Disclosure – this is a collaborative post
It can often be the case that as parents, we feel absolutely terrified to leave our children at all. Of course, on top of that, we wonder why we’d even want to leave our children in the first place. Perhaps the term ‘want to’ is incorrect here. It might be that we’ve felt inclinations of heading somewhere nice, just you and the partner, but you don’t want to feel like an awful parent for going somewhere comfortable and experiencing a small holiday yourself.
But is it indulgent? It’s a hard question to answer. Of course, this hardly signifies how adept you are as a parent, but it’s not uncommon for us to feel just a little icky when we consider this possibility in the first instance. But it’s a worthwhile question to ask. Like most things in life, a degree of nuance can be placed upon whatever answer you find, and a justification can be found for any answer.
Let us consider this question, and potentially come to the most rational answer we can:
Of course, while we’re not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, sometimes it can feel more appropriate to have a true purpose for traveling alone. Perhaps you want to visit your family after a loss in the family, and do not wish to expose your children to that energy just yet. Perhaps there’s a potential for a new career in a new country, and you want to check the place out following a relatively successful first interview. Maybe you wish to head abroad to something truly life changing, such as choosing one of the Grand Canyon tours to experience for a 45th birthday. Of course, perhaps your vacation needn’t have such an overriding purpose, but it can surely help you feel a little less guilty taking this vacation, and is more understandable as to why your children might not be able to come.
Of course, none of this can continue even a second past the first thought if you cannot arrange competent care. We’re not simply talking about paying a babysitter to live with your children for a week. They need to be with family, or a great friend of the family, one your children are deeply comfortable with. They need to have previous experience of looking after children, also. It might be that your brother is willing to take them, but has never looked after children before in his two-bedroom flat. It’s probably best to bring them to a grandma, despite him likely truly intending to do his absolute best and nothing less.
If bringing them to a friend, the same rules apply. It might be worth choosing the godparents if you have assigned any, or perhaps a close friend who has children themselves, preferably those that get on with your children.
But of course, this isn’t a small favor to ask. Even in the off-term school period, it can lead to a strain on the part of the person helping you with this. This is why it’s essential to cover all of their costs, to give them any and all security contacts, medical contacts and familial contacts they might need. You should provide them with any medication your children need at all, and perhaps a range of their favorite toys or DVD’s. You also must not take this for granted. Do not go for an overlong period, a week is perhaps the maximum. And certainly reward them deeply for their efforts, taking them to a lovely dinner or even compensating them for their time could be a necessary measure of expressing your thanks, but of course, a gift is always nice no matter what you choose to do. Also, give them many months of notice in advance, as well as your children:
Your kids might have a hard time truly understanding why you’re heading abroad for a time. They might not like it. What you might do is show them a map, showcasing where you’re going, and perhaps a few pictures to help you visualize it. Allow them to play at the home they might be staying in so they feel familiar with it, perhaps even a sleepover there can prove useful. Continually tell them exactly how much time you’ll be gone for, and send letters and postcards while you are away. Bring them gifts back. It’s not an ideal scenario for them, but with all of these practical considerations taken care of, you minimize the worry that is felt.
With this advice, heading abroad as parents without your children is perhaps more understandable than it might have been. Sometimes, it can be a healthy manner of spending time with your spouse one-on-one. Provided it’s not a habit you make, we’d say this is justified. Just be sure to spoil your children the next time you take them on holiday.