Travel

Anatomy of a Romantic Trip (Without Kids)

How to Take a Romantic Trip (Without Kids)

A reader named Brittany recently wrote with a question: “Since this is such a thoughtful community, I’d love to ask: how do you travel without your kids? Especially how to make it less stressful for everyone involved. After an extended NICU stay when my girls were born, I still haven’t left them for longer than a night, and they’re almost four. I’d love to hear how parents take trips and are able to enjoy themselves and relax… I fear my children will be in college before I’m ready!” Here are 11 tips (and I’d love to hear yours!)…

How to Take a Romantic Trip (Without Kids)

Alex and I were lucky enough to go on our first romantic getaway when Toby was a year and a half and I was SO freaked out beforehand. But, as with most things in life, the anticipatory worry is by far the worst part.

Here’s the anatomy of the trip:

The night before: Staring at the boys while they’re asleep in their beds. Telling Alex we maybe shouldn’t go because how can we leave them?

Cab to the airport or train station: I’m freaking out a little. Asking Alex if this is the best or maybe definitely the worst idea.

At the airport or station: Realizing I’m only responsible for my snacks at the airport! I start to buy two bananas before noting that I can just stick with kettle chips and sea salt chocolate!

On the flight or train: Flying without kids is basically a SPA. You can watch When Harry Met Sally, read a book, stare out the window, eat Pringles, even have a glass of wine.

Checking into the hotel: By the time we arrive, I’m feeling sooooo happy and chill.

On the weekend trip: Having the best, most relaxing time. Remembering why we fell in love.

Flying home: Feeling restored and rejuvenated. Cannot WAIT to see the boys.

Arriving home: The sweetest reunion!!! All the kisses!!!

A few tips that have helped us while we’re away:

DO choose a destination that works for you. Maybe that’s far flung, or maybe it’s close by. Recently, our friends dropped their kids with their grandparents in Ohio, and they went to Columbus for a long weekend. They had an amazingly romantic time. So, even if you’re going half an hour away, you still feel a world away when it’s just you.

DON’T FaceTime or call. We’ve found that it’s better, for everyone, to be out of sight, out of mind. Said a reader named Britta: “I really only want to hear the ‘good’ updates, unless someone is on fire or losing a limb!” My mom or our babysitter will usually send written updates at the end of the day and they’re so much fun to read.

DO consider a hotel that doesn’t allow kids. We once stayed at an elegant B&B in New Haven, Connecticut; and we also love The Standard in Miami because it’s adults only (and has a giant pool that’s as warm as a bathtub). For us, we prefer to be around grown-ups only, because when we see kids on our trips, it makes me miss our own; and without babies and kids around, you can truly relax.

DO pick out a present for the kids. This is such a fun part of parenting — getting candy or a little toy from your destination. Even if we just grab M&Ms at the airport, the boys are so happy!

DO tell your kids they’re having a “staycation.” We always help plan some fun things for them, like going out for ice cream or watching a new-to-them movie.

DO leave your kids with someone you trust. My mom will sometimes come stay with the boys while we go away for two nights; or we’ll have trusted sitters switch off and each take a day/night.

DO get organized before you go. We leave a list with friends’ phone numbers, the doctor’s info, our hotel phone number, any schedules, etc. It just helps you know that your kids will be just fine.

How to Take a Romantic Trip (Without Kids)

DO sleep way in or read a book or stare happily at the ceiling — and don’t worry about seeing every sight. This isn’t just a vacation, it’s also a break from regular life for you to rest and take a breath.

DO play Would You Rather. It’s so much fun to be together without kids underfoot and get to talk about ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, versus who will pack the school lunches and whether we have kids’ winter socks in the right sizes.

DO know that this is good for everyone! Your kids will enjoy their time at home; and I always get such a crush on Alex when we go away together. Once when Alex was saying we should take a romantic weekend together, I teased him, “You just want to make out.” He replied: “No, I want to make jokes!” which I thought was so cute and true, since it feels so good not to talk logistics.

DO consider coming home before bedtime. On the day we return, I always try to get back by 4 p.m. so we can hang out with the boys before bed. I love that reunion!

How to Take a Romantic Trip (Without Kids)

Now we try to take a romantic weekend away once a year, and we know we’re so, so lucky to be able to do so. A huge thank you to my mom and our beloved sitters for making it possible.

Have you ever traveled without your kids? Do you have any advice? Any destinations you love? Please weigh in below!

P.S. A weird thing we do on vacations, and have you ever traveled alone?

(Photos above, from top, on trips in Amsterdam, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica and Turks & Caicos.)

  1. Melissa says...

    These are great tips! Also, if you’re in the US, be sure to leave a signed note with your sitter stating your permission for your children to see a doctor. On our first trip away, Grandma bought a star-shaped wand that ended up slightly scratching my toddler’s eye. My husband and I were in Iceland preparing for a big hike in the middle of no where without reliable cell service, trying for 2 hours to text a photo of the required note so that our pediatrician or an urgent care would check out our daughter’s eye. The text went through and her eye was fine.

  2. sania says...

    we take a week long trip together every year, our kids were older so it was so so easy to leave them with my parents (with whom they are very close/basically like second parents) they also go visit my aunt in California every summer (its so nice for them to get out of the texas heat) my aunt and her husband are like second grandparents for them and they all enjoy each other so much! (my kids are 10 and 12 and are very good sports and are up for anything, including lots of card games and museums and camping so all 4 of them have a blast)

  3. Veronica says...

    The best COJ travel tip was to make videos for your kids rather than FaceTime. They watch them over n over and love them. Mine says- mama just tell me what you want to show me and then show me.❤️

  4. Maren Susan Telsey says...

    We left our daughter for the first time when she was 14 months. While we don’t have family near us, our parents are generous and fly to us (or we chip in for their flights). I over-prepared BIG time, with schedules and freezer meals. I told my husband the day before we left for our tropical getaway that it was too much work to prepare all of this, and next time, let’s just bring her. Boy was I wrong. We needed that trip more than we ever knew. I kept saying (with a tinge of guilt) throughout the whole trip: I feel like my old self. We are preparing for a two week trip away this winter, and the grandparents are splitting the time. Who knows how it will go….but I’ll find out when we get home! ;)

  5. txilibrin says...

    No family around, so I still haven’t been anywhere without them :(
    I don’t want to have someone that I don’t know sleeping in my house while we are out, so, for now it is not an option for us.
    And given we have 2 kids, I cannot ask any of my friends… The four of us still travel together and we love it, but it is exahusting…

  6. Lisa says...

    We’ve now done a couple of trips away from our kids (3.5 and nearly 2). The first was when the younger was just over a year, and was still breastfeeding so I made my husband go back a bit earlier as I was about to explode. But, it’s been great for us as a couple. During everyday life we can’t have proper talks because there too much going on / we’re exhausted, whereas when we go away (particularly if we hve a long drive) we really have time to chat. We also try to fit in some spa time / anything relaxing to rejuvenate. We’re lucky because my in laws are awesome and are more than happy to take the kids. I second what Jo said about travelling without kids feeling like a spa day. No toddler wrangling! No meltdowns! I had a work trip and I managed to spend the whole flight reading a BOOK

  7. Cynthia says...

    Our girls spent 2 weeks every summer with my in-laws. We enjoyed the child-free time and the chance to take overnight or day trips. I didn’t worry about our girls, and we got a much-needed break.

  8. Anna says...

    My parents have a couple of dear friends who don’t have children of their own, and my brother and I got to be their “Rent-a-Kids” whenever my parents went out of town. We just adore them so much! They always planned fun outings and ordered pizza or Thai food. Now even my husband knows and loves my “Rent-a-Parents!”

  9. Jessica Rose says...

    I fully support this message! Some of my greatest memories as a kid were when my parents went out of town and my aunts and uncles – equipped with their reserve of energy – would come stay with us. Outings, McDonald’s for dinner, wrestle matches, late nights – it was all dreamy. Most importantly, it forged close relationships with other significant adults in my life. I remember my aunt was there for me when I had a teenage crisis, providing the exact advice and support I needed to make a hard choice. I can’t imagine I would have trusted her had we not spent many a summer evening eating pizza in a pillow fort while my parents were away. What a gift!

    • Lydia says...

      Love this!

