Why You Can and SHOULD Take a Kid-Free Vacation

kid-free vacation

The last kid-free vacation my husband 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.

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.

Proof of our kid-free adventure.

{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, couldn’t you just find a sitter?” and “seriously, can’t you be away from them for one second?” 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, and putting on her own coat and shoes 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, there 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!

Standard “gaze out into the ocean” picture.

Tips for making the 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.
  3. Gather all important documents and phone numbers in one, easily accessible place: 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 (if applicable): Pretty sure this is self-explanatory.
  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 get back, 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.

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