Parent Vacations without the Kids
Berkeley Parents Network >
Going Places >
Parent Vacations without the Kids
Hubby and I have a four year old. We have never been away from
him -- no weekend getaways or the like as I was not ready for
I am now ready to go away for two days with hubby but realized,
what does one do when you have no support network to watch your
My inlaws only speak another language (can't communicate to my
son) and are pretty much invalids. They also have massive
clutter -- only way you can negotiate their small home is
through predetermined paths. Not a good situtaion for an active
My parents have three kids still at home with one on house
arrest. I don't want my son exposed to all that drama -- heck,
I don't like that drama. And neither parent would dare leave to
watch my son at my place for fear a massive party would break
out at their place.
Who does that leave? All my friends (all two of them) have kids
themselves and that isn't fair to ask. And my single friends
are VERY single and don't even know how to interact with a
What should I do?
need mini-vaca with hubby!
i would find a good nanny who has references to watch them. i
actually have one who has taken care of my son for a year. she
has been a nanny for 7 years and has done several weekend trips
for her various families. she works with two other nannies who
are excellent and i trust them as well. i would leave my two
children with her on a weekend trip in a minute - no
reservations, except maybe the added cost to your vacation. let
me know if you want her info.
Head to an all inclusive resort. Take your son and drop him in
the kids camp all day... I'm sorry, but that sounds like the only
option. 14 years from now, you can take a real vacation...
Wow! You need a break! Congrats for taking the initiative!
Try Bay Area 2nd Mom. They have nannies for hire for
occasional, weekend, temporary or permanent jobs. We've used
them many times for sick kids or sick nanny replacement, and
I've always been extremely pleased. I haven't used them for
overnights but people do, and you can interview them and find
someone you like.
fan of weekends away
I hear you, sister -- we're pretty much in the same boat. But there is a
light at the end of the tunnel, because your 4-year-old will become
increasingly independent & social. Have you considered asking your friends
with kids to do some babysitting TRADES which could eventually lead to
Our daughter is 5 & she & her friends absolutely adore sleepovers. Of
course we only do this occasionally with close family friends who we trust
& know each other's children very well & for one night only. You & dear
hubby could start out with a nice dinner out & eventually be able to take
a mini-vacation at the Claremont, Benicia, or in San Francisco.
These sleepovers have worked out fabulously! One set of parents gets an
evening & morning to themselves while the hosting parents also get a bit
of a break because the kids entertain each other.
We've even discovered that we love hosting the sleepovers as much as we
enjoy having time off!
These sleepovers do require planning. We first take the kids to the park
to get their yayas out, set up activities for them while making dinner (&
a special treat for dessert), throw the kids in the tub for a bubble bath
(sometimes with bath tub paints or some special bath toys), help them
brush their teeth & get into their jammies, read a few books to them, &
let them stay up a little late & watch a movie. In the morning, we get
them washed up & dressed, let them help us make fruit pancakes & bacon, &
then take them to the park. When our daughter sleeps over at a friend's
house, we have her help pack up her stuff & also provide an information
sheet & copy of her health insurance card for the parents. Needless to
say, we keep the cell phone on!
We hope that these trades may eventually lead to entire weekends.
Finally getting a break!
You don't know us, but we are a happy family of three - mom, dad and a 2
1/2 year old son living in Pinole, and we could take your son for a couple
days. Dad stays at home during the day while mom goes out to work. We live
in a small house with a backyard, walking distance from a good-sized park.
We would probably need to borrow your booster seat for our car, but
otherwise I don't anticipate any problems. If you are interested in
meeting sometime - I'm sure the two boys would have fun together - please
email or call !
When our kids were younger, we did trades with other families-
they would take our kids for the weekend, and then we'd take
theirs another time so each couple could have time alone. I
think you should ask a good friend if they'd be interested-it
brought our families closer, and was a wonderful thing for my
husband and me.
Um, if you don't have someone that he's comfortable with to watch
him, then it seems to me that you can't go.
Seems simple, although frustrating.
Your one option might be to ask a friend to watch him for two
nights with the promise that you'll reciprocate. Make sure that
you cut the deal with the friend who has the fewest kids!
got first night without kid when he was 6
How about doing a trade with one of your friends -- you'll keep
their child a night and they can keep yours a night?
Need a break too!
I was the same way; believe it or not, we have 3 kids, the
oldest 7, and this spring was the first time we EVER went away
overnight without the kids! (It was worth the wait!) We had a
friend watch them--our age, not married yet, no kids. She was
wiped out, but did volunteer to do it. For you, I'd suggest
offering a swap with your friends who have kids. Talk it over,
and offer to care for their kid(s) for a night, if they'll do
the same for you. If this is just an impossibility, wait a
year. Make connections at your child's preschool if he goes.
Or...do you have single friends, or an aunt or uncle (your
siblings) who could come for a weekend and do you this huge
favor? I hope this works for you. You deserve it!