  10. Naomi says...

    I travel a fair amount for work – so being away from my child isn’t “hard” in that sense. But… the real reason why we have only taken 2-3 (if that?) couple trips in the last 8 years is because every time we start talking about going away for a long weekend or trip without her – I think about how lovely all of our family trips have been – all three of us together. So almost every time we turn it into a family trip. Maybe that doesn’t serve the proper purpose of a couples trip – but I still love it.

  11. rose says...

    The thing I love about Alex is he always looks just so, so happy in all the photo’s you post. I realize that he surely has his moments, but I just love that special look of joy that comes through in the photo’s. It’s lovely to see.

    • Lauren says...

      Agreed. I get really tense if I’m aware of a camera, so I don’t have any pictures like this of my husband and I which is kind of sad. Sometimes I wish people would take pictures of us secretly :)

      When ‘normal’ couples are having their picture taken in a casual setting, are they ever partly thinking about how it’s going to look? And if so, do they ever feel slightly fake by continuing to smile or laugh in the exact same way? I’m afraid of looking at a picture and feeling like it isn’t ‘real’. (I realize this is overthinking things.)

  12. Emily says...

    An out of town friend was going through a divorce and I wanted to visit but felt bad about leaving my 2 year old. Then my Mother-in-Law asked me “What would you advise your daughter to do when she’s in her 30s and has a struggling friend, but also has small kids at home.” … my answer was immediate and so simple “I’d tell her to go.” (her follow up question was “would it be better to tell her or to model for her as she grows?”)

    Any time I have trouble giving my mom-self permission to do something, I think in terms of what I’d hope my grown daughter would do to care for her needs, and the guilt (mostly) slips away.

    • Silver says...

      Fantastic! weird how the answer is actually so simple. Thanks, I’m keeping this tip for sure.

  13. Rosie says...

    We started traveling without my daughter about 7 weeks after she was born. Two of our best friends were getting married and it seemed completely unmissable, but the logistics of the flight and drive into the country with a newborn was too crazy. I had stopped breastfeeding by that point and the sleep schedule was pretty good, so my dad who is a pediatrician came to town a couple of days early so he could get the hang of our schedule and bond with our daughter and then he took over. It was an amazing reset for us. We slept like rocks and managed to remember what it was like to be a human first, mom second. I missed her terribly and there was a bit of a mom guilt spiral on our flight, but it helped us realize that if she was okay with a family member when she was less than 2 months old she is definitely going to be okay at 8 months, 1 year, 3 years, etc. We don’t have a ton of time for holidays these days, but every couple of months we do a 2 night staycation. We get our babysitter to sleep over and we go to a nearby hotel and eat long meals, sneak wine into movie theaters or go see a concert. 10/10 would recommend. We went to China for two weeks last year and my mom came to town and watched her and it was totally fine. Because of the time difference we didn’t connect once, but instead every day we recorded a little video of what we were doing and texted it to my mom and they responded. She also showed her our Instagram stories. Bottom line: obviously this won’t work for everyone, but getting out of town is good for you. Find the best person possible to watch your kids and then put trust in that person for a few days, and walk away. In 2019 nobody is unreachable if there is a crisis and chances are your parents/friends/nanny has seen that problem before and will handle it with ease and grace.

  14. Lea Binta says...

    Taking a weekend trip without kids is on our to-do list for 2020. I am, however, going on a trip with my friend for 4 whole days in january, and I’m incredibly excited, but I could also just cry at how guilty and selfish I feel for taking this trip. This motherhood business is no joke, eh?

  15. Hannah says...

    We did a weekend in NYC when my son was a year old and left him with my parents who regularly took care of him a few days a week. The initial anxiety, the joy of spending time with my husband, the reminiscing about our former haunts, the adventure of trying new things…. Only to come home to a very sick child. My parents hadn’t told us anything during our check-ins so that “they wouldn’t spoil our good time.” Honestly, all it did was tell me that I couldn’t trust them. Since we don’t really have any other options for care, we haven’t done a couple’s getaway since.

    This is a really Debbie Downer of a story, but I’ve noticed others in the comments saying they haven’t or can’t get away as a couple. I just wanted to say that it’s OK. We all have different experiences and circumstances.

    • Anne says...

      That really sucks how that happened on your first weekend away. I’m struggling to understand though. Did they not take care of him? Or was it just that they didn’t say? Or did they cause the illness (that would be bad)?

    • Hannah says...

      Thanks Anne. His getting sick was definitely not a negligence issue or an active cause by my parents. Typical kid-gets-a-cold story.

      It’s because they didn’t tell us. It’s very hard to trust them and have a restful time when you question every “we’re doing fine” during check-ins. She thought she was coming from a good place and does not see how I would expect that I am being managed in all future conversations. Of course, there is a whole bunch of control baggage there which has kept me very busy at therapy sessions for many years!

    • Aileen Johnston says...

      I am so sorry you feel you couldn’t trust them since it was obviously coming from a good place. I went away for a long weekend with my friends and my husband was left in charge of my daughter. She ended up being sick the whole weekend (I mean vomit, runny nappies, everything) but every time I phoned/texted my husband he would say everything was fine. It wasn’t till I came home that he told me all about it. I loved him for keeping it to himself as if he had told me I know I would have just wanted to get home. Since that would have involved a lot of logistics it probably wouldn’t have been easily done and I would have just spent the rest of the weekend worrying and there was nothing I could have done about it. I do the same to him (unless Im at the end of my tether) as he works away for 3 weeks at a time in the middle of the north sea. I have had to keep family deaths from him (he worked in Nigeria then and he would not have been able to get home) hospital stays by our daughter and so much more in between because when he is out there, there is nothing he can do and I don’t want to add to the stress. I know you know your parents only did it from a good place (as you said in another comment), I just wanted to let you know why I practically beg people not to tell me if anything is wrong whilst I am way. I hope your parents can regain your trust and you manage some time away in the future. xx

  16. Jess says...

    I try to get a small present (a book or small toy) for each of my boys, wrap it up with a note and tuck it in their suitcase since they usually spend the night at their grandparents.

  17. JLT says...

    This past weekend, my husband and I escaped to NY for just three days. We did it last year and it was so rejuvenating that we decided to make it an annual trip. It was fun to book reservations a month in advance at restaurants that we would normally not take our kids to. We also didn’t plan out and make reservations for all our meals, reminding ourselves that standing in lines–without kids–is itself a luxury. How many times have we avoided going somewhere because it would be torture to make the kids wait in line? Instead, we stood in line, enjoying each other’s company with some wine and the company of other fellow line-standers. When we returned, the kids were excited about getting to have 2 sleepovers with Mimi. We are grateful that my mother-in-law could watch the kids and always make sure to get something for her too.

  18. Jess says...

    One thing that has helped me leave the kids behind for any length of time (even just for work) is having a will and living trust established. It gives me confidence that I’ve done everything I can to ensure they’re taken care of should the absolute worst case scenario happen.

    • Aoife says...

      Well now I don’t feel like a grown up! 😊

    • Jess says...

      Estate planning and house repairs always makes me feel very Adult. :)

  19. Ashley says...

    Growing up, one of my mom’s repeated phrases before a weekend away with her girlfriends or the yearly adults-only vacation with my dad was “mommies that go away come back better mommies.” For a long time, I thought it was just a silly phrase. But now, with kids of my own, I realize she was teaching me about the importance of taking time for self-care. She died unexpectedly last year and that reminder — that taking time for myself is not just ok but vital to being a great mom like her — is a real legacy. It’s also a lesson, I am happily passing on to my own girls. Because, mommies that go away really do come back better mommies.

    • Jenn says...

      So sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. I really love (and agree with!) her message and that it’s now part of her legacy that will be a part of you and your children! Sending you a hug.

  20. We almost only travel without our kids. The huge key is to keep those updates few and far between. I don’t want to hear if my daughter has a cough or my son scraped his knee. Worrying about it does nothing for anyone. Now, if they are in the hospital because they are having seizures, yes, please, tell me. But even a broken arm doesn’t get a frantic phone call.
    Also, my husband and I act like crazy teenagers with a taste of freedom when we vacation. We go out to bars and dance until 2 am. Things we would never do otherwise. It helps us remember that we are humans who are crazy about each other and not only parents who do laundry all day.

  21. Katy says...

    Love this! I’m going to have to convince my husband to take a trip without the kids.

  22. lk says...

