My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. After being together for almost 20 years, we have taken our fair share of vacations together. I say vacations because these are real vacations, not a trip with the kids!
We both love traveling and as our boys are getting older and more independent, we have tried to plan smaller getaways together just to reconnect. A lot of my friends always comment on how we are always getting away without the kids and ask how we do it. Here are some of my tips for sneaking away without the kids.
Step One: Childcare
This one is obvious unless you are ready to get arrested for leaving the kids alone all weekend! Without family close by, my husband and I have always had to use babysitters for date nights or getaways. We have had many babysitters, but over the years we have created close relationships with a select few who have become more like family. These are people we trust and who we feel confident will not only take care of our boys, but also keep them busy and entertained.
Our babysitter has stayed with our children for extended weekends and when we return, our kids are always sad to see her go. Finding someone you trust, but also someone who you’re kids love, is key to feeling comfortable leaving those little stinkers for the weekend. FYI – most of our babysitters come straight from our son’s daycare program. This way, they are already vetted and have experience and good references. I would highly recommend asking around at your local daycare to find qualified babysitters.
Step Two: Keep in Touch
Thank God for Facetime! Just when I am really starting to miss my boys or want to give them a kiss before bedtime, I can use my phone to video chat with them and get the scoop on their day. With text messaging, pictures, videos and Facetime, it’s almost like we are there with our kids even when we aren’t. This has been a key to making us feel comfortable leaving our kids behind. Don’t be shy about asking your babysitter or family member to send you pictures and updates throughout your time away. It’ll make you feel better knowing what your kids are up to and that they are ok. But more importantly, it allows you to have a better time relaxing while gone.
Step Three: Plan Ahead
I am kind of a control freak (as my husband nods his head!). Before I leave for a weekend getaway I make sure to write notes with the boy’s schedule, important phone numbers, tips and tricks to keep them busy and entertained, and other little reminders. I have been told that this is extremely helpful from the babysitters themselves, but it also sets my mind at ease that I have covered all of my bases. I also make sure to let my friends close by know that we are going away in the event that I may need some mommy friends to step in and help out. This has never been needed, but again – always be prepared!
Finally, I stock the fridge and pantry with foods my babysitter likes as well as little treats for my kids to have throughout the weekend as special surprises. We also leave a few extra bucks for our babysitter to take the boys on special ice cream trips or jump time at the trampoline place. This way, our boys are having just as much fun when we are away than they would if we were there (probably more!).
Step Four: Just Do It!
Plan something fun, go somewhere tropical, have a few drinks…just do it! Getting away even for a night or two will make you feel like yourself again. It will reconnect you with your spouse and also with yourself. We deserve some time off and even if its a night off in the town you live in, or a quick getaway into the city, just do it! You won’t regret having the time to sleep in and talk to your significant other without interruptions. Trust me, your kids will not be scarred from your absence. In the end, you will be happier, calmer and ready to take on all of the mom duties once again.
I know it is hard to leave your kids, especially for multiple days. It took me a while to get comfortable with it and I still stress over it right before we leave. But it is also important to nurture your relationship with your significant other and your friends. You will not be sorry when you return from a weekend away and are so happy to see your kids and know that leaving them was just fine and that you all survived!