Why a Vacation Sans Kiddos Is Not a Vacation

At the start of this month, my husband and I did something we'd never done before: took an actual vacation without the kids. Oh sure, we went to the beach overnight for about 20 hours without them once. We event went to SXSW in Austin, TX for 5 days without them. But overnight trips are quick, and SXSW was crammed with conference and work...and in the same country. We not only left our kids for a few days, but we left the country. Yeah. I nearly pissed my pants from anxiety the entire week before we left (kidding. I just didn't sleep for 5 days. Not kidding about that).

It was a tough call to make: do we take the kids or don't we? We did travel a few times back East and once internationally once with our son when he was younger. Now we've got two kids, including a newly 2 year old daughter who will not sit still in a shopping cart for 2 full minutes, so asking the two to travel for 20 hours? Out of the question. Oh, and my daughter also likes to scream. Loudly. Not just when she's upset, but, well, all the time.

We could have separated them and just took our son while our daughter stayed with my parents, but to separate these two would have been devastating. They LIVE for each other, as I mentioned in my last post. They would have been heartbroken without each other for a whole 5 days. That's a heartbreak that this mama just couldn't live with.

Finally, we really only had 3 full days of non-travel. The kids wouldn't have even had a chance to acclimate before we'd have to leave again.

So the hubby and I went to Zurich to visit family on our own. My parents stayed and spoiled the kids. Zurich with family? Yes, it was insanely fabulous and I loved catching up with my in-laws (who are truly the greatest in-laws on earth; I am so very lucky). Here's hubby and I having a great time in Zurich:

But it was also an internal hell for me. I missed my kids INSANELY. I was so anxious being so far away from them, worried about what could possibly happen and how long it would take us to get back. But the worst part? Everywhere we went, everything we saw, I couldn't help but think "oh, my son would love that" or "oh man, I wish my daughter could experience that at this age." I had these thoughts literally every few minutes. About EVERYTHING. It was bad enough to give my stomach knots and cause more insomnia. You know, because my normal everyday, in-town insomnia isn't bad enough.

I loved this trip...and I hated this trip. That's the awful truth. I know I should be so thankful that we were able to take this time and be together. I love my husband dearly, and we were able to spend some great quality time together. Yet there were the kids...totally happy, having the greatest time being taken to a million super fun places and being doted on every second by my parents...and me being quietly miserable thousands of miles and oceans away.

So now that we've done the trip I can honestly say that I never want to go anyplace for a vacation that long and that far away without my kids again. No way. I suck at it. I've traveled, I know what it's like, but this is their time. It's time for my kids to see the world together, it's my job to show it to them and I would absolutely love nothing more than to see the world through their excited youthful eyes. Next year, we're taking 2 full weeks and taking the kids to Switzerland, Italy, France and maybe Germany. Now I just need to figure out how to pay for it...


Erica said...

This was so interesting - I have zero experience traveling without my kids, so I imagine it to be a completely fantastic experience where one forgets about the kids by the time the plane takes off. But of course, one can't just turn off the parenting role outside of American airspace - the kids have trained us too well by now.

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marlynn said...

lol - Erica, I think it would be different if we were just going to be gone for say 2 or 3 days somewhere on the same coast... but then, I'd feel ridiculous not taking them on such a short plane ride then either :)

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Laird Family Blog said...

Love the post.

But, I have such a different take on it. I love (relish) our vacation time away from the kids. We try to go on a vacation once a year without the babies. It feels like a chance to recharge the batteries. Sleep in. Be silly. Have one too many drink. Use four letter words. Of course, I miss the kids desperately, but for me, it helps to soothe my inner introvert who wants some quiet time. . . .

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marlynn said...

Thanks for the comment, Ms Laird! :)

I think it would be different for me if I felt that hubby and I didn't get enough quality time together just us on a regular basis, or that I didn't get enough alone time on a regular basis, but we do, and I do. At least, lately we've been better about making sure both happen :)

Of course, next year when we take the kids overseas and I am complaining about what a pain in the ass it is, just remind me about this post! :)

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