    When you travel as a family it is a “trip”. Adult couple travel is a “vacation”! Language matters and helps set expectations. We do all sorts of combos with our family- adults only, all 4, one adult and one kid, solo adult and now that the kids are big- sometimes they leave us home alone…. which is nice too! We keep the big world close to us too by having exchange students and other guests in the house- we want the world to feel like a welcoming place.

    • Rosie says...

      I always joke that traveling with kids is a family vacation, but a trip without them is a holiday.

  23. Anna says...

    My kids are 4 and 10 months and the only ‘break’ I have had since 2015 was one sleepless night in hospital after giving birth to the younger one. Writing this sounds martyrish but I honestly don’t understand how it would be possible to go away. I had to beg my mum to come and stay for the birth of my second, to look after my first while I was in labour, and she made me feel hideously guilty in the lead-up because I refused an induction, so couldn’t give her a specific date. So that was my one night away from home – a guilt-laden, bloody, exhausted post partum hospital stay. Imagine asking her to visit so I could go on holiday? It’s laughable. My husband and I have been out alone together once, for one afternoon drink at a pub, in four and a half years. And my parents were texting and ringing the whole time asking when we would be home. Paid babysitters are just not a thing here. So no, this article is definitely not a realistic one for me.

    • Valerie says...

      We live far from family babysitters and I often feel like paying a babysitter makes going on a date unaffordable. So I love to trade with another mom friend, I watch their kids one evening while my husband is home with ours and then we swap the next night. All parents need some time away and I’m sorry your parents aren’t supportive of that! But I’m sure you can find another mom in a similar situation who would love to trade!

    • L says...

      Do you have any trusted friends or neighbors with or without kids who might be able to spend time with your little ones so that you and your husband could step out, even just for another drink? Reading your response makes me feel stressed so I can only imagine how stressed you are. Sending big hugs – you sound like a (very tired) super woman!

    • Alida says...

      This makes me so sad. Please try to find another mom to barter a night off with, as the others suggested.

      And consider taking a full day to yourself once a month where your husband watches the kids. You need time away in order to appreciate time with your kids 💗

    • Abesha1 says...

      We’re in a similar situation by default and by character… but I (mostly) don’t mind. Knowing this is our current limitation removes the “we should be away from our kids” thoughts, in a helpful way.

    • Aileen Johnston says...

      You poor soul. I cannot imagine the stress of people texting and ringing you whilst you try to spend some quality time with your husband, especially when its grandparents!! I would definitely try to get a deal with another mum to help out. I have an amazing neighbour who is now one of my best friends and we have taken it in turns for the last few years to take each others children if the other one needs some time out. Sending you a huge hug xx

    • Sarah says...

      I totally understand your predicament Anna. My mother passed away 2 years ago and my in-laws are absolutely 100% uninterested in helping to babysit for an hour let alone overnight or for a weekend. It makes me sad that my kiddos won’t have overnight memories at their grandparents, because I truly treasured my weekend stays at my grandma’s place as a kid. Sending hugs your way!

    • Emma says...

      My husband and I are in a very similar situation to you and I have also only been away from my daughter when I gave birth to my son…and yes my mum came to help then but it was a big drama and there’s been nothing since. We live a two hour flight away from all our parents and they have very little interest in the children anyway, beyond ‘everyone ok?’ in the weekly phone call.

      But we’re a very strong little unit of us four. So I know people say ‘it takes a village…’ and we don’t have a village, but I’m happy with that.

  24. I’m compelled to comment about the “Do not Facetime” rule. I had read this before (maybe even here), and so we didn’t call when we first went for a week-end in Venice (our daughter was 3 months old and stayed with my mom). When we came back, she wouldn’t even look at us, she deliberately looked at walls/ceiling every time we’d try to interact with her. I felt SO bad! A year later, we went to Mallorca and also didn’t call. I really think this decision was damaging, and this is the thing I most regret now out of ALL my parenting decisions. We were terribly worried, and our daughter didn’t know where we were and whether and when we were coming back. Our faces just disappeared from her life!

    I started reading up on this, and found many articles that not only authorized but encouraged parents to call in. We ended up doing a FaceTime call, our daughter was happy to see us, and later my mom told me that it was the first night she didn’t have to hold her in her arms for 3 hours at 2AM.

    Lesson learnt! If something feels icky to you, just don’t do it!

    Another advice: even if you’re leaving super early, always always say goodbye, or at least tell your baby you’re leaving the night before. Even if your baby is just a few days old!

    • Kristin says...

      I agree!! Maybe this works with older children who have the intellectual development to understand that grownups come back, but babies and toddlers aren’t there yet. How terrifying! I’m so sorry you had that experience 😔

    • Mk says...

      Maybe it FELT this way when she was three months old, but three month olds aren’t able to process elapsed time or resent your absence in the way you’re describing. I don’t think you did any damage. I don’t even think a three month old would comprehend that she was seeing her mom on a phone screen even if you had tried! When I went back to work, my husband would facetime me during the day with my son, but he didn’t really “get” what was happening until he was 8 or 9 months. Don’t beat yourself up!

    • Anne says...

      You sound like very present and loving parents and I will reiterate what MK says that I don’t believe that you being away for a few days does ANY lasting damage to a child.
      Of course if you and your child feel best doing the facetime then do it. My children and I do better without.

    • Thank you all! I think what I most feel bad about is not telling my daughter about us leaving (our flight was super early, and we didn’t dare to say to her the night before because (egoists!) we were afraid she’d sleep poorly). So this plus not calling might have been scary for her (waking up with no parents!). But you’re right, I’m sure it didn’t do any lasting damage! I’m just super sensitive to this because I myself had to spend a couple of months at my grandmother’s when I was nine months old, so I’m projecting my own stuff!

  25. Kel says...

    If, at all possible, DO plan for 2 nights away minimum. The in between day of not getting out the door or hustling home is where the magic happens.

  26. Eva says...

    Love this encouraging post! My little lady is 7 months old so I feel forever away from a first trip without her, haha. And that means she’ll have a few business trips under her belt before her first birthday :) I’m lucky to work for a supportive org and with a team of super family-oriented people who don’t mind her hanging out in meetings. Also, having flown cross-country solo with a little baby, I was heartened by how many generous people are all around—offering to hold her so I could go to the bathroom or just to get a break. Flight attendants and fellow travelers alike! Also, we (read: she) got to cut a few lines :D

  27. Perhaps hire a NLP specific coach to help you work through past trauma so you, and your children, can experience even more freedom and peace. Like absolute freedom from past pain.

    I’m a coach and have a coach to which she sometimes will say to me, “you can act from your wisdom or your wound”.

    Sending a hug!

  28. Tina L. says...

    We do regularly go away alone together and have since I stopped nursing the youngest when he was around 1 year old. I find it so great that we get to relate to each other as individuals, and not just co-parents and it’s such a break from the daily grind of having children and full time careers. We are so lucky both sets of my parents (mom and dad are divorced) eagerly want to spend time with our kids and they are young and healthy enough to do so. Sometimes I get anxious about leaving, and sometimes I miss them, but I push through because my husband seems so thrilled and I do feel we deserve to put our relationship at the forefront once in a while . We almost always have an amazing time and get some intimacy back that maybe had been lagging. One tip I wanted to share as they get older – my kids LOVE camp and beg to go each summer (they are now 13 and 11.) We find traveling then so fun. We’ll take a big trip (Patagonia) that they’re not that into and have zero guilt! They are having a blast and so are we.

  29. Emma says...

    A couple thoughts –
    1 – love all the comments about budget options (or just alternatives to leaving town, which can be stressful in and of itself)

    2 – I appreciate that this wasn’t a post about how you SHOULD go out of town without your kids.

    3 – definitely think outside the box as to who could watch your kids! I may not have children (yet) but I am totally willing to help out with other people’s kids! (And I have extensive babysitting/childcare skills and experience. Why would I be less qualified to take care of kids now than I was when I was 13??) I can’t really imagine asking my parents to take this on, but I would ask a handful of friends who like kids.

