• Tue, Nov 12 - 11:00 am ET

I Didn’t Miss My Kids While On Vacation

10148391My husband and I just had our first kid-free, non-pregnant weekend getaway in two years. Before I get into the gory details, I have to give you some background.

My husband and I have a pretty unique situation in that we both work at home with two kids under two. Meaning, all four of us are under one roof almost every single hour of every single day without a break. (My toddler goes to half-day daycare Monday through Friday so we can work.)

So far, this pressure cooker dynamic is actually working pretty well for us. No one has smothered anyone with a pillow yet, and we are slowly figuring out a balance in co-parenting. But… there is literally no such thing as a break.

Being able to tag team two kids between two parents is pretty ideal because you aren’t outnumbered. But when both of those parents never, ever leave the house, it can leave you feeling a little crazy. So, even though our kids are 21 months old and 5 months old, we decided to book a four day weekend vacation to see my sister and some friends in Colorado for my thirtieth birthday.

Leading up to the big weekend, I was a total maniac. I had all of these worries about how both kids would do with my mom, even though she raised three kids herself. I had the classic mom anxiety where I was convinced that my 5-month-old would only eat and sleep for me. I wrote my mom an extensively detailed schedule that probably made her want to stab a fork in her eye, but she was kind enough to play ball and take over for me.

After we got on the airplane, most of my anxiety vanished. After I downed a few beers at lunch, I was feeling 100%. Of course, I’m still a control freak, so I toyed with the idea of drunk texting my mom to find out exactly what the babies were doing. (How many ounces did he eat? What did his poop look like? When did he wake up from his nap?)

Fortunately, my husband intervened and forced me to put down the phone. He wanted me to chill out and unplug to show my mom that I trusted her and to help me soothe my constantly overscheduled brain. It took a day or two, but his tactic worked.

I had a few moments of clarity to realize that the world won’t stop spinning if I’m away from my children. My kids aren’t going to drop dead if I don’t feed them X amount of breast milk or a specially prepared, ultra-nutritious dinner every night of the week.

Being forced not to check in helped me to unplug my anxious mom brain that is always churning with what needs to be done next, what worst-case scenario could possibly occur, and what I need to do to keep my kids happy and safe. The good news is that they are probably going to be happy and safe the majority of the time, even if I’m not there.

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  • Amanda

    I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and my husband and I have planned a week long cruise in February for our first kid free vacation since the 3 year old was born. I am so excited I can hardly hold it in. I think about it everyday and I’m going to be honest: I do not anticipate missing my children. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are great and wonderful and super, super cute, but I’m a stay at home mom and I have not spent a single night away from my kids in over 3 years. They’ll survive with my very capable in-laws for a week, my husband and I are going to party is up in Mexico! (Only 102 days until we leave… too early for a countdown?)

    • Bethany Ramos

      OMG you so deserve it! Get crazy! 1. I freaking love cruises. 2. I’m sure a few nights away will be great for all of you!

    • brebay

      Jealous! That sounds amazing! Definitely not too early.

  • chickadee

    All I could think about as I read your article was, “Two under two? TWO UNDER TWO???? They need a vacation EVERY month…”

    I’m glad you got the chance to unplug. Do it as often as possible.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Haha thanks!! We try to do babysitting once a month minimum. I’m already jonesing for another vacation…

    • momma425

      Right, TWO UNDER TWO???
      I hope you wake up and have a momosa every single morning. :)
      Glad you had an amazing vacation!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thanks! And I will from now on haha.

    • Alicia Kiner

      My two are 16 months apart. It’s really not that bad once they are both out of diapers. Just keep it together until then, and it’s MUCH better, I promise!! I’m glad you had fun. I haven’t actually had a vacation without them, but THEY’VE gone on vacation a couple of times with my in-laws without US. They loved it, and I still got the break, with the upside of getting stuff done at home that is impossible to do with toddlers running around (like painting walls).

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! I mostly like the 16mo ago difference and wanted to get it all out of the way, but there are days when I’m like, so it gets better, right?!?!? :)

    • Alicia Kiner

      It definitely does. I have a boy and a girl, and most days overall were pretty good. Yes, they’d fight. But they’d play together too, once my daughter got big enough to play. The first year is tough, but it does get easier. I’m sure the teen years are going to be rough again though. I don’t imagine that’s easy any way you slice it.

  • Mel

    When our daughter was two we left her with grandma for a week to go on our honeymoon. I shed one little tear after dropping her off, and then I was just way too busy relaxing on the the Maldives :)

  • LadyClodia

    We’ve never been away from our boys for more than one night at a time, and maybe only like 4 times in total since my 5 year old was born, so I’m kind of jealous. We most recently were away for a night on our anniversary, and it was very nice, but it wasn’t really enough time. I don’t foresee us being able to get away anytime soon, though. I’m just hoping we can maybe get to the movies in the next week or so sans kids.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    It’s very French to vacation for small stints away from your children. It’s considered important to unwind and believed that everyone needs a break from each other from time to time, including the kids. Being cared for by Grandma is a sort of vacation in itself.
    I think it also teaches your kids the important lesson that when mom and dad leave, they’ll always come back, that they’ll be okay without their parents for awhile, and it’s sort of an adventure.
    Every relationship needs occasional times where you have the opportunity to miss each other.