Berkeley mom of three
would it be possible to do a trade with one of your friends so
that you would then watch their kids for a similar amount of
time sometime in the future?
all parents need breaks
Is your son in preschool? You could ask one of his teachers if
they are willing to watch him (paid, of course). We have a
teacher at our preschool who babysits the kids all the time. Do
any of your friends have a trusted nanny that has watched their
kids for a long time? You could hire her.
Just some thoughts
Can you arrange with one of your friends to do a weekend
childcare swap? Or even just a one-nighter to San Francisco or
something? They might be willing to do it if you're offering the
same favor in return. Otherwise, you could go to a nice hotel
that has babysitting services.
Maybe you can try seeing if one of your friends with kids will
swap kids with you for a weekend. You watch your friend's kid
(s) for a weekend and she watches yours. We also don't have a
great support network but we have exchanged overnight sits with
another family. Its tough on the parents who are doing the sit
but well worth it if you get a weekend away later!
Or you can try going to a hotel that offers a kids club or
babysitting service. You can try the Cliffs in Pismo Beach.
They offer some kids activities. Or family camp with a daycare
program. Or bring a babysitter along with you to your hotel.
Pricey but perhaps worth it. Or if worse comes to worse, drop
your child off at the babysitter's house for an overnight.
Your kid will be fine.
Alone time with the spouse is very important no matter what it takes to
Just because your friends already have kids doesn't mean you
can't ask them. We have friends we do sleep over trades with.
Their kid comes over to our house one night and ours over to
theirs another. Gives everyone a break. I also like doing it as
gives me some free time -- my son will occupy himslef playing
w/ his friend instead of bugging me to play with him.
I know how you feel. We have 2 kids and would love (need) to
get away for a weekend. We have all of our families here and
quite a few friends with children. However, it would not work
out to leave our children with any of them for a weekend away
for various reasons. Honestly, I don't know very many people
that have that as an option either, unfortunately.
It sounds like you answered your own question: it does not
sound like you have anyone that you can comfortably leave your
child with for a weekend. Even if one of these people were
perectly willing to watch him, you probably wouldn't have a
relaxing weekend because you would worry about the situation
I think your only option is to find a babysitter and slowly
increase the time that you leave your son with this person.
Maybe the first weekend you could try 3 hours, next weekend an
8 hour day, then try one overnight, etc. This will probably
need to be a slow transition for him and you may need to ''shop
around'' for a caregiver that all of you click with. A great
babysitter/nanny is worth their weight in gold! Your son may
even see it as *his* vacation .... but that could take some
I can say though that one evening once a week, or every other,
can be just as rejuvinating as an entire weekend. We have found
that we prefer to go out every other Sat night and do something
very relaxing--hot tub & quite dinner, or whatever else does
not involve children. After those few hours away from the kids,
we feel like it has been an entire weekend!
Another option would be to splurge on going to a resort that
has a childcare facility, or child activities, and bringing
your son with you.
love time alone with the hubby too!
Why is it no fair to ask friends who have kids? If I were one
of those friends and you asked me, I'd say yes! With the
understaqndind you would watch mine at some later mutually
agreed date so we could go away too. Build your village - ask a
friend - they can always say no. But I'd say yes. Really, an
extra kid is not 2x the work - most times it is less work b/c
the kids entertain themselves.
Otherwise you hire a nanny and pay pay pay.
a yes mama
The short answer is, there are babysitting agencies that will
hook you up with someone, or you can contact someone through the
bnp childcare digest. But I hope that this is a wake-up call that
you need to expand/strenghten your support system. I don't think
you should be afraid to ask one of your friends if they can keep
your son for 2 days. Yes, it's a favor, but it's one you could
return for them one day. Does your son have any friends from
preschool that you could cultivate so that at least next time
that might be a possibility? Do you have a babysitter you
occasionally use for a few hours? Would one of the teachers from
preschool be interested in doing the job? It just seems to me
that unless your child is not in school and is with you 24 hours
a day, there must be some more people you know. Just remember to
offer to repay the favor and remember what they say, to make
people like you, having them do something *for* you works even
better than doing something for them. This is an opportunity to
strengthen your social ties.
I am a stay at home mom to 2 daughters, 1 and 3. We have no
childcare, and are not sending our kids to preschool, by choice.
They are both very social, confident, normal kids. Every time
my inlaws come to visit, there is tremendous pressure for my
husband and I to ''get away'' for a weekend, and leave the kids
home with Grandma & Grandpa. I don't want to do this.
The only time my older daughter has been away from me for more
than 4 hours is when I gave birth to the second one. She was
just 2 then, and was with my parents, whom she adores, but she
was an emotional wreck most of that 48 hours and was very tender
the next several days too. My mom says I was the same way as a
I feel very capable as a SAHM, and love every minute of it,
despite the lack of sleep and normal daily struggles that come
with taking care of 2 toddlers. How do I continue to say ''no
thanks'' to these people who feel insulted; they hint at ''you
don't trust us.'' My father in law is 74, hard of hearing,
doesn't see well, and has very little concept of parenting in
general; mother in law is younger and much more adept, but gets
exhausted babysitting; and the two of them bicker in front of the
kids, which I hate. They think our kids are too attached to me.