  30. Linh says...

    My daughter is 4 year-old, severely autistic and non-verbal so our getaway trip is always planned at least 6 months in advance. She has speech & behavioral therapy services 3-4 times a week and attend half day special ed program at pre-school. My parents in law kindly offer to take care of her once a year for 7-10 days. Our parents are in their 70s so we always plan additional help for them. We hire and and train sitters a few months before the trip. We plan help so our parents always have 5-6 hours of relaxing Mon-Fri and 8 hours off on Sat. In addition, our daughter is gluten free and is a foodie who likes 2-3 courses for lunch and dinner. She eats everything but doesn’t like repeat dishes and ingredients. If she had steam broccoli on Mon, then it had to be carrot on Tue, kale on Wed, zucchini on Thu, and so on. We cook different protein every day and in different styles. We cook various cuisines: Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Mexican to change things up. A few days before the trip, I cook up a storm, marinate ingredients, pack snacks, write instructions for routines, daily food menu, contact service coordinators, contact teachers, and etc. Every vacation is a serious project. We’re going to Morocco in May next year and the planning process has already started, tickets and treks are all booked, parents confirmed help for the dates. I know I’m very lucky to be able to take some time off for self care. I empathize with parents with special need children. It’s hard to leave our children home but we should do it for us and for them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That sounds really hard, Linh, and you sound like an incredible parent with a daughter who is very very loved. Sending you so much love.

    • Sierra says...

      I hear you. Since my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 2 years ago, I have not been able to go anywhere as no one else knows how to look after him.
      Even going out to dinner is stressful.

    • Jamie says...

      This!! My son is also nonverbal on the spectrum, and 3 years old. Admittedly I get resentful sometimes of how easy your planning seems, Joanna. We haven’t had a night away yet. I just can’t get his Manual written to perfection, lol, what every gesture or sound might mean, how important the schedule is, what he will and won’t eat, etc. My husband and I just practiced with grandparents putting him to bed while we went out for dinner – and guess what, he had a great time. Next step, a weekend away. Linh is right, it’s so important for us and them. <3

    • candice says...

      My son is also special needs and just want to say I see you :) . Getaways aren’t easy. Hiring help for the help, cooking for a week in advance, etc. It’s so real. We’ve found it easier to travel as a family although “easier” is so laughable! Way to go on making it happen anyway. I hope Morocco is amazing!

  31. A says...

    DO go by yourself or with a friend and leave your partner with the kid(s)! When my oldest was 2, just before we were going to start trying for #2, I went to Paris with one of my best girlfriends for a week and it was quite possibly the greatest week of my life.

    • Kel says...

      Agreed! It is so good for each parent to take over for a day or two and understand what the full role feels like. And it’s major relationship points to gift that to your partner!

  32. Julee says...

    I’m pregnant with my fourth child, and leaving my children is always hard. I wouldn’t, for longer than 1 night, until three years ago, after my husband was begging and begging for us to really get away.
    He and I have since been to Las Vegas, Nantucket (a bunch), Paris, Miami, Napa Valley, Bar Harbor, etc. child-free!
    The longest time away was 5 nights (Paris), and it was too long and I was too sad.
    I can’t bear to FaceTime or call my children when I’m away from them, as Joanna says, even seeing families/other children makes it sooo hard.
    I’d recommend leaving the kiddos but for weekends- any longer and I get sad and droopy. I need my babies.

    • CS says...

      This is so sweet! 💕

  33. Molly says...

    We live in Washington DC and went to Palm Springs for a week. With Amazon Prime you can buy small gifts and have them mailed to your child every other day so there is something that is new they can look forward to – Play Doh! Yes! Crazy Glasses with Googley Eyes – Why not? $8 book about legos! Absolutely. Three small toys made all the difference. And NO FACETIME!

  34. Marta says...

    So funny to read this at the airport waiting for a flight back home from 5 days in Portugal without kids! I also recommend not checking in too often, especially not to talk to kids in the evening because I and them will cry a little bit.

    I justify those trips thinking that happy parents who are a happy couple are the best for children.

    • Nicole says...

      We have three kids and have left only once for a weekend. No family nearby and our parents are too old or never offer (except that one time.) A babysitter would be prohibitively expensive- we rarely even do a night out. Bummer, but I’m afraid that’s reality for most people (outside Cup of Jo readership,that is!)

  35. Anna says...

    We are foster parents and have had our foster (to adopt) daughter for nearly two years. The grind of the foster care system was really getting to us an affecting our relationship. We weren’t able to leave our daughter with family (who would have loved to watch her, amazingly), it had to be another licensed foster family. Our social worker helped us find another family who we met with and became friends with before leaving. We actually made sure we felt safe and comfortable with theme before booking our trip at all. We went to a tropical island we visited MANY times before becoming parents and that was the best choice for many reasons!
    1. we got to revisit places from our favorite memories and recall those super-in-love trips from our younger years
    2. we instantly got back to the just-us dynamic we had pre-parenting
    3. we had already seen many of the sights and didn’t feel pressure to “do it all” but instead could relax or go on an adventure as we wished.
    4. It felt like we were visiting “our place”. Had we brought our young daughter, it would have felt restrictive, like we couldn’t do all our favorite things that aren’t really small-kid-friendly (snorkeling, surfing, etc.). It helped us enjoy the trip, knowing she wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the things we did, rather than constantly thinking “OMG she would totally LOVE this!”. That’s a recipe for desperately missing her.

    It was a restorative and amazing trip that helped us come back ready to be our best selves and stick with the long fostering process, for the love of our daughter :) We will 100% do it again, as much as possible! ha!

  36. Jessie says...

    When we had 1 child we did a three night trip when I was 7 months pregnant with my second. We left her with my mom and Step-Dad at her house for 3 nights. We never talked to our daughter. We figured out of sight out of mind. When our two daughters were 2 and 3.5 we did a 2 night trip to NYC from DC. We had my mom come and visit. She said it was overwhelming and she didn’t want to do it again unless it was at her house. Next time we only went away for one night and left the girls at her house. (She lives on the West Coast while we live on the East Coast). We then started going away once a year for 2 nights. Once I had my third we waiting until she was 2 or 3 and then we would fly my mom out, pay her back for everything she bought for them or did for them and got her a babysitter for night. Now we go away for 2-3 nights, pay to fly her out, leave the credit card and tell her feel free to have them watch TV and take them out for dinner if you are too tired to cook. They are now 5, 8 and 9. When we also don’t call them and I’ve learned to let go control. I’m not in charge and as long as they are alive it’s fine. Once I did that things got a lot better. Also 1 tip, go as far as you are comfortable with going. Since I am a stay at home mom, I was comfortable with a 2-3 hour flight MAX. My girlfriend was fine with going to Ireland for a week with her husband.

  37. Lindsay says...

    First I want to send love and congrats to Brittany on this upcoming milestone for her!

    I don’t have kids and I have never traveled w a husband. But I do have a lot of experience in making the most out of a trip. Here’s my list:

    -I once saw a couple cupping their hands together to make a heart in front of some scenery. U can only do this cheesiness with a S.O.- perfect for a romantic getaway!

    -discuss your “hopes and dreams for the trip”, whether it’s to plan some things or to do absolutely nothing- half the excitement of a trip is the time before when you’re looking forward to it

    -Vacation starts when your journey starts (leave your stress at home). If you’re driving, taking a train or plane – treat that as vacation too and celebrate. Also it’s a rule that if there’s a delay- you get a drink (or two)

    XOXO

  38. Rae says...

    I can’t say, definitely get away; it might be too much for you or your kids. But I can speak from experience as the kid who was often left with grandparents and friends. I spent school holidays with my grandparents because both parents worked full time. I have memories of crying, but Grandma and Grandad had everything sorted to help me through the initial separation anxiety. And the agreement was if I still felt anxious after 2 days, mum would come get me. As I got older, those tears turned to barely a wave. I learnt how to overcome anxiety. I learnt different house rules. I learnt to sew and knit, ride a bike, paper mache, use tools, dry flowers, braid onions and garlic, pitch a tent, catch and gut a fish. I also learnt to trust myself and my abilities. I’m so close to my grandparents and the families I would stay with. And I couldn’t be closer to my parents. I also appreciate them as whole people. People who work, have friends and hobbies and interests, and love each other; they’re not just mum and dad.

    • Nikki Jouppe says...

      I actually welled up with tears at this comment.. I’m leaving tomorrow for a little trip away from my kids for a friend’s wedding (and this time my hubby will stay home with them) and for some reason there’s always a bit of guilt to leave and have fun but I needed the reminder that kids should see their parents as whole people not just moms and dads.

  39. Mary says...

    Thank you for the link to the post on traveling alone. My husband died seven months ago. I just went to a wedding out of town, by myself, for five days. While I had some tears, I also was encouraged by my ability to accept and adapt to traveling alone. (Of course, it helped that I had other family members to run around with. Still, it was a good first step in traveling alone.) Next trip is Paris.

