• Wed, Apr 30 - 10:00 am ET

Leaving Your Baby Overnight Does Not Make You A Bad Mother

shutterstock_87949297As soon as I got myself back on my feet after having a baby, when a floppy infant started to make sense at about three months, I was all about the babysitting. I had been pregnant for nine long months. I just wanted to go out in public and have a few drinks with my husband. A vacation to a tropical getaway would be even better, thanks for asking.

Without even thinking twice about it, my husband and I took my mom up on her generous offer to babysit when my first son was five months old. I had some major cabin fever from being pregnant. I was stir crazy and just wanted a quick break.

My mom happily watched my five-month-old son for five days while we went on a cruise out of California. Leading up to the trip, I pumped tons and tons of breast milk so that my son would have more than enough to eat while I was gone. We also had formula as backup, just in case. My mom felt really confident about the whole ordeal, so that set our minds at ease. SPOILER ALERT—we had a great trip that was much-needed as new parents, and we only missed my son a little bit.

Since then, we’ve had as many overnights as my mom will allow. She lives out of town, which means that she will babysit for a short vacation for us a few times a year. I feel very fortunate that she is so willing to take care of both of our kids at a moment’s notice.

Now that my kids are little older, I had no clue that parents often didn’t leave their babies overnight. Many parents feel downright uncomfortable at the thought of leaving a helpless baby with a trusted caretaker for an overnight getaway:

I get that DH need time to ourselves but I would rather have her babysit for a few hours while we go out.  My niece is 3 1/2 and started staying the night off at around 2 1/2, maybe even closer to 3.  My nephews (bff’s boys) have only stayed the night away twice.  Actually 1yr nephew never has, 3yr has twice.  When my sister wouldn’t let me keep my niece at first I didn’t understand.  By the time my nephews came around I understood, and now that I have DS I think at least 2 years, but I can’t even consider it until 1yr.  Who knows I might change my mind.

I completely understand. I have a 4 month old and MIL has been begging for her to spend the night since 3 weeks. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her it’s not happeneing. She went so far as to try to book a hotel room for DH and I saying we needed to get away from lo overnight. Not wanting to be away from your lo this early is completely normal.

My daughter is 7 months and I have never left her overnight. I am BEYOND overprotective. Today is actually the first time I have been away from her (she is with her aunt and uncle for a few hours) and it is KILLING me being away from her.

As I scoured Internet forums, one thing stuck out to me. Most of the women struggling with whether or not to leave their babies overnight fell back on the worry of being a “bad mom.” While not every mom will feel comfortable leaving an infant overnight, I firmly believe that a little healthy separation is good for mother and baby. If you’re planning an overnight trip, enjoy yourself without guilt and lose the “bad mom” label. Your baby is going to be fine.

(Image: Ana Blazic Pavlovic/Shutterstock)

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  • Megan Zander

    We left the boys for a night when they were about 8 months old for a wedding I was in, but I struggled and haven’t taken my mom up on the numerous offers since for overnight babysitting. For me personally, it’s not that I’ll feel like a bad mom, I’m just so neurotic that I worry about hospital grade, highly improbably accidents happening while I’m away. But, this used to be an issue for me even for an hour away, and I’ve gotten over that for the most part (going to see an actual movie this weekend!) so I hope that soon I’ll get ok with being away for a night and not ruin it for my husband with my worrying. Time away is healthily for everyone IMO.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I’ll take your babysitting! LOL

  • Jessifer

    When I was a month old, my parents left me with my aunt for a week so they could go out of town for a wedding. You would not believe the amount of therapy I’ve needed to help me get over it (eye roll)

  • MegzWray

    We started leaving our newborn (under a month old) in the care of relatives overnight. She was a last-minute adoption and we had to stay out of state while awaiting approval to take her home. Because of our work schedules, we had our mutual in-laws come down for overnights as they could to help us out. One day, we both were scheduled to work so had to leave her with my MIL. They both did great, although I was a nervous wreck. That being said, it has helped us tremendously to let her stay with relatives since she was an infant. She is now 3 1/2 and LOVES spending the night at both Gma’s houses, aunts and uncles. Loves it. And I never have to worry about her sleeping through the night or missing Mommy.

  • Lilly

    I found it hard to leave me son when I was still nursing — but this was more to do with the practicality of pumping enough milk and not leaking while I was out. I did still manage a few nights out with husband (with either my mom, my MIL or friends looking after baby).

