a novel.
–Sarah, boy mom of two

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