    • G says...

      Sending you love

    • Anna B says...

      Hugs to you Mary!

    • Naseem says...

      ❤️❤️❤️
      I’m so sorry for your loss of your husband, Mary.

      I hope you have a wonderful trip to Paris!

  40. Nicole says...

    We did an initial sleepover with grandparents, and it was hard on the kids (separation anxiety flies its flag pretty high at our house). They ADORE camping in my parents’ RV, so when we took a trip to Napa without kids, the kids went to Carlsbad National Park without US! Because they weren’t at our house, but having super-cool adventures instead, they didn’t miss us at all. Wonderful! (and yes, I know I am very lucky in the parent department)

  41. Chrissie says...

    My husband and I had done a night here and there but took a three night trip to Puerto Rico for my 30th birthday when my son was 6 and my daughter was 3. The first two nights were incredible but the third night I really started to miss the kids. On the way to my brothers house (which by the way is like a full fledged resort- a pool and all the amenities) I was so excited to see the kids. I pictured running to them in slow motion with arms outstretched through a field while music played. Which I sort of did until my son ran the other way and shouted “go back to Puerto Rico!!” Oh well, I guess they had a good time while I was away!!

    Also, Joanna, im going to Charleston at the end of October too but, girl, have you seen the forecast?? I’ve been checking everyday hoping the rain clouds leave my weather app!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes the forecast isn’t ideal!!! Hoping it clears up in the next couple days :)

    • Ker says...

      “Go back to Puerto Rico!” This is hilarious.

    • Magdalena says...

      haha! this (meaning: ‘go back to…’) happens to us every time we come back from a getaway!
      Alternatively: ‘Are you back already?’

  42. Meredith says...

    As a young, married adult who often gets asked to do last minute overnight babysitting favors for surrounding family with kids, I ask for one consideration from all those leaving kids with family: please keep in mind that while I love your rambunctious kids, I don’t necessarily want to drop everything I have planned that weekend to watch them. Be considerate to your “babysitters” and be sure you plan your trips well in advance so your loving niece, nephew, or sibling doesn’t feel pressured into watching your kiddos so you can go have a last-minute getaway. Sometimes people don’t realize that just because we don’t have kids and are in our 20’s we are still very busy people that sacrifice a lot when we give up a weekend to watch your kids.

    • Sandhya says...

      Speaking as someone who is fortunate enough to have very committed grandparents who live near us and will happily take care of our son so we can go on trips together: I would NEVER ask them at the last minute to do overnight babysitting for a vacation (as distinguished from an emergency). You are completely right to object. Your time is precious, too!

    • Liza says...

      I completely agree with this. I love my friends’ kids and my nephew and niece so much. But sometimes I feel like my time is not valued when those same friends or family members ask me the day-of (or even a day or two before) if I can babysit their children that night after work. As someone who’s trying (not-so-successfully) to complete a dissertation in the evening, I would appreciate not being asked to babysit during the week, certainly not at the last minute! I’ve gotten a lot better about saying, “I’m sorry, weeknights are difficult and I’d love to watch her/him this weekend,” but I still feel guilty saying it. And I don’t think I should be feeling guilty about that! I’m 40, so it doesn’t matter how how old you are, the perception seems to be that if you’re single, you have all the free time in the world, when in reality, I feel as if I am often juggling the emotional and other needs of my extended family and friends, not to mention my demanding job, school, etc. instead of focusing on the needs of one (or several) precious kiddos and partner of my own.

  43. Herma, the Netherlands says...

    We once booked a luxurious hotelroom in our home town and actually rode over there on our bicycles (it’s a 10 minute bike ride :)); it was so much fun to see the hotel clerk trying to hide his confusion when we asked him if the hotel had a safe place to stall our bikes for the night.
    We had the best weekend ever!

  44. I have no kids, but I was a kid who had parents who traveled a lot.
    Most of the time we stayed at home in our house with a set of grandparents or, if it was summer time, with my aunt and uncle (they lived in the burbs so we called ourselves their ‘fresh air children’ when we visited).
    My folks would make a little container of Hershey’s kisses for each of us so we could have a ‘kiss’ each night they were gone. It worked sometimes but more often than not my brother would gobble his on the first night.
    We did short phone calls (because it used to be insanely expensive!) but we mostly did fine without them around, at least until the end of the trip.
    When we were older, my mom’s friend would stay with us. It was no big deal, it was actually fun to be the ones who knew how things worked around the house, etc.
    The most memorable ‘parents away, grandparents here to stay’ memory is from when I was just a little first grader – my grandma dropped me off at school and a boy in my class said, “Are your parents dead?”
    Let’s just say he experienced some good old fashioned first grade justice later that day…

  45. Carolyn says...

    This is exactly our experience as well. :) We’re fortunate to have grandparents close by who have graciously held down the fort while my husband and I have snuck away for much needed “Grown Up Time”. The anxiety leading up to the trip can be overwhelming, but for me, it usually disappears once we’re off and it’s so fun to be reminded how much we enjoy each other’s company and undivided attention.
    We took a week long trip to Ireland last summer with another couple and left our 4 year old and 2 year old with grandparents. Before we left, our 4 year old son handed us his favorite toy – a small dump truck that fit in the palm of my hand – and asked us to take it with us. Every day we would find the most scenic and silly ways to take pictures of the dump truck and would send them back home to Grandma – the dump truck hauling sand on the shore of the Aran Islands, dump truck perched on top of Daddy’s glass of Guiness on a patio in Galway, dump truck at the Cliffs of Moher! Our son loved it and we had fun finding new and silly ways to incorporate the dump truck into our pictures. Now, even for shorter work trips of a day or two, our kids will often choose a small toy to send along with me or my husband and they love to see their toys (and mom and dad) in silly new locations.

    • Ramya says...

      I love this idea!

  46. Alli Horst says...

    We have started doing an overnight swap with good friends. We just watched their kids this weekend for about 16 hours so they could get an overnight in downtown. Keeps it affordable and I love that my kids get time with another family I love so much. We’ve been doing date night swaps for years and just realized that extending it overnight is only 20% more effort and double the fun for the couple going out! With 7 kids between us, it would be hard to make this happen without our arrangement. Plus, I am a big believer in the power of missing your children. I love missing them and then being reunited!

    • L says...

      This is basically my dream. So glad that you have this!

  47. Lindsey Fox says...

    My husband and I just got back from a 6-night vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. First time away from our boys (5 and 2.5) for more than 2 nights. And…now that we’re back I could have written this exact post! It was so freaking glorious. Totally reminded us why we fell in love like crazy idiots 11 years ago. There will always be a million reasons not to go, especially with little kids, but now that I’ve done it, I’m firmly in camp JUST DO IT. The trip. The sexy times. All the ITs. Haha.

    Doesn’t have to be a fancy hotel or a hip travel spot or an instagram worthy restaurant. Just you and your person, giddy with excitement to be together. Without your kiddos.

  48. Allie says...

    God bless you for not referring to your children as “my littles” nor yourself as “this mama.” [prayer hands emoji]

    It’s what sets CoJ apart from basically every other blog on the internet.

    • Lizzy says...

      Oh my gosh, this comment had me cracking up! For some reason the term “littles” drives me batty! Glad I’m not the only one!

    • Annalisa says...

      hahaha…. oh my gosh yes.

    • Diana says...

      Agree agree agree!!!!!

    • Ker says...

      And no “hubby”! (I’ve been guilty of using the term “littles” in the past. Now I can see how annoying it is and hereby promise to never utter it again :-p Allie, you are doing a public service.)

    • Emily says...

      I wish I could upvote this!! “This mama” and “this mama heart” makes me crazy. I know it’s supposed to sound sincere but I always feel it does the opposite!

  49. julie m says...

    when I was a kid I had 4 brothers and sisters, pretty young to teenage, and our vacations were always fishing and camping trips a couple hours from home… always the whole family and my grandparents. I guess one year my parents decided they were going to go away for a weekend and dropped us off at my grandparents house… they got 2 hours into the trip and my serious-homebody dad made my mom turn around and come home because he just couldn’t be away from us. They have since divorced and tell this story in different lights, but I always think of it as so sweet that he couldn’t do it. Meanwhile all of his now-adult kid’s will gladly take solo trips away from their kids…. and he still won’t go on vacations without us.