My husband is satisfied just going out to dinner or a long walk
with me when they visit; that's a treat enough for both of us.
Any advice greatly appreciated.
I Like Being With My Kids
It sounds like you are very content with your situation so I
would think that a simple ''no thank you'' would suffice. In some
cultures, your way is the norm and mothers are never separated
from their children. You may be perceived as a clingy mother who
is coddling her children by your in-laws but who cares. It's
really none of their business how you raise your children.
By the way, I wish I had this problem. I'm pretty burned out on
being with my kids and would love to have family members offer to
take over for awhile (especially grandparents) but we don't have
being with my kids and would love to have family members offer to
take over for awhile (especially grandparents) but we don't have
To "Like Being With My Kids" who has pressure from inlaws to go
out and leave kids with them:
I face the same thing, and I'm not comfortable with it because
mom in law has such different type/standards of care than me, and
because my 23 mo. Old is not comfortable with them. I tell them
she still needs me to go to sleep, but then I happily take a date
night with my husband after she has gone to sleep already, and my
inlaw is home to watch the fort. This allows her to feel
helpful, and gives me a break without the worry.
Different than Mom In Law
I feel the same way, except I know that mine stems from not
trusting people with my child due to my own anxiety. I just try
to be honest and tell people that leaving my child with
anyone except her caregivers at daycare (and a few select
others) gives me too much anxiety. A lot of people have
been very cool about it (my best friend even sat through
infant CPR to make me feel better).
Having people watch her at our house (or their house if they
have a child and I know its childproofed-- like other mom's
in my moms group) makes it much easier, too. I feel pretty
comfortable telling my mom that her house scares me
(stairs, unsecured bookshelves, detergents under the sink,
ant poison on the floor) and that I prefer that she not give my
child chokables (once I caught her giving my two-year old
those necco wafer candy hearts) and even though we get
into it (''I raised three kids and you all came out fine!'') in the
end she respects my wishes, but I rarely have her watch my
daughter. When people balk, I just say, its me, not you, so
don't feel bad. And I also say ''I appreciate that you want to
help me out''. That usually ends it.
It sounds like you already know that your kids are fine; and, that
your in laws' insistence and questioning is throwing you off of
what you know. As long as you're sure that you're not keeping your
kids away from child care out of trying to get your own needs met,
I don't see that there's a problem with how you are choosing to
raise your kids. I think that people of your in laws' generation
really don't get the whole attachment parenting idea, since
they've long since buried any unhappiness about not getting their
own needs met in that way. I'm sure it makes them very
uncomfortable to see you with your kids, interpreting it as
coddling or some similar idea. You'll know when they're ready.
Just be sure that you're giving your kids the signal that you
(mom) will be fine when they decide to be somewhere else. If they
sense that you have reservations or anxiety about it, they will
exhibit it. As for coping with your in laws, you can acknowledge
their concerns, and firmly and kindly state that you're all doing
fine. (If you really want to engage them - or, scare them off! -
you can ask them to elaborate on what it is they're worried about.
That may diffuse some of this.) It sounds like they're taking it
personally; and, while most of your choice has nothing to do with
them, it actually is personal! You instinctively know you don't
want to leave your kids with them for lengths of time. Good for
you for not overriding this just to make them happy. You may not
be able to stay true to yourself without offending them. Seems the
best route in this case is to accept they may take it this way,
and to communicate clearly and kindly what you need to, without
feeling obliged to elaborate. You don't owe them this. It reminds
me of what's required to set boundaries lovingly with our
You are doing a great job Mom. Imagine your in-laws are your
neighbors 2 doors down. Are these people you would want to
watch your children for long periods? Don't take their
pressure personally and remain clear about your parenting
style. This kind of pressure is fairly common for those of us
who are attachment parenting. You will definitely know when
your children and you are ready for a parent ''get away''. And
when you go on that get away you will feel at east and relaxed
knowing everyone is in the right hands. In the mean time thank
them for the 1, 2 or 3 hour period they give you and leave it
another attached parent
Your message raised a red flag for me. It sounds like your
children are way too dependent on you and have not learned how to
adapt to and accept other adults in their lives, especially the 3
year old. Sometimes it's very difficult for parents to imagine
leaving their children with other adults, but I think that it's
essential for children to figure out how best to deal with this
situation and you have not allowed them the opportunity to do
this. Your comment about how your 3 year old reacted when you
had your baby was really indicative of this.
My advice is that it would be best to start weaning your children
from you. It's in their best interest. Having them stay with
their grandparents is a great start, but then you might want to
hire a babysitter or have a friend watch them.
I also think that, because most children are in daycare or
nursery school, certainly by the age of 4, your children will be
at a real disadvantge, both socially and developmentally, if you
don't allow them to figure out how to best deal with other adults
and children. Please think about how your decisions are affecting
I can totally relate. My in laws have long stated that my
children are too attached. I have grappled with this for 8
years and I can't really seem to understand what they mean
. Maybe it is a generational thing. I am a SATHM of three
and I enjoy spending time with them. It is hard to continually
deny someone of something they desire (i.e overnights with
the kids) and not feel some guilt.But my kids DO NOT want
to do this. But you have to remember that only you know your
kids and only you really know what they can handle. Our
''job'' is to respect them and advocate for them. I am not
always sure that what I am doing is right. But I am sure that I
am thoughtful about my choices.
