Leaving your children for a few days – especially the very first time – can be daunting, heartbreaking, nervewrecking. And, freeing. You are free to think to yourself, think about yourself, take care of yourself. If you’re with your significant other, you can be present in that relationship (imagine that!!) and let it be your top priority, rather than sitting at the very tippy tippy top of Maslow’s hierarchy of your kids’ needs. You can take a step back and see things around you with a totally selfish perspective, enjoying their beauty or seeing what opportunities there are for you, rather than anticipating your kids’ next move in that setting (Stop him before he runs in the street! Don’t get too close to the water’s edge, honey… Any chance in hell we could take the kids in this restaurant? And if we did, would it even be worth it?).
I’m obviously a huge supporter of ‘the getaway.’ So necessary, but potentially so hard to pull off.
First there’s the logistical challenge of finding someone to stay with the kids — someone who you trust entirely and who you know your little ones will be comfortable and happy with. We’re blessed with amazing grandparents on both sides, who generously offer to do this for us and whom our children LOVE.
But then there’s the emotional challenge for the parent (esp. mom). Leaving the kids?!?! Yikes! You think about how that will tug at your heartstrings, you’ll worry every day about their well being, you’ll just miss them so, so would you even enjoy getting away?
YES, YES, YES. And it’s so healthy to do, for you and them. It’s invaluable.
I vividly remember the first time I had to leave CJ for a few hours — he was four weeks old exactly, and we had our dear friends’ wedding in nearby Virginia. I’d been determined to make it to this wedding since the day we found out our due date (two weeks before the wedding), and goshdarnit I did. I cried during the ceremony (yay postpartum hormones) and pumped in the car, but I went!!
I left CJ overnight for the first time for a work trip, just two nights in Chicago. He was just shy of one year old, and I was a little apprehensive, but also selfishly looked forward to it. I spent hours the evening I arrived just walking the city by myself, at my own pace and stopping in favorite shops and eats. A solo trip made it easier, too–Charlie was home on dad duty.
But you know what? I had to ask Charlie, when was the first time we both left CJ? Because we’ve actually done this enough now that we’re entirely comfortable with it, we love and appreciate that time, and then look forward to coming back home to the kids.
Which is exactly how we felt after a six-day escape to Cape Cod. We’ve honestly never needed a vacation so much–it’s been Charlie’s first year in a new job, and my first 11 months stay-at-home-momming it, plus starting up my own biz and taking on some other small gigs. Related to the biz, I got a chance to exercise my creativity a bit, get back to the scenic shots that originally connected me to the camera back in my teens, and just play. I did notice afterwards that with the exception of one or two shots, ‘serene’ is a theme that runs throughout the shots. I write this as my two-year old and four-year old hit each other with stuffed animals next to me… I clearly needed a dose of serenity 🙂