    Once he weaned around the one year mark it seemed a lot easier to manage and I left him for a long weekend with both my mom and MIL when he was 20 months. My issue is I don’t have people locally that would be willing to do overnight babysitting and my mom and MIL live far away so they are either staying at our place or us with them so no need for overnight babysitting (but we always plan for them to babysit while hubs & get drinks one night).

  • K.

    …This is up for debate?!

    Seriously??

    Our grandparents couldn’t WAIT to babysit and we let them when he was a newborn so that I could leave the house for a few hours and not feel like an on-demand milkshake machine and eat something that was cooked on the premises and not carted to my house in a car for 20 minutes. We didn’t travel, but that had to do with work obligations and financial limitations.

    I mean, come on–do any of YOU remember the terrible abandonment of your parents vacationing from when you were 5 months old? 5-month-old babies can’t even figure out that a mini-Thomas the Tank Engine train is “missing” if you take it away and put it behind your back–it’s simply no longer in their field of mental awareness.

    My parents dropped me off at my grandparents when I was about three and a half and jetted off for a couple weeks to Paris. Granted, my grandparents lived in Hawaii (I know, tough life), but grandma made an audio tape of her and me talking and I’m having the time of my life–cookies and Barbies as far as the eye could see. I don’t even REMEMBER my parents taking this trip–and I was about 2 months shy of four.

    I think a lot of parents inflate how much they actually matter to their kids. One trip without your kids will not scar them for life.

    • Bethany Ramos

      The kids enjoy it – I need more overnights!!

    • Rebecca R

      I guess when you adopt the attitude of ‘I am the most important person in my baby’s life’ and vice versa, you kind of have to exaggerate things like that.

    • K.

      I know, I know…I have this perspective that’s not shared by everyone I know and even offends some people, but I really do believe that parenthood is essentially 20 years of slowly turning a two-way street of “my kid is the most important thing in my life/M&D are the most important people in my life” into a one-way street. Your kids will always be the most important people in your life (well, them and your partner, probably), but with each year, you will become less and less important to them. This is a tough reality, but to me, it is the reality of being a parent and the responsibility of raising an individual. It’s also the right of the child to become independent of his/her parents.

      …and therefore “good moms” should definitely take care of themselves too!

    • Rebecca R

      That’s the problem; parents equate ‘important’ with ‘dependent’, which results in a lot of bratty kids who will grow into bratty adults. My husband and I have had many more parenting conversations as my due date draws closer and we both understand that our job as parents is to equip and enable our child to live a fulfilling life ON THEIR OWN. Will I ever stop helping them out? No. My mom buys Mios (those liquid water enhancers) for my husband whenever she buys herself groceries and I LOVE it because those things are $4 each and he goes through them like, well, flavored water. But we pay all of our own bills and save money and if we can’t afford to do anything for our birthdays/anniversaries because one of us is laid off we look forward to next time.

    • Psych Student

      I don’t know about your mom, but I think my parents sometimes buy my wife and I stuff as a way to help us out and find a way to keep taking care of us. My wife and I don’t have excess money, but like you, we pay our bills, and put things in order – new bed for her, top of the list, new bed for me, lower down. I told them that I’m fine with the bed I have for a while, but they said they would pay for a new bed for me and I’m not going to argue with them.

    • Rebecca R

      Both of my parents grew up poor, and now that they live comfortably they are very generous, not just with their children but with their parents, siblings, and our local community. My mother recently offered to go halves with me on the stroller I want (but certainly don’t need) for our baby because she knows that I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into getting as many things second-hand to save money. Like you, I’m not going to argue with her, anymore than I would want someone to argue with me if I genuinely wanted to help them out financially.

    • Psych Student

      That’s super cool and bloody brilliant.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      Yea seriously Beth, your boy was with YOUR MOM. After you and your hubby, I’m sure she’s the next in line of people who love your boy the most.

      It all depends on who’s watching your kids and how much you trust them. In your example, I see no problems.

    • Valerie

      It is Butt approved!

    • val97

      My kids have been spending 2-5 weeks with their grandmother every summer since they were 5 years old. They love it, she loves it, and even though I miss them, I love it too. They have a great time and look forward to it every year. But I get smug shit about it from other parents, like “wow, I could NEVER be away from my kids that long.”

    • K.

      Yeah, I just roll my eyes. I had many fond memories growing up of spending summers with my grandparents, etc.