I appreciate the range of responses on this subject. I think
having some grandparent perspectives would be really
interesting too. I have to wonder if the grandparents saying
that you coddle your children aren't somehow trying to say they
want to be more involved with their grandchildren. If you are
meeting all of your child's needs, then they have a harder time
making a connection. Can you arrange another way that is
acceptable to you for your child/ren and their grandparents to
develop a relationship? Of course, if you don't approve of the
grandparents parenting skills or if you have trouble letting
go, you have to weigh the value of your kids being able to know
their grandparents (for better or worse) versus the ''harm'' that
may come from this relationship as well as the impact this has
on your relationship with your parents/in-laws. (I put harm in
quotations, because I certainly cannot judge what that might be
and whether, over the long term it is truly harmful or not.)
For us, both sets of grandparents live out of town and with a
child and some grandparents who are more introverted than
extroverted, it was harder for them to establish a
relationship. I had mixed feelings about how to be a go between
to support the relationships and the solutions were different
for different grandparents. Story reading, lunch together,
short trips and excursions to the park or the movies with
Grandma/Grandpa provided some very nice one-on-one time for
them. While my child was more clingey by nature, I also must
admit, that I felt anxious letting my child go and probably
reinforced my child's feeling clingey. Without ''pushing her out
the door'', I also felt it was important to support my child in
building (appropriate) self-reliance at 3/4/5 years old. Half-
day pre-school 3-4 days per week, short play dates that
gradually grew longer, encouraging her to ask for help from
other people, letting other people do things for/with her were
all important experiences for her self development. Some
grandparents can play that role well.
Ten years later, she is still more introverted than
extroverted, has many engaging friends, has relationships with
grand parents (some closer than others), is affectionate, has
times when she's very independent, and other times when she
needs to be with her parents and doesn't want anyone else
One grandfather died this winter and we went to the funeral.
Although they didn't have a close relationship, we had had
enough times together that she remembered him and was very sad
by his death. The funeral, in many ways, was a wonderful
experience -- the family drew together, supported each other,
it was ok to cry, we were all together. We watched Grandma be
sad and carry on. To me, here was the value of developing these
family relationships early on, although I didn't think about it
like that 10 years ago.
I'm having high anxiety about an upcoming trip in July that will
require me to leave my daughter here (who will then be 22 months)
for 9 days with my husband at home. She is not breast
feeding any more, and is used to being in day care 5 days/week
for ~6-7 hours/day.
Let me say that it is a trip of great bearing and a
once-in-a-lifetime thing -- a trek with my father and sister to a
remote town above the Canadian arctic circle to revisit a
community we once lived in when I was a child. So in addition to
the obvious adventure and eye-opening opportunities, it is an
important family (re)bonding time. If it were not for these
factors, I would not consider this trip. [I will note that it is
only possible to fly in and out of this town (from Ottowa) on
Wednesdays -- so our stay can't be shorter than 1 week -- and
then there's a day of travel to and from SF to Ottowa.]
However, I have my new family now. My husband, who sweetly (and
courageously) has agreed to hold down the fort and be a single
dad for those nine days, has fully bonded with our daughter and
they have a solid relationship. That being said, like most
parents, we have our areas in which we disagree about how to do
things, and my general impression is that he is less nurturing to
her than I am, and more authoritarian. So I worry about the shift
for her (since I am the primary caretaker), and I wonder what
this will do to my daughter's heart and mind, and my relationship
with her. I'd really like to hear your opinions on this. I've
never before been away from her overnight...
I calm myself by remembering that we have many capable people in
my husband's extended family that we can call on for help during
this time. My question here is how can we best ask these people
to help us -- overnights? weekend day-long visits? delivered
meals? anything creative....?
conflicted, anxious, excited
Two things strike me about this situation:
1) you are leaving her with her father, who has a ''solid''
relationship with her
2) it's only 9 days, not 9 months!
You are stressing about this because YOU will miss HER. Do not
mistake your stress about this for concern that she will be
traumatized for life because you were away for a week.
I empathize with the dilemma about travel away from baby and
partner. My situation was a little different because I had to
travel for work and had no choice, so yours may in fact be a
more difficult decision. In any event, I had to be away for 10
days several weeks after my son turned 2. He was just barely
weaned and also had a solid and bonded relationship with his
dad, who had been primary caretaker for most of first year. My
mom came and stayed for the first few days that I was gone, and
my sister-in-law came for a few days too, which was a help. The
hardest part about that help tho was that my son then had to say
goodbye to them as well as to me. My son also got sick a few
days before my return, so the last few days for them, husband
especially, were tough. Now (one and a half years later) I don't
think my son remembers it at all. I had a few teary breakdowns
while away, but ultimately, it was fine and in your situation, I
have to say I'd be inclined to go.
