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Vacation without the kids

A friend of mine is getting married today, in a couple of hours, in fact. The question–  to bring the kids or not to bring them?

The wedding wasn’t the issue.  Both the groom and bride said it’s a child-friendly wedding and they expect lots of kids to be there.

It’s getting there.

The wedding is in San Diego, California.  We live on the East Coast.

Our daughter is 19-months old and our son is 4-years old. Traveling with a preschooler is not a big deal. He’s old enough to know that he needs to be in his seatbelt on the plane, old enough where a movie on the iPad can occupy him and old enough not to spill his drink on the person sitting next to him.

But our daughter is a toddler. When my son was the same age we took a few trips by airplane. Not fun.   I’ve been pooped on, thrown up on, had juiced spilled on me and had an unhappy child wailing for hours – all a plane.

So when this trip came up my husband and I debated whether to bring the kids.

My vote was yes.  His vote was no.

Despite having the memory of those disaster trips seared in my memory, I still wanted to take our children on the trip. Why?  Because I miss them.  I work full-time and time with them is very precious.

My son has also learned the days of the week.  He knows Saturday and Sunday are the days when Mommy and Daddy don’t have to work.   So being away on those days – feels just, well, wrong.

My husband has a different take:  The kids will be fine. They’re with a trusted member of our family.  They won’t have to deal with jet lag, time differences and interrupted naps.    But his strongest argument to me was “You need time away and we need more time alone together.”

As a working parent, there is very little down time.  It’s a cycle of kids, work, kids, chores, errands, kids, more work, bedtime.  Repeat.

It’s something all parents of young kids can relate to- the days of feeling guilty anyway you slice it.  I spend time apart from the kids working, I feel guilty.  I’m not putting enough hours in at my job, I feel guilty.  I neglect my friendships, I feel guilty.  And the absolute worse guilt- I take time for myself- I feel big time guilt.

Intuitively, I know everybody needs a break at some point. But it’s still hard being away.

In the end, we decided to take the 3-day vacation without the children.

I’m amazed at how two polar opposite emotions can exist in the same space at the same time- sadness from not being with my kids and euphoria because I’m not with my kids.

I’ve been able to read a book, sit by the pool, go for a run with my husband and go window shopping hand in hand with my husband.

I’m reluctant to say he was right.  This is good for us.  I still miss my children. But I’m realizing sometimes it’s okay to just give yourself a little break.

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Category: Travel and Vacation

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