      I have fantasies that I give them the most sympathetic look I can muster and say, “It’s going to be really tough isn’t it, when they start telling you they no longer want you to be around them. I hope they get into a local college!”

    • AP

      I had to spend time being babysat by my crankypants, boring grandma who openly hated kids, and I have semi-fond memories of it: how eccentric Grandma was and how I one-upped her. (I was, uh, high spirited and spunky. Some might say naughty.)

    • Iwill Findu

      I’m looking forward to doing this with my kid once she’s old enough. The close grandparents live a 12 hr drive away, the other set live in the UK. So unless we make it a point to do that my daughter won’t have a ton of memories with her grandparents, and that just seems a little sad.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      A ton of teen lit begins with the protagonist kid going to stay with an aunt or grandparent for the summer for an extended trip. Often at an old spooky house or way out in the country, and the kid just thinks they’ll die without all their things. So much teen lit begins this way, surely it’s a rite of passage. I think it’s pretty cool and can’t wait to ship my oldest off to grandma’s country house this summer for a little adventure.

    • Psych Student

      My wife and her brothers spent every summer at their aunt/uncle’s farm. She said she had the most amazing time – eating corn and watermelon, spending hours on the trampoline, getting to hang out with her thoughts (she loved that). This was all before age 10.

    • LiteBrite

      When my son was six months old, my stepmom asked if it was time for him to have a sleepover. My answer was a resounding HELL YES! My sister and I are always happy to pawn our kids off on someone else for awhile.

      One of my former co-workers had a friend who wouldn’t let ANYONE watch her kids overnight, even the grandparents. This friend even had reservations about leaving the kids with her husband for a few hours. That just seemed really sad to me.

    • Psych Student

      My brother and I totally spent a week with my grandparents while my parents went to Hawaii. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was old enough to remember the trip. It was a lot of fun. Plus, there is home video of my parents coming home and mom psyching my brother and I up over “little shampoos and conditioners” (the ones from the hotel). We were so stoked!!!!

  • firsttimemom

    My husband and I live an ocean away from my family. I don’t have anyone I trust to keep my daughter overnight. It’s different if your family isn’t nearby. So, maybe it’s not them thinking you are a bad Mom, but just that they just don’t have as awesome of a network as you. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel bad that you feel judged for leaving for a tropical vacation. It’s tough finding a trustworthy sitter for us, even for a night out. If my Mom were here, sure, I would leave in a heartbeat. But, I struggle to even find a sitter for a dinner date, due to our location. Even some grandparents aren’t trustworthy sitters…just saying!

    • Rebecca R

      Growing up military that pretty much sums up my mother’s constantly having us around. They hardly knew their neighbors, let alone trust them enough to watch 3 small children. We actually have close friends as well who won’t let the grandparents watch their kids because they are completely untrustworthy and that must be awful as well. I feel incredibly blessed, not only that both sets of grandparents live within 15 minutes of us, but that we trust them to watch our son when he gets here. Now I want to go give my mom a hug.

    • firsttimemom

      My husband is military and I can’t leave my daughter…just don’t have that type of network. That’s why I have a hard time feeling sympathy for someone who takes a vacation when their baby is that young, and feels judged. My Mom didn’t meet her granddaughter until she was 2 years old. This article reminds me of college, when my friends with rich parents didn’t understand why I wasn’t going on spring break. They were pissed that I wasn’t going, but I literally could not afford it, while their parents paid for everything. Everything, even gas money! Just frustrating to try make others understand when their personal situation is awesome and your own sucks!

    • Syd

      I don’t think she was saying that she doesn’t understand why parents don’t ditch the kid and jet off for a tropical vacation…she was simply stating that she doesn’t understand the judgement on being away from the kids for a night. I hate to say it, but get over yourself. I will never be able to have my mother babysit because she died suddenly when I was in college (also meaning that I was never able to keep up with my friends in terms of finances and ease of weekends home, trips and parent advice). That doesn’t mean that I don’t fully understand where the author of this article is coming from. It also doesn’t mean that I’m entitled to frustration because “everyone’s situation is awesome and mine sucks”. What a “woe is me” outlook to have…

    • firsttimemom

      I didn’t mean to project a woe is me outlook, that’s actuality the reason I didn’t like this post. I felt like the author is trying to say feel bad for me, I feel judged for leaving my kids. But those people she references aren’t even judging her. They are unrelated posts about different situations. Why does this make her feel like a bad Mom? It just doesn’t make sense to complain about posts that weren’t even directed towards her awesome childcare setup and money situation.

