My husband and I spent Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C. It was a nice, much-needed getaway. The weather wasn’t terrible and we got to see my brother who lives in Virginia.
And did I mention we were kid free?
This made our trip much simpler than when we all go somewhere. We didn’t have to keep our kids distracted during the 8 hour drive (one way), we could pack lighter, and we crashed in my brother’s living room instead of booking a hotel room.
But as relaxing as it was to leave the kids behind for a few days, at times my separation anxiety made things a little difficult.
I’m sure most parents experience a little anxiety when leaving their little ones. But add to that my generalized anxiety disorder, and it was a recipe for three days of stress.
Although the anxiety was still there, I did manage to have a good time. But it wasn’t easy. Here’s how I coped with my separation anxiety while traveling without my kids.
Keeping goodbye simple. It wasn’t easy dropping my kids off on Friday afternoon knowing I wouldn’t see them again until Monday night. I’ve read many times before that if your leaving your kids – whether it’s a few hours at school or days away – that it’s wisest to keep your goodbye short and sweet. I follow this same rule for myself. A kiss, a hug, and a ‘see you later,’ and we were on our way.
Leaving them with someone I fully trust. This should be a rule anytime you leave your kids with someone. But it gains importance when you’re hundreds of miles away. I know without a doubt I can trust my in-laws. I know my daughters are safe and secure with them, and that they’re home is a safe place to be, so this puts my mind at ease.
Resisting the urge to call. I didn’t speak to my kids during the three days we were gone – because they didn’t call me. While them not calling made me feel a little like they didn’t miss me like I missed them, it more so made me realize that they were doing just fine. I know someone would have reached out if something was wrong. And my girls know they can call me whenever they need to. So in this case, no news was good news.
Telling myself we deserve the time away. Having kids is hard. Your job never stops, you lose a lot of yourself. This can be especially detrimental when you’re married. Marriage is also a lot of work, and some days we get so caught up in being parents we can forget to be a couple. So I had to remind myself that having time together – just us two – was more beneficial than it was stressful. We relaxed. We laughed. We had fun.
Remembering all the duties awaiting my return. A load of towels. A few dishes in the sink. A grocery list. I had to remember that our getaway would only last a few days before it was back to the regularly scheduled program. Back to cooking, back to cleaning, back to work, and back to refereeing my girls’ arguments. This helped me enjoy the downtime because I’m not even sure when it will happen again.
There was no better feeling than cuddling with my babies when we came back home on Monday. But taking a timeout also helped me come back more relaxed and energized, and less stressed. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally taking a break from your parental duties. You just have to convince yourself of that fact.
Is traveling without your kids hard on you? How do you deal with it?