    • Julee says...

      That’s a sweet story. I am your dad at heart.

    • Julee says...

      That’s a sweet story about your dad. I’m like him when it comes to leaving my kids.

  50. Katie N says...

    My husband and I need this, but it feels like such a burden to ask family/friends, even for a night. My MIL is fantastic and comes to help several times a year when my husband does week-long travel, but she’s not readily offering up full care (5 yo, 20 month old). My mom was an only child and we were fortunate to have grandma live 10 minutes away when we were kids – my parents got a LOT of free care including trips. I’ve already spoken about how much I want to help with grandkids should my boys become parents – it takes a village and I feel our generation has limited support that other generations may have taken for granted. I do like the sleepover idea, so maybe we can wrangle that in a few years with neighbors.

    • NancyD says...

      A 68 year old grandma here: My experience now with helping my adult kids and their families is the opposite of what you describe in terms of generational differences. My parents loved my kids and spent time with them but certainly weren’t available/willing to do overnight child care. I have made it a priority and I notice that many of my retired friends have too. Maybe it’s because many of us were the first generation of women who both had a career and raised a family—we know how very hard it is and also we are wallowing in the fun of not working and being with the grandkids now!

    • AJ says...

      Hi Katie! Just thought I’d offer up some thoughts as one of the people who doesn’t have any kids while almost all their friends do (which is wonderful!) Do you know what, I used to offer to babysit. And I truly meant it, I would have been so happy to do that, to give them some time to themselves or whatever they wanted. It felt like it was never taken seriously though. Maybe it was a touch of paranoia on my part but sometimes I’d end up worrying that maybe because I’m single and child free they just didn’t trust me/think me capable. So I stopped mentioning it in the end to protect my own feelings! (I know there’s a LOT of projection in me even thinking that and it’s really not about me who they chose to trust to care for their kids! But I’m human and sometimes very aware of my non-parent status). I would be so thrilled and really honoured if a friend asked me to look after their kids! I guess what I’m saying is, you never know, maybe we should just ask! One friend might say no, too busy/can’t help. But another might be delighted!

    • Kimberly Goodson says...

      I have thought often about how things have changed between generations of women raising children. In moments of frustration, I wonder where my village is, or why can’t I have the convenience of a multi-generation home (something I grew up in, but in all seriousness, would not want my parents or in laws to live with us, ha). My mother must continue to work for at least 5-10 more years and has expressed sadness that she can’t watch my 10 month old. I don’t want her to feel any worse, so I haven’t ever told her how desperate I am for more support and crave it from her; she is such a tender and thoughtful caretaker. I know if she could, she would be around more. Among my friends that have children, the support each mom has varies so much between them. Between physical distance, economical reasons, and a dozen other reasons.

    • Shannon says...

      I feel this a lot. I’m surrounded by family but have very little dependable support. Everyone has their own lives and, even though there is SO MUCH love for my children, I’m on my own. (My husband travels weekly as a pilot so I really am on my own a lot.) I’d absolutely die for a weekend alone with my husband and I’m encouraged that Joanna has found loving babysitters she trusts for this task.

    • Angela says...

      Katie! In the same and different ways, I feel this tension!

    • Hannah says...

      Hi Katie and AJ and everyone!

      Wanted to echo what AJ said. I’m also single and childless. I’m 29. Myself and another friend watched a friend’s 2 kids (4 yrs old and 1.5 yr old) overnight for one night for the start of our friends’ trip to Iceland for the dad’s 40th birthday. I’m very willing and happy to watch my friends’ kids. It’s not a burden. Maybe you have friends or people in your circle, church, co-workers, who would be happy/honered to help out and spend time with your kids if you ask. I love kids and don’t have any of my own yet, so I enjoy the chance to take care of my friends’ kids and spend time with them, which allows them to getaway for date nights and their first child-free trip!

  51. agnes says...

    I totally agree on the no contact/no phone, it is so healthy for our children to miss us and to feel they can live on their own.

  52. Maaike says...

    Crying with laughter and recognition: flying without kids is basically a SPA :) Sooo true!

    • t says...

      Want to know what else is a spa: jury duty. you hardly ever get called and you just get to sit and read while you wait. it. is. heaven.

    • Alli Horst says...

      My husband and I both were chosen for jury duty this fall, but we both needed to defer for different reasons. They let us choose our make-up date and we scheduled it to go in on the same day! Jury duty date. A romantic and relaxing way to spend the day… When you have 4 kids at home.

    • Emily says...

      Oh my gosh, yes to the Jury Duty thing! I LOVED it when I got to serve this year. So quiet and they make you take 1.5 hour lunches! The best.

    • Jen says...

      I’ve newly discovered that going to the dentist solo is also a SPA! Sitting in the waiting room with magazines, laying back and closing your eyes, chatting with adults uninterrupted!

    • Vanessa says...

      I love the jury dury/spa idea. Once I had jury duty for several days and was able to begin and finish a cross stitch project!

  53. Nina Nattiv says...

    My husband and I work a lot. I’m lucky if I’m home before dinner and he doesn’t even see them for days at a time (the reality of being doctors). So we aren’t too excited about leaving the girls for a weekend. We finally took a solo trip right before they turned six because it just wasn’t logistically possible to take them. They had a great time with my parents, we had a great time, but I didn’t feel like it was some magical experience that brought my husband and I together.

    What works for us is staying at all inclusive hotels that have amazing kids clubs. We get to be with our girls all day, then we drop them off at kids club and have dinner alone, then pick them up to watch a show. Its a magical combination for all of us.

    • Julee says...

      That actually sounds nice. Especially for your family situation. Good for you for knowing what you like/need for “getting away”.

  54. Christine says...

    While I love a kids-free trip (just got back from one, in fact, and it was divine), and I embrace the family vacation, my favorite is opting for a two-in-one!

    On a trip to Prague with our then 14-month old, we found a babysitter so we could enjoy two very full nights out sans baby. We did it again in San Miguel, Mexico, this time with a 2 1/2 year old and a 3-month-old.

    We don’t have the financial means to bring a full-time babysitter or nanny—not even close. And so I deploy my networking skills so I’m not plucking a stranger from the internet. The key becomes asking around — finding who you know in a city who might know someone who has little kids. (I realize this approach won’t work for every city, but thus far, we’ve been successful.)

    And we can also steer travel somewhat with that goal in mind. This spring, we plan to celebrate our 5-year anniversary in the city we eloped to (Copenhagen). Perhaps unconventionally, we’re bringing the kids. As luck would have it, in since eloping, my firm acquired a firm based there and so, boom, I now have colleagues to ask about local babysitters. :)

  55. Anne St Jean says...

    My parents had some good friends when us kids were little who were childless and had a gorgeous house in the middle of the woods with a hot tub and great views. They’d swap lives with my parents for a few days sometimes and take care of us and we LOVED it, since they’d let us watch movies and make us food and talk about books for hours. Definitely doing that for my friends someday (if I ever have a house nice enough to offer ha).

  56. Silver says...

    Oh you have to get away – it does the most amazing good for your relationship – seriously, 40 minutes into it you will suddenly feel so much love the this person that you’re whole body will settle. You’ve got this! I had a very sick baby/child so I understand the fear, I really do. The first time my husband and I went away my parents stayed (they always come to my house as then. my son can play with his friends/his own things/they can take care of the pets too – ILOVE YOU. MUM AND DAD). My husband and I booked into the fanciest but closet hotel – seriously we were about 10-15 minutes away (the hotel had a Japanese steam bathroom in our suite, and a horizon pool and they made us dinner and breakfast – oh it was divine). That way we wasted no time in travel, and so while we were there – we relaxed. I think we usually only manage a night away but soon we are doing two nights – YAY. We don’t tend to call our son – but I check in with my mum a couple times. That way if he wants to talk to me he can, but mostly he’s taking full advantage of pancakes, iPad time without a timer, and getting my dad to do all sorts of crazy things for him. It is super stressful getting my house clean enough for my mum – but you know what – to spend an evening with this guy I fell madly in love with is so great. It really puts my life into perspective. Before I had kids I had a friend who said that every anniversary or birthday she and her husband leave the kids with a grandparent and stay in a fancy hotel in the city where they live – it’s just one night to be together. All their girls have grown up now and the wonderful news – my friend and her husband are still so utterly in love! I really think the nights spent in those fancy hotels were a big secret – parenting is hard, and parenting a child whose life has been precarious is really tough – there is a look that I am sure passes between your self and your partner – a look that carries memories and fears that are giant in magnitude – a night away does so much to calm and recharge you. Good luck (it would be so awesome if you checked in with cup of jo if you do go away for a night – it looks like there are so many of us who are wishing you a wonderful time).