Dear Conflicted and Anxious,
Wow, does this sound familiar. I had the chance to take a 6 day
trip to New York for a family reunion, and the cost of my husband
& child coming along wasn't feasible. After much agonizing,
especially since my husband & 3 yo daughter weren't 100% bonded,
I decided to take the trip and am SO glad I did. I actually found
myself packing to leave NY while wishing I could stay longer.
Keep in mind that I'm very into being a SAHM mom, had never spent
more than 5 hours away from her, co-sleep with her, and adore
spending time with my child.
Now, as for your specific questions, my H ( who can also be a
little less patient and more authoritarian than I) did what you
are suggesting. He broke up my absence with trips to
grandparents' houses, visits to the zoo, etc. While no one
brought food, it sounds like a good idea. Our idea was to get her
out of the house as much as possible, instead of having visitors,
so she would be occupied instead of moping around looking for me.
Then we had exciting distractions to talk about during my daily
call instead of just 'when are you coming back?'. Another ploy I
used out of desperation toward the end was to explain that I was
looking for the perfect toy for her and didn't want to come back
until I had found it. I knew of a specific doll she'd been
wanting, which I'd been saying no to, and made sure to bring one
home in my luggage.
You'll really be so glad that you went on the trip. It helped me
remember who I was before I became a mom, and I'm really doing a
lot better parenting job now because of it. Also, it's important
for your daughter to develop a strong relationship of trust with
her father. I'm sure you've heard of all those studies connecting
a strong paternal bond with increased math scores and self
confidence in girls, especially in the teenage years. It's good
for her to know you're not the sole source of comfort and love
for her, and that while Daddy does things differently, it's still
Been there and enjoyed it
We have been planning a two week vacation to Europe with my in-
laws for the past year. We had always planned to take our 18
month old son but recently my parents (who live out of state)
have offered to fly out pick him up and take him back with them
for the two weeks. The possibility of a different type of
vacation where we won't have to cater to naps etc. is
intriguing. My question is: If you've done this before how
was it for you being away and how did your child do without you
for that period of time. I'm struggling between figuring out if
I am the one who will have a hard time being away from him for
so long or if it may be a hardship on him. He now typically
sees my parents about once every 3 months and he recognizes them
by pictures. Thanks!
I just returned from a two week trip in Europe with my husband and my
in-laws. I left my children (5 yr and 26 mos) with my parents, who, as
yours, do not spend regular time with my children but my children know
I did miss my children a bit, but I realize how different the trip would have
been if we would have brought them along. I was able to go to museums
and spend as much time as I wanted in front of a painting, or go for late
dinners in nice restaurants, or take afternoon walks without worrying
about naps, or children being tired. Those were places that I had
dreamed of visiting for years, and I was happy that I was able to
immerse myself in the experience without having to pay attention to
anything else. In addition, I provided my parents and my children with a
wonderful bonding experience. They had as much fun as I did, and they
did not miss us a bit. Overall, a win-win situation. If I had gone only with
my husband, it would have been different, because we could have
planned a child-oriented vacation. But given that my in-laws were
coming with us, I did not feel much like subjecting them to childrenB+s
activities during their precious trip to Europe. So if your parents have
offered, I would say go for it. I bet that everyone will have a great time.
Don't do it!!! If your 19 month old had a consistent
relationship with these grandparents, I would say no problem.
I have heard that this age can be seriously affected by a long
separation from parents. I know it is tempting, trust me, yet
there may be a price to pay on the other side. I don't mean to
sound so dramatic, but they really are young only once and you
can take your little one with you and know that your trip will
be at a different pace, etc. or you can skip the trip and wait
till your child is older. I went to Europe with our 18 month
old. If I had to do it over I would have brought a grandparent
or found babysitting while I was there.
have travelled with 18month old
I have an 18 month old son, who shares childcare with a 2 year
old boy. Recently this boy's mother went on a 3 week trip
abroad (she's been gone about a week and a half now), and I
have really noticed a change in him! This was surprising to
me, because he only lives part time with her, and has two
parents in his other house. Every time I see him now (and I
mean every time), we inevitably hear or see a plane fly
overhead and he tells me, ''my mommy's on a plane''. He asks the
nanny, ''is my mommy going to pick me up today?'' and asks me
where I'm going when I leave my son, and if I'm coming back to
pick him up. I have been really moved by this, and a little
haunted by his image of his mother constantly on a plane, never
able to land to see him or pick him up.
He seems to be doing pretty well behaviorally, although he
often seems forlorn, and I imagine my 18 month old in the same
situation and I just can't imagine how long long long 2 weeks
would seem to him, and he would understand the separation even
less. I think that a few days away at this age would probably
be fine, but 2 weeks is such a long time for a little one! And
18 months to 2 years is just when they're getting to be more
anxious about separations...
Good luck whatever you decide!