    • Bethany Ramos

      YES! It’s weird to pinpoint it because the kids are so young, but whenever we’ve come back from a small weekend break, my sons have seemed more independent and relaxed, IMO. Even though I was totally freaked this time, the end product made me really happy because the kids were actually really well-behaved when we got home. Like you said, security in parents returning and coming back.

  • Blueathena623

    My kid went on a vacation with his grandma without me. THAT was wonderful!

  • Shannon

    I’ve known some moms that will say,”well, I’ve NEVER had a night away from my kids since they’ve been born” as if to say that taking a break from your kids is akin to child neglect. Where does this come from?? My husband and I get an occasional night here and there and it’s reeeeeally nice to unwind and have a bit of a break. Seems to me this is just another way for moms to make other moms feel bad about themselves. What martyrs!

  • pixie

    It’s great that you managed to get away with your husband for a long weekend without your kids. Even though your kids are important to you, you’re also a person and not just a mom-bot and need that de-stress time!
    It’s also good for your kids to experience time away from home/their parents. My mom travelled a lot for work when I was growing up (still does), so I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s while my dad was at work. I spent the night occasionally, but when my dad started working midnights, I spent the night at my grandmother’s very frequently while my mom was away. I learned that my parents wouldn’t leave me somewhere unsafe to sleep, and got me used to not being always at home. Also, I knew my parents would come back at a specified time (whether it be at 6am when my dad picked me up after work, or 3 weeks in the future when my mom got back from abroad). It helped a huge amount when I started going to sleep away camps at 6 or 7 and I didn’t get homesick (because I was used to being away from home, I knew my parents hadn’t abandoned me and were coming back in a week, and I knew I was safe).
    And for your sanity’s sake, I’m glad your kids didn’t go off their schedule, too!

  • Himani

    Prepare to be flamed by me OP:
    HOW COULD YOU GO ON VACATION, LEAVE YOUR KIDS AND NOT TAKE -ME- WITH YOU??? T_T
    My boys are 21 months apart, and we haven’t been away from each other for more than a couple of hours. Take me with youuuuuuu~! *sob*

    • Bethany Ramos

      Next time!!!! (And there WILL be a next time!)

  • SA

    I’m probably the parent that could easily not take a break from my kid and drag her everywhere allowable with me and be just fine with that. However, at a little over a year, we have still had 3 over-nighters. I’m still not to the point where I sleep well and don’t worry and miss, but it is important to my husband that we have these. And not to him, but it is healthy for her and especially me to get used to time apart. I think working full-time leaves me riddled with guilt about it where as if I was home full-time I’d probably be ready to leave the country for a week, but I have NEVER understood the parents that act like you are awful for taking some time away. It is so important to have nights independent from your children and even your spouse. I’m just hoping it gets easier and easier…I’d love to plan a two-nighter in the coming year and not lose my mind! :)

    • Lee

      I work full time also and I swear the older my son gets the less guilty I feel leaving him overnight with grandparents. I spend pretty much all my non working time with my son because I feel guilty about being gone so much (also, my husband is a restaurant manager working nights and weekends so if is pretty much me and my son when I am home). It’s a lot to juggle. Those nights I pack him off to grandma’s are usually nights where I have some cleaning/yard work/house maintenance project to deal with but even those night alone cleaning are good for me. I should also mention it is a lot more fun to clean when you are pretty tipsy.

      I also used to want to be a stay at home mom. There was a really horrible 3 day weekend that totally changed my mind. There were some of his first tantrums, learning the word no, teething, and an absent husband. By that fourth night I dropped him off with grandma and decided that working part time is my new dream. It was one bad weekend but I swear after that I realized I need to take time away so I don’t go crazy and can be a better, more patient parent

    • SA

      Good to hear it does get easier! My husband is a restaurant manager too; we are fortunate no nights, but at least one weekend day a week. It IS so hard to juggle. I’m looking forward to my vacation days re-upping and I am going to make myself take a day off and take the kid to the sitters and do some tipsy, listen to loud music-cleaning myself. :) Or get a massage. ;)

    • Lee

      Here’s another sanity saving technique: I take a half day off work twice a year and don’t tell anyone. I go to the fancy movie theater with the recliners where you can get a cocktail and fancy snacks while watching the movie. I figure my son would be with the sitter or daddy anyways so he’s not missing out on time with me.

  • Lee

    I just did the same thing the weekend after Halloween for 30th too except I left my husband and my two year old at home and went to visit my best friend halfway across the country. I didn’t really miss either of them. It was a wonderful trip. I came home refreshed. I was very anxious to leave the boy but it was good for me. He stayed with grandparents since my husband works nights and weekends. Although when I picked my son up from grandma’s he kept saying “Why you go mama?” That was a new kind of heartbreaking but when we got home he kept saying “I so happy” and giving me and the dog hugs. So all is well that ends well.