  57. Marie says...

    In a strange twist, all of these comments make me feel like I’m one of the only ones who really doesn’t have that difficult of a time leaving my kids for a few nights. I adore my children and enjoy being a parent, but I am such a better parent and person when I get some solo and/or couple time. To be clear, I completely understand it’s a privilege to actually be able to take a solo or couples trip. What I’m reacting to is what seems to be most people’s comments/feelings that even if money or family help are no issue, they would still have difficultly leaving the kids for a trip.

    • Lynn says...

      You are not alone! Maybe it’s because I started early, but I don’t have a problem with leaving for a few nights. However, I’ve only ever done 3 nights away.

    • t says...

      I have no problem leaving my kids. We go on a vacation every year without them (5-10 nights) and it is a piece of cake. the kids have a BLAST because we plan all sorts of activities for them. I do have to demand/guilt family into watching them (no one ever offers) but I don’t have any shame because we need the time.

      I do fully encourage the no phone/no facetime especially when they are young and the adult focused locations.

    • Teresa says...

      Definitely not just you. We left our 18-month old for 12 days and my 2 and 5-year-olds for 14 days and both times it took a solid 10 days to really miss them and be excited to get home. Which I refuse to be shamed about. I love my kids dearly but I NEED independence to feel like a healthy human and we are lucky to have amazing childcare and some family that help out too.

      One tip if you do want to get away: Take advantage of birthdays and anniversaries as excuses to ask for help. I haven’t had a birthday party in years because it’s such a great excuse to get out of town for the weekend!

    • Emily says...

      You are totally not alone. I love my daughter more than life itself, but I also love ditching her.

    • Angela says...

      Haha, same! My boss is pregnant with her first, so maybe she will get it soon, but she feels bad for asking me to travel. And I’m like- “please give me an all-expenses paid trip away from my family, once a quarter and I’m a happy gal!” I’ve also had close friends tell my husband and I that “they didn’t have kids, so they could leave them” in response to our once (or twice) yearly kids-free travel. Sucks to be them, I guess! My parents never went on vacation, with or without us kids, and it was part of my marriage contract that we TRAVEL!

  58. cg says...

    We have never left our daughter at home with a sitter/grandparents, etc. Instead, we drop her off (heh heh). The first time she was 2.5 years old. She cried so hard that after the one night she refused to go into the room she slept in at my parents for a while. My dad actually scolded me, saying it was too early. I think he was just as traumatized as my daughter. I felt so bad, we didn’t do that for another couple of years. But since then she’s come to look forward to spending weekends, or even week long stays at her various grandparents’ homes. When she was younger and staying a week, the grandparents would text us daily to let us know how the day went. As she got a bit older (8-10ish) we would call once on Wednesday to say hello and I love you, and check in. Now she’s 14, has her own mobile, and we’re lucky if she will respond back with a text while she’s away at Camp Grandparents. Hahahaha!

  59. Emily Pond says...

    You guys – my husband and I are heading on a 10 day trip on Wednesday. Alone!! What the heck?!
    We live in Canada (east coast) and we’re off to visit my sister in Tokyo. We have three kids (2, 5 & 10) and my mum will move into our house the whole time. I’ve been super excited all along, but now, with less than 48 hours to go, I’m in full on panic mode! This post is actually making me feel more anxious because our trip is so much longer than everyone else!! Any long trip people out there?!
    I know our kids will be safe and loved. I know we will have an absolutely amazing trip. Repeat ad infinitum ;).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Definitely long trips out there! My friend went to Italy for two weeks with her husband and said it was the best ever. And another friend did a work month-long trip to Antarctica (!) and had the time of her life. I’m sure you’ll have the best time!!!

    • Clare says...

      I was 7 or 8 when my parents took a 10-day trip and left my younger siblings and me with grandparents. Even now, 20 years later, that trip holds some mythology for me. I was so excited to go to Napa as an adult and see what they’d seen! I hope all goes well for you.

    • Nancy says...

      We went to northern Chile for 10 days from NYC when my son was two years old. We were two flights and 14 hours of flying time away. It was the most amazing time for everyone. My son and parents got to bond (they moved into our apartment), my parents had the day free while my son was in day care to explore NYC, and I got 10 nights of the most blissful sleep! Win all around. And I have friends who have left their children for 10+ days. You’re not alone!

    • Teresa says...

      Yes! Went to Argentina and left 18mo for 12 days and Egypt and left 2 and 5 year olds for 14 days. It was THE BEST. Once you get on the plane you’ll start to feel more relaxed. Enjoy!!

    • Rose says...

      My husband and I have done countless short weekends away but also two long trips- 12 days in Mexico when our son was 6 months old, and 10 days in Iceland this year (he’s now 3 and a half). The first time he was too little to really understand Facetime but we did it anyway. The second time, we were able to explain to him what was going on, prepare him for a “very fun staycation with Grammy and Pop”, and Facetime a few times. He stayed with my parents who he is very safe and familiar with- they watched him full time during his first 18 months while I finished grad school and worked. Anyway- my point here being, your kids will be fine, they will have a great time with your mum, and you and your husband will have such a deliciously long time to reconnect and explore together! I’m a firm believer that one way to be excellent parents is to be nurturing to your own marriage/partner, and a long trip (away from work, stress, and tiny people needing every. damn. thing! is a lovely way to put your relationship first, even just for 10 days :) Have fun!

    • Marie says...

      tokyo is AMAZING. the jet lag is insane.

      also your kids will LITERALLY always remember these 10 days. it will feel like 10 months in their memory and will fondly remember their time with Grandma. so so so good for them and you. have the best time. xx

    • Jordan says...

      We just got back from 10 days in India for a wedding! Left 1 and 3 yos at home with grandparents who split the duty each doing 5 days. It was 100% worth it and we had the BEST time! You will be so happy you did it, enjoy!

    • Etsy says...

      You’re not alone! I’ve done two two week long trips away from my 3 year told and my bro and sis in law have done 1 month long trips away from their toddler! As long as they are in good care it’s really our own anxiety we need to deal with! I have never regretted a trip away and will always be up for one in the future!

    • Emily Pond says...

      Thanks everyone! I love this community! xx

  60. Tracy says...

    We’ve left our 2 year old twice – once for a trip to LA and once to NYC. I always get so nervous and want to back out, but as soon as the airplane lifts off the ground, I’m happy as can be. The hardest part is the beginning, but once you’re on your way, it’s amazing!

    Plus, we don’t have family nearby so when my in-laws come out to do this for us, it’s something good for both them and my son as well. It’s time together they wouldn’t get normally.

  61. annie says...

    could i get the name of the new haven b&b? just married and my husband and i are saving up for our international honeymoon trip so in the meantime, we plan to do mini-honeymoon weekend trips close to nyc– new haven is on the list :) thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hi Annie! I wish I could remember it! I tried to find it when I was writing this post and nothing looked familiar. I’ll keeping thinking!

  62. Isabelle Gallant says...

    My husband and I took our first no-kid trip when our daughter was 5. Before that it just didn’t seem logistically or financially possible since all of our parents live far away. We couldn’t afford a big trip, so my mom came to visit and we literally took transit across town to stay in an airbnb for 4 nights! We live in Toronto, and because it’s such a big city, we chose a neighbourhood we didn’t know very well and we really felt like we were in a different place! It was super relaxing and freeing. We went to the art gallery and a saw a musical, but there was also a freak ice storm (in April!) so we spent most of our time cuddled on the couch watching Netflix and smoking weed. I’m so glad we chose to do it even though we couldn’t take a big fancy vacation. On the plus side, my mom SO appreciated some solo time with her granddaughter! We can’t wait to do a repeat of this next summer when our daughter is old enough to fly on her own to stay with her grandparents!!