    • whiteroses

      I don’t think she’s saying that she, personally, feels like a bad mom. I think she’s saying that if you have that support network, you shouldn’t feel like a bad mom if you need a night away.

    • Jessifer

      I think the article is referring more to people who don’t trust their own parents with the care of their children. And I’m not talking about parents who were abusive or negligent in the past… just “normal” parents who raised their kids in a loving and reasonable way. My mother and I don’t always agree on how to parent my child but I’d absolutely trust her enough to take care of my son. Other than my husband and I, no one loves him more than my mother does!

    • firsttimemom

      I know, I guess it’s just jealousy on my part…I get some snarky comments from friends about how we’ve never left our daughter for a vacation, but it just doesn’t work that way for everyone!

    • Jessifer

      I’m right there with you. My parents still work and my in-laws also live an ocean away, so I don’t get the chance to have them babysit for a week or two at a time! Not that I wouldn’t like it!

    • Iwill Findu

      I totally get were you’re coming from the only family in the area is my hubby brother and his wife. If we didn’t have them there is no way I would have been able to leave my daughter for the night. It’s a toss up between being around lots of family or living in a place with a job we like in a town we love.

    • Pzonks

      Overnights can get REALLY expensive if you aren’t using family. I used to babysit for a well off family and would do overnights a couple times a year. My hourly rate was $15 and when I did overnights I got that until 9pm. Then it was a flat $50 until 6AM when the $15/hour kicked in again. I could easily earn $300 on a weekend which was great for me and the parents could afford it. But it also made me very aware that babysitters ain’t cheap and weekends away could be impossible for many parents.

    • whiteroses

      Even if my in-laws didn’t live on the other side of the planet, putting a 76 and 66 year old with an extremely active two year old is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, my son’s grandparents are very close, as is his godmother. My point? Everyone’s situation is different.

    • ChillMama

      I don’t think judging someone for it is cool. Envying? Sure. I have no family nearby, so getting a night away is extremely rare. But I don’t judge her for it. Nor would I ever judge you for not feeling you have a trustworthy sitter to leave your daughter with. I get totally get both, and just wish I had some sitter-happy in-laws close by!

  • Obladi Oblada

    Am I the only one with family around that doesn’t really like to babysit? It has nothing to do with my kids, they’re just not interested. (This is by their own admission, lest anyone think I’m bragging. :)) It happens sometimes but it’s not a normal thing. When I had just one kid it was a regular Saturday night thing but now that we have more, it’s basically stopped.

    • Bethany Ramos

      No, my mom is the exception, and my in-laws aren’t into it at all. This really bugs me because of their lack of enthusiasm. We can afford a babysitter, but they are just meh about it all.

    • Obladi Oblada

      I don’t have in-laws anymore but they were nutjobs to start with. I have my mom and extended family and they are all gung ho when they want to do it but it’s usually inconvenient for me. Doing it when it’s needed is a real issue. That’s why I work for the school now. Problem solved…except for dates. *sigh* I miss dating.

    • Katherine Handcock

      My mom was very upfront from the beginning that she was comfortable babysitting my kids only for a few hours at a time. Some of it comes from the fact that my parents had me and my sister relatively late – my mom was 36 when she had me; in the 1970s that meant her doctor tried to convince her to stay in bed for her whole pregnancy because he wasn’t sure how a woman “that old” would handle a first baby ;-) But just as much of it comes from the fact that Mom really isn’t comfortable with babies/toddlers, or even preschoolers. Once the kids are both in school and 100% able to communicate what they need, she’s more than willing to do longer babysitting, including overnights and weeks away.

      She was also a kickass Mom when we were tweens and teens, so I’m pretty sure she WILL be the awesome Grandma who comes up with all the cool experiences for my kids when they’re older :-)

    • Psych Student

      The thing about the kids being older was what I was thinking might happen for some grandparents. When the kids are little, they can be a bit hard to engage with (especially when they’re really little) and hard to handle. But once they can play toys and games and communicate, that might get better. Plus, then they can go to parks, appreciate museums, etc.

  • Alex Lee

    “tons and tons of breast milk”

    breast milk level: Kiddie-pool

    <3

    It depends on how much you trust your caregiver. If you're heaping Tila-Tequila-amounts of attention onto the child, then you're not going to feel comfortable with any caretaker for any amount of time. But there is a balance that you have to strike – realize that adult-time away helps the whole family.

