In case you need to hear this – traveling without your kids doesn’t make you a bad parent, and it’s good for you. It’s normal to have mama guilt when you go on a vacation without your kids, but it helps you feel more like a person when you head out on your own.
Some people look down or judge parents who travel without kids, but not me. My husband and I enjoy traveling without kids from time to time. Sometimes, we go on a getaway with other friends or by ourselves.
Other times, I go out with my friends for the weekend.
Mothers deserve time to themselves because you’re more than just a mother. It’s so easy to forget that, but moms have interests, plans, and goals to accomplish outside of your children.
That’s 100% okay and normal. If you want to go to a city that your kids might not enjoy, leave them at home and have a fun weekend. Traveling without your kids is healthy and great for marriages and your overall happiness.
Why You Need to Try Traveling Without Your Kids
It took a while before my husband and I left without our kids for the first time. We trust our family, but we missed our kids and worried about them.
As we began to travel more frequently without our kids, I found some reasons why it was good for me and them. Here are a few reasons why you need to consider taking a kid-free getaway.
It Helps Your Marriage
You know that I’m all about prioritizing marriage and dating your spouse. My husband and I spend a lot of time together and go on as many dates as possible, even if it’s just dinner at home together when we can’t get a babysitter.
There is no better time together better than traveling. You don’t need to be home by a certain time for the babysitter, and you focus solely on each other and having fun. It does wonders for your marriage; let’s be honest, marriage after kids is hard!
You Focus on Yourself
Being a mother is a lot of self-sacrificing and focusing on your kids rather than yourself. It’s easy to forget your needs and what matters to you when you have diapers to change and a house to clean all day.
Traveling without your kids gives you a chance to focus on yourself. If you’re tired, you sleep longer. If you’re ready to leave a location, you get up and leave without having to give warnings or deal with a tantrum.
Your Kids Foster Other Relationships
It’s good for your kids to spend time with other family members. Relationships with grandparents or aunts and uncles are valuable; kids cherish those as they get older. A weekend with grandparents is often filled with cookies, late nights, and donuts in the morning.
Those are memories your kids will remember forever as well.
It’s Easier to Do Certain Things
Traveling without your kids means that it’s a lot easier to do certain things. Walking miles around a city is a lot harder with toddlers, and going to a fancy dinner at 9:30 is often out of the question. It’s easier to get up and go, and you never have to worry if your kids will enjoy something.
If you think you want to try it, you do it. It’s so simple.
Is Traveling Without Your Kids Selfish?
Listen – I get it. It’s so easy to feel like having fun without your kids is selfish. Your kids want to have fun too, so why should you get to go on a fun vacation with them?
Traveling without your kids isn’t selfish. It gives you time to have some time alone and much-needed self-care. That is important for your entire family; when you’re happy and relaxed, you feel like a better parent and spouse.
Not only that, but experts say that when parents travel without their kids, it helps teach the children that they can live without their parents. It helps to encourage independence and shows them that other family members can meet their needs as well.
However, just because experts say that traveling isn’t selfish, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel some mama guilt or anxiety about your trip. You will!
Anxiety is Normal When Traveling Without Your Kids
You aren’t alone; traveling without your kids is stressful at first, especially if you’ve never done it. The first time you leave your children for a few days feels scary, especially if you’re traveling hundreds of miles away.
What if something goes wrong?
What if your child gets sick and needs to go to the hospital?
Will your child cry and miss you?
You know that you need some time on your own to focus on your marriage or have an awesome weekend with your best friend. That doesn’t decrease the anxiety.
Then, you’re sitting on the beach while your kids are at home bored. The mom guilt starts to creep up. You start to wonder if you’re a bad mother.
The truth is, the anxiety you feel when you’re traveling without your kids is normal, and it never goes fully away. No matter how many times my husband and I take a weekend getaway, I still feel bad for not taking our kids. I look forward and cherish our time together because I love my husband, but I also love our kids.
Remember, traveling without your kids doesn’t make you a bad parent – AT ALL!
6 Tips for Traveling Without Your Kids
So, you’re doing it. You decide you’re going to travel without your kids for the first time, but you’re nervous.
What if something goes wrong? How are you going to handle being away from your kids?
Here are some of my tips for taking your first kid-free vacation without – as much – mom guilt.
1. Hype Up Their Fun
I typically don’t discuss my trips with our kids too much, but I focus on the fun that they’ll have while we’re gone.
Perhaps they’re going to their grandparents house, where they can swim and play with their silly dogs. They might be going to see a movie with their aunt as well.
Whatever is happening while we’re going, I talk about – if it’s not a secret. I want them to feel like they’re going to have fun too, and it helps with any sadness that they might feel about mom and dad leaving.
2. Start with a Weekend Before A Full Week
If you’ve never tried traveling without your kids, I suggest that you start with a long weekend before you dive into traveling for a full week. Six days feels a long longer than three or four days.
However, make sure that you go far enough away that popping back in to check on your kids isn’t possible. You shouldn’t be tempted to visit while you’re away or feel like you can head home at any time.
3. Give Them Going Away Bags
If possible, consider giving your kids small gifts or activities to enjoy while you’re gone. You might also want to include an envelope about what you will be doing while you are away, like a postcard or something to read about where you’re traveling.
A few things that you could put in their going away bags include:
- A new book
- Coloring books with crayons
- Stuffed animals
- A new lego set
- A new movie with popcorn
4. Make Sure They WILL Have Fun While You’re Gone
This goes without saying, but if you’re going away, make sure your kids have something fun to enjoy while you’re gone. If possible, consider paying for movie tickets, waterpark tickets, or something fun for your kids to enjoy with whoever is watching your kids.
My mom guilt is a lot less when I know that my kids are having a good time.
5. FaceTime Often
Thank God for technology! I FaceTime our kids on a regular basis while we are gone. I might show them something fun that we are doing or just to say hi and tell them I miss them.
Our kids are free to call us as they feel they need. They know if something is wrong, we are here to talk. I have friends with older kids, and they told me that it’s essential that your older kids feel like you still care when something is wrong.
6. Have a Calendar for Older Kids
Your older kids might enjoy having a calendar where they can mark off the days until you come home. Toddlers won’t enjoy this, but if your kids are 5 years old and above, a calendar helps them understand that you will be home and how long they have to wait until they see you again.
Take a Kid-Free Vacation
Whether you’re traveling with your spouse or friends, traveling without your kids feels good. It gives you time to recharge and invest in parts of yourself that often are neglected as you focus on being a mother. Kid-free vacations and getaway times feel great for the soul – trust me!