Why You Should Take A Child-Free, Guilt-Free Vacation

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Why You Should Take A Child-Free, Guilt-Free Vacation

Jenny Coon Peterson

Say it with me: We all deserve a break.

Once more for those in the back: We all deserve a damn break.

And I don’t mean a “family vacation” break. You know the one, where you plan and pack and spend the whole thing running after one kid or another. The one where you never get to sit down and take a drink (or a breath).

Social media seems to be chock full of sanctimommies who could never leave their darling treasures from heaven (#blessed). They seem to wear it as a badge of honor that they’ve never been away a single night. And if they are, then there’s a big show about how they’re a hot mess being away for even a second.

I say, eff that noise. Taking a solo vacation away from kids is amazing, glorious, stupendous. That doesn’t make me a bad parent. I think that makes me a human who knows what she needs. And what I need is a few days without someone watching me pee or talking from sun-up to sun-down about their latest obsession.

My husband and I did our first night away from our oldest son when he was six months old. I planned ahead to pump enough, set him up with grandparents, and we were off. Was I a bit worried? Of course! But not about how our son would do, more about how the grandparents would handle it. (It’d been a while since they’d been up with a kid who nursed three times a night, after all.) I trusted them completely that our son would be perfectly fine. And he was. He cried a bit when we left, but then he had a lot of fun getting some solo time with his family.

We did too. We ate dinner at the wild, non-parent hour of 8 p.m. We split a bottle of wine without having to (a) change any diapers or (b) feed another human. We slept in! Reader, we slept in.

These child-free vacations are great for us, but I am one hundred percent confident that they’re great for our kids too. They get special time with family—its own sort of vacation (we’re lucky we have two wonderful sets of grandparents just a flight away and two amazing friends who are our family where we live).

Also—possibly most importantly—they see their parents taking time for themselves. I hope we’re modeling a healthy relationship, one where they can be confident that we love and support not just our family, but ourselves too.

Since that night away, we’ve taken a handful of vacations, ranging from a staycation in our city to two weeks in Europe. Each time, I miss my little family—especially when I see other kids their age or spot something I know they’d love—but I never feel guilty. I arrive back home feeling refreshed and excited to get back to being Mom.

So take that child-free trip. It doesn’t matter if it’s to the other side of the world or the other side of your city. Take the trip and refuse to let anyone—yourself included—make you feel guilty. You’ll feel better for it. Promise.