    Shouldn't we be our own judges of what a "bad mom" or a "bad dad" is? Don't we have all the proof we need in our own kids that we see more than anyone else each day? Why are we relying on total strangers' negative opinions?

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL terrible image and terrible true!

    • Kati

      I don’t think it’s about how much attention you give your children, it really is about caregiver competence. My dad is way too old to deal with anyone under three. He can’t even hold a baby unless he’s sitting down. My mom isn’t much better and basically carries small children in a modified choke-hold because she is older and has a bad back. My in-laws will but aren’t as involved in our lives so it’s tougher to ask and the kids aren’t as comfortable. I’e never been able to pump much but even with my older kids, it’s tough when you don’t have confident grandparents who want to help. Btw, every time I’ve left an infant with my parents, it’s been a disaster and I’d really rather not come home to deal with a baby whose spent the past three hours screaming. I’d rather just wait. It’s great if you have an ideal situation but leaving kids can be a disaster if you don’t.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I don’t like to go out for a date night with my SO unless I know our son will be away for the night. That way my parents can sleep comfortably in their home when they want to sleep and my SO and I don’t have the pressure of being home at a certain time or feeling like we can’t have too much to drink.
    I think having to rush home after a date is a total buzz kill.

  • Myriam

    I haven’t left my baby yet, but that’s just because i’m too lazy to pump!!! I send my 3 yo for a week at time to visit with her grand-parents, at least twice a year!

  • Iwill Findu

    I’ve sent my then 6 month old on a overnight sleepover with her Aunt and Uncle (no grandparents within driving distance) We didn’t even go out of town we went to dinner and a movie then went home and had a great sleep in our own bed. No excuse other then we thought it would be nice to have a night to ourselves, and there wasn’t a good reason as to why we couldn’t have picked up our daughter after our date, but let me tell you it was wonderful.

  • Kendra

    Hello…I am this crazy parent you are referring to. My daughter is almost two and has never stayed anywhere overnight. I’m just not ready to do it, and for me, there is really no point to it.

    • Alene

      You absolutely have to do what you feel comfortable with :) I think the point is that it’s different for everyone.

    • Kendra

      Very true. After I posted, I was thinking this might be a little bit different between working moms and wahms/sahms who spend a lot more time with their kids. I don’t feel like I get enough time with my daughter as it is, so I’m a little bit snobbish about the weekend time that we do get.

    • SA

      That is how I am. If I were at home with her all the time, I’d probably be booking a week-long vacation as we speak!

    • Katherine Handcock

      Agreed. I think the article has more to do with parents who feel that it’s in some way a sign of a lack of love for your child to be away from them.

      I haven’t gotten the pleasure of an overnight without the kids yet, because my mom flat out told me from the beginning, “We’ll be happy to stay with them so you can go away once they’re both in school” ;-)

    • Katie

      That’s cool – you’re doing what’s right for you, without saying that moms who do it differently are wrong.

  • keelhaulrose

    The best thing my parents did for me after my daughter was born was get a nearby hotel room and keep her overnight a couple nights. The sleep… it was glorious. And it helped me stave off a breakdown. I hadn’t had a full night sleep in the six months prior, and a couple nights of nine hours uninterrupted sleep really helped.
    Since then they’ve been really good about encouraging us to get away for a weekend every few months. In fact the man and I are going out of town this weekend for our first trip away since our daughters diagnosis. And it’s the weekend before big sis’ birthday Monday, so cue the bad mom comments.

    • Psych Student

      I’d say, if you’re going to come back rested, happy, relaxed, and ready to truly enjoy a birthday because you aren’t big time burnt out, then you are being GREAT parents!

  • Alene

    My husband and I were both in his sister’s wedding when our daughter was almost four months old. We left her with my mom for the night so we could drink and dance and sleep. I pumped, my supply did not crash, my daughter did great on expressed milk, and my mom loved having her. She probably has an overnight around every other month (and is 15 months old now). I refuse to feel guilty about this. I actually think it’s good for all of us to have some space every once in a while.

  • Sara610

    We haven’t left our two-year-old overnight more than two or three times, but that’s only because we don’t live near much family. If we had grandparents nearby who would be able to take our daughter for a night here and a weekend there, we would have been ALL OVER that shit.