We just returned from a 3 week trip to Vietnam with our 16 month
old. Overall, it was fabulous. Yes, we had to take turns chasing
him around in some non-baby proofed areas and yes, it would have
been nice to have someone with us to watch him occasionally. But
I think outside the U.S., and especially where we were, people
adored kids. We felt very supported. We went out on dates many
times - just hired local babysitters. We put him in our backpack
and carried him all over. All of the sounds and sites kept him
occupied or he slept. Unless it was convenient, we didn't change
our plans for his naps. We took him to plenty of museums,
temples, etc. He just napped in the backpack. We had very low
expectations for how hard it was going to be, so we didn't have
a full itinerary, which was good for all of us.
I would like to travel alone to visit my sister across the
country but have not yet spent a night away from my now 21
month old. My daughter is fairly independent, has been in a
nanny share, but seems so attached to me, especially at
night, that I don't want to do any damage by leaving at what
could be the wrong time in her life to do so. If you have
tips/tricks for making this easier, or recommend against it,
please let me know.
Toddlers are amazingly resistant. Just make sure she's staying
with someone she likes and trusts, and she'll be fine.
My toddler is also very attached to me as well, we'd barely spent
any time apart, but she's adjusted to the little time we did
spend apart very well.
Through my husbands job we are invited on a three day all
expenses payed vacation to Beaver Creek, CO. It includes free
ski lessons/tickets, meals, massages, etc. and is something that
we would never be able to afford on our own. Our baby will be 6
months old when the trip is being offered and even if I will
emotionally be able to leave him I am not sure if that is too
young of an age to leave a baby for that long. Developmentally
is he too young for that long of a seperation from my husband
and I? We would be leaving him with my parents who he is very
familiar with. Thanks for your advice!
Your baby will be absolutely fine. It is only three days and the baby will
be with familiar people that love him. If you're like me, you're the one that
will have a hard time! :) Are you still breastfeeding? I found that when I
was breast-feeding, my body actually ''longed'' for my baby. Even if that
were the case, I would imagine that this is very important to your
husband. It is important to nuture your marriage with all the craziness of
a new baby. Go and have a great time!
In my opinion that's a terrible time to leave your baby
overnight, let alone for 3 days. If it were me, I wouldn't be
able to enjoy the trip for worrying about my baby's separation
anxiety, his grandparents letting him cry, whether I'd managed
to pump enough milk to leave (not to mention all the time and
hassle involved in pumping while I was on the trip), and on and
on, plus I would just miss him terribly. But I know other
parents don't feel that way and have successfully left their
young kids with grandparents for a week with no apparent
problems, so it's sort of a personality/parenting style thing I
My recommendation is to plan on taking the baby with you.
Babies that age usually travel fairly well (though not quite so
easily as a 3-4 month old) and cheaply. All you'd really have
to pay for is the third (half price) plane ticket, since a 6-
month-old needs very little in the way of bed and meals, and you
and your husband would have to take turns on the slopes. I
think all concerned would enjoy the weekend a whole lot more.
hi--i think that you should go!! your child won't remember your
absence (at all, i should think) and you and your spouse will be
all the happier for it for such a great vacation (i think i'm a
bit jealous :) ). i'd be worried if you were concerned about
the childcare your kid would get, but it sounds like the
grandparents are just fine! i'd say have fun and treasure the
little time alone together!
Go for it!
When both my kids were little, the really intense separation
anxiety set in around 8 or 9 months, so I think 6 months would be
the ideal time to take a much-needed respite.
Your baby will be fine with his/her grandparents and you'll be
glad you took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I think it's important for moms to recharge their batteries and
enjoy themselves occasionally. Plus it will do wonders for your
-East Bay mom with two
Please go!! Six month old babies are usually pretty laidback
and flexible (a ''golden'' age) and given that the baby is
comfortable with your parents and their home is so lucky for
you. Babies sense of time is not like ours and night/day isn't
really distinguished by the pattern of sleeping and being awake
like for us. I'm sure your baby is quite used to being fed,
held, helped to go sleep, and being entertained by your parents.
For 3 days, your baby isn't going to forget you!! AND parents
deserve breaks and a chance to rekindle themselves as a couple.
Going when the baby is 6 months is ALOT easier than leaving a
Go to Beaver Creek!!! I used to be a ski instructor there for 4
years and it sounds like this is a great opportunity for you and
On the more serious note of leaving your beloved 6 month old, I
left my son (my first born) with my mother in Philadelphia while
I was on business in NYC and my husband joined me for the
weekend. Although it was liberating to be on my own again and
spend time alone with my husband, I missed my son terribly and
wondered if I did the right thing. My advice is that there may
be a bit of some anxiety when you return- my son did not really
know my mother, coupled with the stage of stranger anxiety. I
noticed when I returned he was more clingy to me and cried
whenever I left the room.
It sounds like your son knows your parents well so it might not
be as much of an issue. I am not sure if you are still nursing
but this was also challange for us since my son would nurse at
night and being separated from each other affected both of us (I
had to pump more frequently in the middle of the night. At the
time we were also on our way to having him sleep in his crib but
when we came home, we all wanted to be together more often so we
continued the co-sleeping arrangement.
