It’s Harder Than You Might Think
So, we decided that we were going to take a vacation this year, just us adults. That means leaving the children behind and striking out on our own. It sounds like a dream, right? And in theory it is, but that dream becomes a hard reality – and it might be more nightmare than anything else when you consider the prospect of leaving your kids with loved ones and being away from them for a week or two. (OR it could be the dream you hoped).
First things first… you will feel guilty about leaving them behind, but you don’t need to. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, besides a trip away with each other is the perfect way to hit the reset button and just reconnect with your partner. And if your children are older, it could even be a good thing for the kids to see all of the things that their parents do for them (might help them appreciate you a bit more when you get back and they realise how good they actually have it!).
Besides, they’ll be having a blast getting spoiled for their relatives and they’ll barely notice you’re gone. That being said, there are a few tips you should know about before you head off into the sunset.
The Legal Stuff
Okay, so no one wants to think about this type of thing, but you will feel a lot better away from your children if you know you’ve taken care of the legal stuff. So, make sure you have life insurance, take care of your will, and you should have a long-term guardian plan in place too. You should also let the executor of your will know where they can find all of the necessary documents and your travel dates.
You should also have a medical release form in place to allow the caregivers to make medical decisions for your kids in an emergency. If the caregivers aren’t the guardians then provide them with temporary guardianship so they can act on your children’s behalf if necessary.
It isn’t nice to think about, okay, but you’ve protected your children in the event of tragedy and can peel away some of those anxiety layers that you’ve been shrouded in.
Prepare Relevant Information
Help your caregivers out by including all of the information they might ever need in a detailed packet. So, you may want to include the children’s documents, food preferences and allergies, ideas for activities and outings, their typical routine and schedule, contact information for the doctor, dentist, and your travel itinerary.
You may want to ensure your children also have pieces of home with them so they don’t get too homesick without you. Whether it’s their favourite stuffed toy, a blanket, or even your pillow! Even better if you plan ahead and order some of their favourite snacks and things online and have them delivered to the home they’ll be staying in.
Keep Your Kids Informed
The older your kids are the easier it is for them to understand what is happening, but if you have little ones it can be distressing for them to be away from you.
The wisest approach might be to talk about the adventure they will be having without you, rather than focus on the fact that you are going away and leaving them behind. Their sense of time is also different, so you can place the emphasis on their adventure being as long as they need it to be to have the maximum amount of fun.
Items of Comfort
Consider providing them with a sticker chart that countdowns the days till you are reunited. You can also pre-record story time for your kids to access.
You may have pre-arranged times to video chat, but kids really like the comfort of knowing they can access you whenever they like so taking advantage of YouTube or Vimeo is a great way to provide them comfort.
If you have younger children or babies, make sure you put their favourite toys in their bags, and you might even consider putting one of your recently worn (unwashed) shirts or jumpers in as well – that way it can go in their bed with them at night and they will be able to smell you, which will help them to feel a little closer to you.
The truth is that the best way for you to survive a trip away without your kids is by making sure you’ve thought of everything for them, that way you can relax and enjoy your time away. The less you have to worry about them, the more you’re going to enjoy yourself – without a doubt.
You will end up talking about them, but you should feel comfortable letting loose and enjoying your time. Give them a call whenever you want, don’t be afraid to send text messages to check up on them – or you might find it easier to just have a little bit of clean break, particularly if it’s your first time away and you’re only going for a weekend – sometimes calling them can make things worse (at least that was the case with my 2 year old when I went away recently for 2 nights for work).
The most important thing is that you don’t feel guilty and you take the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. Everyone needs a break, and every couple needs time together away from the kids. Allow yourself to have it and things will be much easier when you return home.