    I think a lot of moms do seem to think that if you’re not with your baby EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND. it makes you a bad/negligent/selfish mom, and I do think that’s somewhat new, but not completely. What I DO think has changed is that we have the Internet now, which tends to magnify things. So whereas a fairly small group of people, spread out over a large area, might before have not really had anyone else nearby who shared the same philosophies, now we have online groups and chatboards where those ten or fifteen or 20 moms can all discuss it together and suddenly it seems like a much more pronounced trend. Does that make sense?

    • Kendra

      I think that is true. I’ve seen many moms picking up the viewpoint that if you work, and therefore are away from your children, that makes you a bad mom. It’s kind of the same train of thought. I would never insinuate someone is a bad parent for wanting a babysitter at any time. Mostly because it wouldn’t be my business, but also because if you NEED to get out, it is much better that you get out and get your head on straight than to remain in a situation that could lead you to having a freak out or something.

    • firsttimemom

      I agree. I love this site, and enjoy poking fun of sanctimonious moms, but I also find it annoying when slacker moms are praised. I also think this author doesn’t take into account babies who are colic or have other health problems. My daughter was a PITA those first few months, and even if I had had someone to trust to keep her, I would have felt bad asking them to do so.

    • Jessifer

      But don’t you think it’s a bit sanctimonious to call someone a “slacker mom” just for leaving their child in someone’s care overnight, or on a short vacation. That’s precisely the kind of attitude the author is talking about in her article. Just because you don’t have the opportunity to have someone help watch your child doesn’t mean that other people shouldn’t, just like the fact that I can’t afford a house doesn’t mean I disparage anyone who does.

    • firsttimemom

      I don’t care that others do…I’m just not sympathetic to the whole, I think random posts on a blog about not wanting to leave their kids make me feel judged for leaving mine. Idk, this is just a little too woe is me for going on an awesome vacation sans kids. How dare others post in an unrelated way that they don’t want to leave their kids.

    • firsttimemom

      I wasn’t calling this particular author a slacker mom, I just get annoyed when either side of the spectrum is praised. Moms make different choices based on different situations. Who cares!

    • ChillMama

      I also don’t live near any family, and the thought of just kicking back and relaxing in my own house while my little one stayed with family? Honestly, that never occurred to me before, but now I am busy fantasizing about it! I love my little one SO much, but being away is also a great break for me.

  • guest

    I may not be a bad mom if I leave my 7 month old with her grandmother for a night, but I’ll definitely be a bad daughter. My kid is a horrendous sleeper. I don’t want to inflict her on my poor parents. Once she gets that whole sleeping-on-her-own thing down, I’m all for it.

    • Jessifer

      I felt that way when I took my grandmother up on her offer to watch my son for a few hours while I went shopping. I think she regretted it the minute he woke up from his nap, although she tried not to let it show. She just said “Gee, I forgot how exhausting it would be at my age to run after a crawling baby!”

    • The Kez

      Yes me too! I’d love a night off from my 8 month old, but I don’t think it is fair to her or my mum until she is sleeping better at night.

    • That_Darn_Kat

      When my daughter was 6 weeks old, my dad came into town and wanted to watch her for the night. I warned him she was a horrible sleeper (especially given her age). He insisted is was no big deal. Not sure how bad it was, but I gave plenty of warning, and he still insisted, so whatever, I enjoyed a night off (that wasn’t the first time she had an overnight, but that was the first time my dad had met her).

  • lpag

    I don’t leave them so young, not because of guilt but because of practicality. Kudos to you for keeping up with the pumping like that, I manage to keep up with each 8 hour workday, and that’s hard enough. So we don’t go away till baby is weaned, and i nurse till close to 2. But I see nothing wrong with it. Young babies don’t give a hoot who’s caring for them, so long as they’re cared for. A 2 year old IS old enough to know you’re gone and miss you, it’s harder in a way. But I agree it’s good for them to be separated from parents sometimes. It’s important to know how to cope.

  • SunnyD847

    We left our first daughter with my MIL for a weekend for the first time when she was 9 months. It was so amazing that we had our second daughter 9 months later :) Beware!