One thing that helped is that my husband and I made a video of
each other for our son to watch while we were away and according
to my mom, it seemed to help out a lot (or at least he seemed
I think it is more us as parents who are affected by the
separation than the babies (although I do strongly feel that
they know when we are away too. My advice is as long as you feel
that your son is in the best care (with your parents), this is
an opportunity for your parents to bond with him while you and
your husband get away for a well deserved break (and all
expensespaid in BC for that matter). Enjoy yourselves, sounds
like your son is going to be in the best of care. I think it is
good for all of you.
No, he's not too young. 3 days isn't very long and he won't
even remember it a month from now. Go and have a great time
because it only gets harder to get away!
Ultimatly this is a decision only you can make, but I just
went through a similar situation with my 9 1/2 month old,
except it was only for a weekend, and I decided NOT to do
it. I brough the baby along, and used a baby sitter through
the hotel. I pumped for 2 feeds, then nursed the baby for the
next, this way I had a nice break from the baby, but could
still snuggle up and nurse at the end of the day.
And honestly if I had left the baby at home, I would have
been very uncomfortable, possibly even got a plugged duct,
the pump just doesn't do the same job of emptying breasts
as the real thing, and it made my nipples sore. I would have
been miserable pumping around the clock (but some women,
especially those who pump at work might not have this
Sometimes I hate this aspect of breastfeeding (not being
able to leave), but on the other hand I think it is how nature
intended it, for the mother to never be more than a couple
feeds away from the baby.
Also it can prematurly wean your baby, maybe you have
already quit, or were bottle feeding, but for me I decided I
wanted to reach my goal of a year, and that a weekend away
was not worth cutting breastfeeding short.
But if I wasn't breastfeeding I think my biggest reason to not
go if I were in your shoes, would just be the amount of work
caring for a six month old is, and if my parents were biting
off more than they could chew. You don't want them to shy
away from future weekend get aways, because the first one
was so hard.
But if I wasn't nursing I think I probably would have gone,
really the choice is one only you can make.
Good Luck whatever you choose.
Go. In another 6 months it will be much harder, you'll see.
Your baby's age right now is the perfect time for you to do it.
Mom 0f 3
I have a 20-month-old son who is very attached to me. My
husband is from Spain, goes there every year and spends 3 to 4
weeks with his parents. We have taken our son to Spain twice
already (in June and December of 2001), but I cannot go this
summer. We are wondering (a) whether our son is ready to go
with his dad only and be separated from me for 3 weeks or so;
and (b) what impact this separation will have on our son and his
relationship with me. Anyone with similar experience?
Undecided and concerned mom
I don't have direct experience except for leaving our now 33
month old, very attached, very confident, outgoing daughter only
on two occasions overnight. Once she stayed with her nanny at
our house overnight when she was 18 months and once with our 35
yr old neice overnight at 30 months. She knows and loves these
people very well! I think it took her a day or two after our
return for her to feel back to normal. She was clingy and
regressed a bit. It was fine in the end and probably sort of
good for her but I'd hate to put her through that for an
extended period of time like 3 weeks! Your son will be with his
dad but everyone else and everything else will be new and
unfamiliar!! Trips like that can be scary for adults. For what
My husband took our then 14 months old son overseas to spend 2
weeks in Germany with one set of grandparents and 2 weeks in
Egypt with the other (my American in-laws are in Cairo on a long
work assignment). Since I am pregnant again, I was not able to
Has your husband taken care of your son around the clock before,
or are there any baby rituals (bedtime, bath time etc.) that
normally only mommy does? If so, it might be advisable to let
your husband take over these things for a while well before the
trip, so that your son accepts it when daddy does them.
Before my husband and son left, I recorded the baby's favorite
lullaby onto my husband's PDA, and while they were gone, we
talked on the phone every couple of days. The first few days the
little guy frequently asked for mommy, but less so as time went
by. The trip was a lot of new impressions for him, and being in
an unfamiliar environment and surrounded by people he did not
know or did not remember, he became quite clingy and did not
leave his daddy out of sight. As long as daddy was in the same
room, he was OK, but leaving him even for a few hours with his
grandparents, aunts or cousins was next to impossible.
When my husband and son came back, the baby treated mommy almost
like a stranger. He clearly recognized me, but wanted to be
picked up or comforted only by his daddy. It took almost a month
before our relationship returned to normal.
We would still do this again. Maintaining contact between our
child and our families is important to us, and since they cannot
all fly out to visit us, we are planning to take our kid to see
them at least once a year.
If I were you, I would not deprive your in-laws of the joy of
seeing their grandchild, and your son of the chance to get
exposure to the world where his father is from. Kids are
amazingly adaptable, and the separation might be harder on you
than it is on your son.
We are considering taking a 5 day trip to Hawaii this summer
without our 2 kids (4 yrs and 2 yrs old). They would be in
wonderful care at our home. I'm having mixed feelings about going
and would love to hear from other people who have gone or decided
not to. I'm worried about leaving them for so long - we've never
left them for even a night. (There's also post 9/11 flight fear!)