  • LiteBrite

    Every few months I head down to Chicago and spend a weekend with BFF sans husband and child. I don’t totally miss my kid (or my husband) when I’m down there, at least not in that achy-breaky heart kind of way. It’s really nice to get up when I feel like it, go to brunch, shop, drink, do whatever, without having another person (two if you count my husband) to worry about.

    If I was gone for a longer period, I’m sure I would miss him more, but a couple of nights here and there? I can live with that.

  • Jessica

    I became pregnant with my second when my first was only 8 months. We wanted them close together but I wasn’t REALLY expecting the first attempt to take! My husband spends lots of time pursuing individual interests which as a SAHM I began to resent every now and again. When he is “working” all kinds of hours on the golf course/at the cigar lounge/at the gym (since he owns his own business he labels EVERYTHING as “working” if there is the mere possibility of networking) while I am doing laundry while pregnant and caring for our daughter, my very genuine attempts at feeling gratitude for my nice life gets a little sidetracked now and again. However, the final straw came when I spent the day out of the house and he had the nerve to say that staying home wasn’t that different than a round of golf because you got a break when the baby takes a nap. It’s just that on the golf course you get your break all at once and with a baby you get it in pieces.

    WHAT??????????

    So I decided that I was taking myself to a spa for a 4 day stay so he could experience what it was really like to take care of a baby AND himself AND the house. When he picked me up from the airport after my glorious vacation (where I thought often and fondly of my husband and daughter but MISSED neither of them) the first thing he said was “I have no idea how you do it. I am hiring someone to help when the second gets here. I’m exhausted from just one.” BEST VACATION EVER! And oddly enough that golf analogy has never been uttered again :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      THIS is amazing.

    • Alicia Kiner

      Awesome!

  • Bailey

    I’ve taken a handful of vacations without my kids and/or husband since becoming a mom 6 years ago. I always enjoy them but I get frustrated with myself because I end up missing them so much by the 3rd or 4th day, it stops being as much fun! But then we get home and after about a day, I wish I was back on vacation.

    • brebay

      Ha! So true, it’s amazing how your brain filters out the parts that make you crazy and leaves you only the Kodak moments when you’re away from them.

  • brebay

    I mostly “get away” on business, but it’s still nice to come back to a clean room and room service instead of socks all over the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. I miss my son when I talk to him on the phone, then I go get a massage and a steak and get over it ;) He’s happy to see me when I get back, and I think it’s great for both of us!

  • guest

    When I read the title I thought this was going to be a R.E. article that made me all mad inside… But it was great! You sounds like such dedicated parents, I’m glad you had a good trip, sounds like you really deserve it. I bet your Mom loved the time with her grandbabies too. Good for you and your husband to get away. <3

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you so much. :)

  • CrushLily

    We did a three-day weekend away from the two year old for my partner’s 40th birthday. Half the people we knew freaked out that we could dare to do such a thing, the others were soooo jealous. Surprisingly, it was my partner who was more emotional, I was over it in the car on the way to the airport. I think he was over it parking the car at the airport. The best bits? Having sex in daylight hours. Sleeping later than 6 am. Going out for dinner and getting drunk and not having to get up the next morning. Realising that we actually still like each other and *gasp* still fancy each other too. It was awesome. And our kid barely noticed we were gone. Would do it again… hopefully sometime before the baby that is a result of our debauchery is born next year…

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    My parents used to take a week long vacation without me every year. I thought it was great to spend the week at my grandparents and since the stuff they did (mostly sit around on the beach and drink) looked hella boring, I didn’t mind.

    I don’t know that we’ll be able to do that every year (because we also love vacationing with our kid too, and we can’t afford two vacations a year!) but I’ve seen what happens when couples don’t let themselves take breaks, and I don’t want that.

    I went away for a week for work (to Prague! A FREE TRIP TO PRAGUE!) when my kid was 18 months and it was AWESOME. I have to say, it wasn’t hard at all. I mean, I missed my kid, sure. But I wasn’t worried about her – she was with my wife, I knew she’d be fine. I was a bit worried about my wife (just knowing that it would be challenging for her to be parenting solo for a week) but mostly I just relaxed and enjoyed myself (I took baths! I went to bars! And two 23 year old dudes tried to pick me up! and I had mulled wine and fried cheese in the public square!).

    Last month, we finally got up the nerve to ask my dad and stepmom if they’d babysit for us, and so they took the kid for her first sleepover…she had a blast (and apparently watched Cool Hand Luke on TV because of course she did) and we enjoyed sleeping in together.

    All that to say, hell yes to taking breaks and vacations away from your kid….I just feel like there’s so much that my kid can learn from people who aren’t her parents, and I really want her to be able to love and trust people that aren’t us.

  • scooby23

    I love the honesty with this article. Too many times I see “OMG I CAN’T EVEN SPEND 2 SECONDS WITHOUT MY PWESHUS SNOOKUMZ!!!!!!” And I think “You can’t be serious.” Every mom deserves a break. And the great thing is, you probably are much happier and ready to take care of your children because of your break! :)

  • Rebekah

    I totally agree that people shouldn’t feel guilty about having a little fun sometimes! It’s better for the kids in the long run if we take care of ourselves and have some fun (within reason). Great article :-)