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL – babysitting causes pregnancy. ;)

  • SA

    I do it but I don’t like it. :) We did 3 one-nighters before she was one and the only night away I have had since she turned one was several weekends ago for a ladies night and she stayed with my husband. A big reason for me not wanting to is I work out of the home 40 hours a week, so weekdays are a big rush around to get everything done, usually involved with tantrums and tears and I feel like my weekends are the only time I can truly enjoy being with her. I think as she gets older it will be much easier because I can communicate with her better and not feel working-moms guilt all. the. time.

    It will probably be a while before I can handle more than one-night. I think she would do fine as long as she was with my parents (who she knows well), but I worry more about not being able to enjoy myself!! :) So I will just bide my time and be envious of all you moms on second-tropical-honeymoons! No judgment here – I think it is wonderful to feel relaxed enough to do it – hopefully I’ll be there soon myself!

  • Brittany Anne

    My wonderful in-laws live ten minutes from us, and we leave our almost-one-year-old with them every Sunday afternoon, and have since he was six weeks old or so. It’s *amazing*.

    Our anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and I would love to leave him for a long weekend, but he’s still not sleeping through the night, and I’m the only one who can put him back to sleep. (Seriously. And we’re trying desperately to fix it. I had my husband get up with him the other night and my son cried for two hours before we finally gave up.) I know my in-laws would take him, but I can’t in good conscience do that to them. I wouldn’t feel like a bad mom leaving him, but I would feel like a bad daughter-in-law. And it’s SO FRUSTRATING because, even though I love him to death, I would kill to spend a few days away from him.

    • Emil

      As long as you warn them ahead of time and they agree to it I wouldn’t see a problem with it. They have raised kids themselves and they can handle it. Who knows, maybe they can break the pattern of needing you to get back to sleep. I say go for it.

  • Sierra

    As a parent who works full time, I struggle with “going away for a weekend” because I already feel a tremendous amount of guilt for the huge amount of time I am already away from my baby. I even plan my weekend errands around her naps and bedtime (I will do a target run during her nap or hit the mall or go grocery shopping once she’s asleep for the night). My baby is nearly 1 and we haven’t ever left her overnight. I think the guilt is part of it. It’s not so much that I don’t trust the caregivers we have access to (I do), I just feel as though it’s not fair to literally spend just a handful of hours with my baby in a weeklong time period. If I was a SAHM, I would have no qualms about going on vacation even for a week…but with the time I’m already away, I just can’t forsee myself traveling without her…and TBH, i don’t really want to.

  • CW

    We don’t use unrelated babysitters for more than just an evening out, but I have no qualms about leaving my kids with relatives for a weekend getaway. We’ve never done longer than a weekend but I look forward to my kids being old enough for sleepaway camp (my two oldest are 8 and 11 so they are actually old enough now, but my little one isn’t yet since she’s only 5). DH still owes me a honeymoon (we had originally been planning to take it for our 10th anniversary but I was pregnant and didn’t feel up to traveling).

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      The first time I went to sleep away camp I was 7, but I was with people my parents knew and trusted (with my martial arts studio). Sleep away camp, at least in my opinion and from my experiences, is really great for kids. Five still is a little young, I agree, but only a few more years and she’ll be old enough, too.

  • Keneli

    Wow, this post is so timely! Recently my husband went on vacation without our kids and all his guy friends were like “Way to go, Slacker Dad!” and “Wow, you are so selfish going to pubs and golf courses without your kids!” Which was so bizarre because prior to that everytime he went into the office his male workmates were all “So what did you do last night? Stay home with your kids, you big weirdo!” and “Really? You take your children with you when you go tò restaurants? What’s wrong with you!”.

    Oh wait. Now that I think of it, none of his guy friends or male coworkers ever question (or, to be even more precise, care at all about) his parenting choices. My bad!!

  • darras

    Meh, whatever feels right for you and your family. Live and let live, that’s what I say! I couldn’t do it so early because I am a paranoid, over-attached wreck. Does this make me a bad mum? Hell no. Does it make you a bad mum for going on a cruise when you did? Hell no! Let it go, be happy :)

  • shadow guest

    Okay so riddle me this…one talented-at-writing Mommyish contributor (BR) can go on a vacation on a cruise with an infant at home and she is praised and relatable cause that’s what a mama deserves, while another clickbait-fiend Mommyish contributor (RE) goes on vacation to Mexico and gets told that she is a horrible person and that her infant will not form a bond like he (she?) should?
    I think a vacation is a GREAT idea for any parent who feels comfortable and in the echos of Miranda Hobbs, “I’m free!”, but why does one parent get high fives while the other gets slammed?