The 4 yr old will be fine, but 2 seems so young to leave for 5
days. He also still nurses and I'm afraid of abruptly weening
him. Is it possible he would continue nursing after I return?
Thanks for your thoughts!
About a year and a half ago, my husband and I went to London
while my kids were about 2.5 and 4.5. I had to wean my son
before we went, as I did not want it to be a last minute thing
before we took off for 9 days, and I was worried about how he
would take it. However, I had been planning to do it soon
anyway, and it turned out to be much easier than I thought it
would be. I was also anxious about how they (and I!) would do
with do many days apart, but that also actually turned out to
be much easier than I thought it would be. I knew they were in
good hands, and perhaps being so far away and removed from the
day-to-day of caring for the kids made it easier to go about
having fun on the trip. Looking back, I am glad I went. I now
look back on that trip as a real high point in my life (who
knows when we will get to do something like that again?), and
was good for me and my husband. So if you possibly can, I
would recommend you take advantage of the opportunity and go!
My wife and I try to take a vacation away from the kids about
once a year. As long as the kids are in good hands (grandparents
for us), we go and have a great time and get to know each other
again as adults. It's a really great break from the daily
events with little kids. We of course call and talk to the kids
every other day or so, but they enjoy being with their
grandparents and seem to have a good time with the change of pace
for them too. I personally think it's good for them to spend
time with other loving adults, experience different things, and I
know it's good for my wife and I to get away and remember the
couple we used to be! :)
Can't help you with the breastfeeding question though as ours
were weaned by the time we traveled.
Our kids were 4 and 2 when we left them (for the first time)
while we took a trip to Central America. It was tough for me
(especially if I sunk into wondering what would become of
them if 'disaster du jour' hit), but bottom line: I'm glad we
went. We had a lot of fun, the trip was good for our
marriage, and the kids had a great time (with grandparents
anxious to dote on them). I highly recommend internet
cafes. We emailed the kids each day and got detailed
emails in return about their daily activities.
I recommend you go. Have much fun. The kids will be fine.
We went on our first vacations without kid(s)when each was about 3. Our
criteria was old enough to understand the concept of "Mommy and Daddy are
going on a grown up vacation, but we'll be back." We also made sure that
our kid(s) routine wasn't disturbed. With our first child, we arranged for
him stay with his family daycare provider for 5 days. He'd stayed overnite
once or twice before with her. He was VERY comfortable with the arrangement
and in fact when we called to speak to him, he was "too busy" to come to the
phone when she told him it was us calling!!! Similarily with our 2nd child,
but this time my sister came out (she'd visited a couple of times before)
and stayed at our house. The kids went to preschool/daycamp every day just
like Mommy and Dadddy were home. They were SERIOUSLY spoiled by my sister
and when we came back wanted to know when Auntie Lynn was coming back to
stay with them again!!
I guess my point is that while I think 2 is a bit young, the fact that he is
with his older sibling makes a big difference (I wouldn't have felt
comfortable with my child at 6 flying across country to vist grandparents by
himself even non-stop, but knew he wouldn't "worry" flying with his 10 year
old brother). Also if his schedule is going to be the same as if you were
there (ie. still in your house and doing the same routines with folks he's
comfortable with) I think that makes a difference too. AND if you've
"prepped" him by going on overnighters so he has an understanding of
what"we'll be back" means that's important too (time is relative for young
children, I'm not sure that many kids at 2 or 3 really distinguish between a
couple of days and 5). Hearing your voice by phone can also be reassuring
BUT I with great difficulty based upon my caregivers advice, checked in with
HER that nite (she told him that we had called but that he was already
asleep, which was true) but didn't talk to my child until the 2nd nite.
Also, you know your own kid and probably have an instinctive notion of how
he'd handle the situation. I've felt that a child doesn't have to "like it"
(though mine tend to see our vacations as vacations for themselves -
particularly when staying with auntie or grandparents!)but must be be able
to "handle it".
At any rate, I deeply believe that its VERY important for couples to spend
some time together WITHOUT the kids to reconnect/maintain the connection
between themselves. And, as long as your kids are basically secure - no
serious home drama/dysfunction going on - a few days absence isn't going to
cause them harm (but I HIGHLY recommend doing a "test" overnighter first
particularly given the rather young age of your 2 year old).
Seem like others have commented on the going away part but there
hasn't been much on breastfeeding. You do not need to ween if
your gone for that length of time. I was gone for a bit longer
when both of my kids were that age and when I got back we started
nursing same as always. You might feel a bit engorged on the
trip for two or three days and then it will go away. Don't worry
there is still milk there. Good luck.
So far nobody has addressed the weaning issue, so I thought I'd
chime in. When my daughter was almost 2 I was at a conference in
Europe for a week. She did just fine without nursing while I was
gone, and when I returned she was very happy to pick up where
she had left off. My milk supply was basically gone, but she
didn't mind a bit, and continued to nurse for comfort only until
we weaned 3 months later.
If you are ready to wean, this would be a good time to do it.
But if not, taking this trip doesn't mean you have to stop
nursing, so enjoy.
this page was last updated: Nov 6, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network