    • whiteroses

      Mainly because of RE’s attitude. BR is saying, “This is what I’m doing, and if you don’t do it then that’s cool, but you don’t need to feel bad if you want to do this thing as well. You’re not a bad mom because of it.”

      RE is saying, “This is what I’m doing. If you don’t like it you can go fuck yourself. But you still have to be nice to me, since I’m a fellow mom, and you’re just jealous because I’m rich enough to do this.”

      That sort of thing has a tendency to put people off, even if nobody really cares all that much in the first place.

    • http://nessyhart.wordpress.com/ pixie

      Actually, it’s more like: “This is what I’m fucking doing, fuckers. If you fucking don’t like it, you fuckers can go fuck yourselves” ;)

      But yes, it is DEFINITELY the attitude and the self-absorbedness and trying to make herself the victim constantly.

    • Psych Student

      I appreciate you’re noting this. The first thing I thought when I read the title was “I wonder how this would go over if it was RE”. The answer, was “not well”.

    • whiteroses

      Because RE wouldn’t have written it like this. It would have been a semi-coherent rambling interspersed with “fucks” and a completely unearned superiority complex.

      I actually used to defend her- but after I learned she quote-mined Mommyish comments for material for her newest book? Yeah, not anymore.

  • VA Teacher

    I kept my “niece” (best friend’s baby) overnight for the first time when she was about 3 months old and still keep her overnight at least every few weeks (she’s 10 months now). She wasn’t sleeping through the night, but I knew that and was fine with it. I love how willing her parents are to let me keep her. It’s never for any special reason, either. I’ll just call up and say “I want your child for the night” and it’s always “yes, sure, go for it!” There’s such a level of trust that’s there’s not a second thought. They get a night off and I get quality cuddle time. :)

    • Iwill Findu

      It’s wonderful that you’re willing and able to do that for your friend. I’m sure you’ll be a favorite Aunt as she gets older.

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

    When my son was about six months we went to a wedding overnight and my cousin and his fiancee looked after him. They’re doing it again for us in a couple weeks. If we had grandparents wanting overnights we’d do it more often than this.
    Other people’s neurosis need not change what you’re doing. I bet you’re coming back home relaxed and full of energy. That’s positive for everybody.

  • Clingy mom

    I know there are probably a lot of people who can’t relate to me on this, but I don’t like to be away from my children for very long. Yes, I like to take a break for a couple hours here and there, but I hate the thought of being away from them overnight. The only time I spent the night away from my now four-year-old was when I was in the hospital after having her younger brother. I have yet to be away from him at night, and dread being away from both of them when i give birth to my third child. Maybe I’m crazy, I don’t know. It has nothing to do with feeling like a bad mom, I just don’t like it. I know that I would probably have a harder time with it than they would, too.

  • C.J.

    I have never left my kids to go on a vacation but they leave me to go on a vacation with my parents every year. When they were small if we were going out they would stay the night at my parents or at one of my friend houses, it was just easier. We don’t go out that often so my parents often ask if they can have a sleepover for no reason. They enjoy the time with their grandparents and will have lots of great memories. The only thing that makes me sad is that they won’t get to have the same kind of memories with my in laws. My father in law passed away when they too young to remember and my mother in law is elderly and has Alzheimers.

  • rosahagari
  • Natalie

    OK, so help me out
    here. My four month old screams non stop when I get out for a few hours- even
    if it’s my husband watching her. I leave her with my mother or MIL for a couple
    hours, and by the time I get back they essentially throw her at me. She took a
    bottle(pumped) for about a month and life was good, but now we’re on the 5th
    model, and she just wont have it. I want to go back to work since we’re getting
    tight financially, but my husband’s reluctant since she’s so upset when I
    leave. Tips, tricks, advice??

  • fifi

    I must be a ‘bad mum’, the night I gave birth to my son I said I need my sleep, don’t wake me, let me sleep in. I expressed a little colostrum which they stored (like a ml or 2) and said feed him formula. I’m stuffed, I’m going to bed. Woke up 10 hrs later, feeling fantastic. So wrapped to bond with him and we started bf and everything with me relaxed, So he was relaxed. Best thing I did to start our lives together, have some well earned time apart. ..

  • practicallyperfectineveryway

    I wonder if the one whose MIL tried to book a hotel room had a husband who was going completely stir crazy. I feel like he might have been the one to tell the MIL that they needed time away. Maybe.