  63. Anon says...

    While it’s a different scenario than watching children while parents are on vacation, we watch our two-year old grandson nearly every weekend, Friday through Monday morning, and have since he was a few months old … my tip is to limit calls home to talk with the kids. Most often they’re having a good time and it’s almost “out of sight, out of mind” and when asked if they want to say Hi to Mom/Dad, the answer is at times a resounding “NO!” which makes you feel bad. Photos back and forth can be fun if connection if desired and now even littles can enjoy seeing pics of mom/dad. For me, sending photos to my stepdaughter is a way she can connect and know all’s fine while she’s working – often I’ll just send his happy grin at mealtimes so she sees what he’s eating (or what his choices are, more accurately, ha).

  64. Jeanne says...

    This could not come at a better time… for our NEXT adult getaway! After 12 years of parenting and no adult-only vacations my husband and I JUST got back from a weekend away. We went to the Cape for the weekend (driving distance) and left our 3 daughters with my very capable parents and a visiting aunt from CA. It was amazing. The girls were nervous at first, since we’d NEVER left them, but they love my parents and are comfortable in their house AND they got to spend time with their great-Aunt, so bonus points! My husband and I had a nice time and can’t believe we waited 12 years to do it. I think we’ll need to do this once a year, for sure.

  65. Emily says...

    Yes! We recently returned from 4 days inVancouver BC and it was soooo good for our marriage. Because it was a last minute offer of my MIL, we picked somewhere within driving distance (5hours) and can I say having 10+ hours in the car to just talk and listen to 90s music and reminisce was just as good as the planned activities. Also, tip, don’t over plan your days! We made this mistake one of our first kid free trips and packed so much in each day that we were exhausted! Not how you want to come home to your kids! This time, we had a few loose plans and then played it by ear and came home sooo rejuvenated.

    • Emily says...

      Also want to add, even though we both have very generous parents who will watch our kids overnight, I have SUCH a hard time asking. It feels like such a big ask when both sets of parents have multiple other grandkids, jobs, life, etc. My husband and I have already decided that once our kids start having their own children that we’ll just let them know up front that part of their birthday or Christmas gift each year is a guilt free week of babysitting from us. Of course, we hope to be able to help as much as we are able, but I want them to know that they can plan on at least once a year getting away!

    • Katie N says...

      YES – this. We’re not fortunate to have family that offers, and I’ve already thought about how I want to do it for my kids, should there be grandkids. Or grandnieces – basically any way I can help with other’s people kids once I’m out of tiny kid world, I want to.

  66. bethany says...

    I know pets are different than kids, but this post reminded me of our trip earlier this summer to Europe, and we had to leave our beloved pup. We booked him with a new-to-us dog sitter because our usual people weren’t available and it Did Not Go Well, and within the first couple of days my sweet father-in-law had to drive five hours to go pick him up. It was a disaster, my anxiety was through the roof, and it made me wonder if I would ever go on vacation once my husband and I have ACTUAL kids. But it worked out okay in the end, and I’m very grateful for in-laws who will clearly take good care of their grandkids if they’d go that far just to take care of their grandpup.

  67. Emily says...

    I agree with not doing face-time, it was never ideal time-wise for either group, they had a hard time focusing, and it made the kids upset. Instead, we’d take little videos throughout the day and send them so that when the kids were ready or wanting it, they could watch. Plus, face-time was just a lot of shouting ‘hi, we miss you” where as videos are a lot of sharing neat parts of your trip, “here’s a funny bird” or “look how big this doughnut is!”

    • Kathleen Evans says...

      Second this! Videos are so much more fun and less likely to provoke sad feelings — here’s Mom riding a bike on this silly bridge / Dad eating a giant ice cream cone / both parents smothering the phone with hugs and kisses. Plus, when the kids wake up at some ungodly hour and feel a pang of missing us, their grandmother (or whomever) can whip out a fun video so they can “see us” while we sleep the morning away in some tranquil location. Win!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so sweet!

  68. Kirsten says...

    We recently had our first night away from our daughter (who’s two) and it was ah-mazing. We all went to Chicago and we left her at her grandparents house for just one night and stayed in a hotel. My FIL kept joking to us that all we were gonna do was talk about her when we were alone but, nope, not once. Barely even thought about her after we drove away. It felt so nice to enjoy each other and reconnect! And seconding the advice not to FaceTime. They seriously don’t need to see you.

  69. Anni says...

    I went on girlfriends weekend trips as soon as our older daughter was 1.5 years old. After a weekend getaway, I feel ten times more powerful and energetic again!
    My husband and I do nights away when our kids (now 5 and 7) stay ar my or his parents.
    And what we feel ist the very best: our kids go on vacation with their grandparents for 5 nights each summer. So we get so stay home, work, cook together, go to restaurants and bars just as we like with no schedule to follow. Reminds us a lot of the days when it was just the 2 of us :)
    And when the kids come back – oh man, tears of joy!!

  70. KY says...

    I don’t have kids, but cats, and I feel all of the above applies to us, too :) What a lovely post! x

  71. Lana says...

    I love all the posts about getting away and spending alone time with your partner, but maybe you could do a list on how to get the romance back? My husband and I are 16 years in with three kids and I feel like most days we are just roommates at this point. I’m still nursing out youngest so my sex drive is almost non existent and I think the lack of intimacy makes him crabby. But then his crabbiness makes me not want to have sex. It’s a viscous cycle I’d love advice on how to get out of.

    • Lana says...

      Vicious. Thanks auto correct. Lol!

    • Lisa says...

      Before becoming a mom I had no idea how physical it is. A little person who wants to be on you all the time, which is sweet but by the end of the day does not make me feel like physical intimacy with my husband. What we have found works for us: if we have sex less than three times a month he can complain, three or more times a month suck it up until this toddler phase is over. And then I initiate intimacy at least once a week that isn’t sex: sleeping naked, showering together, making out on the couch. It’s not always perfect but we just keep trying. And he knows intimacy is way more likely if he takes our daughter to the park and does the bedtime routine and gives me a chance to catch my breath. Hang in there and if you feel like maybe it’s more than being a tired mama of three reach out to a trusted doctor. But mostly just practice being compassionate with yourself.

    • Amy says...

      Lana, we are twins. Exact same scenario here.

    • Heather says...

      Oh, goodness, been there. I don’t know about you, but nursing basically killed my sex drive. Like, from someone who could have it almost every day to my husband half-begging once a month. So don’t discount the hormonal piece.

      This is not a prescription, as I have no idea whether it would work for everyone, but….I realized things were bad when I was fantasizing about an ex all of the time. I started thinking about what it’s like to be newly in love…and for me, that’s lots of sex. So instead of trying to convince myself that I felt really in love, I just convinced myself to have lots of sex. Like, every day. I went from feigning headaches to avoid it to initiating every day. Every. Single. Day. For months.

      After a month of feeling very unenthusiastic about the prospect of daily sex….voila! It totally works! Not only was my husband completely and utterly bewildered by this transformation, but he jumped in with both feet (from having been pretty disconnected, too). Lo and behold, when you’re having sex all the time, suddenly the stolen looks and pats on the butt and flirty texts all come back. Post-coital snuggling leads to candid talks about things that are hard. And I have a lot more patience with all of the other stuff. And, consistent with my original theory, I feel in love again.

      A year later, we’re not having daily sex, but we still have sex 2-3 times a week. Our kids are used to the sight of kissing parents all the time. And, I actually want it, and with him, not my old boyfriend.

    • Been There says...

      If you are still nursing, it is completely understandable that you aren’t feeling too much desire yet. Your hormones are in a different place! maybe some of these ideas might help: 1) Keep communication lines open (if possible) with hubby. Let him know that things will get better, it will just take some time.
      2) When you do get a chance to be alone, my advice is don’t over-think it. Just have some fun! At first it may feel a bit awkward, but once you’ve started again, it’s like riding a bike and it comes back, along with the desire. Don’t think, just do! :) 3) My hubby also gets cranky when he goes long periods without sex. Really let him know that you are doing your best, that you love him, and that things will improve as the kids get a bit older. 4) A final thought, as the kids get older, and you have more time with hubby, do little things throughout the day to get in the mood so that you are actually wanting some action by the evening! Lol. ;) Good luck, I know it can be tough, but it does get easier.

    • Kimberly says...

      That auto-correct is being a rascal😆. Something that helped me when I was feeling the pressure to do more everything when I was nursing was sharing my worries with a friend who mentioned, “You know there is a time and season to everything. You’ll get a chance to do this again.” It was a total lightbulb moment for me that I go back to time and again when I am wondering if my life has become whatever problem I am experiencing. I hope things cycle back to where you feel a happy balance again soon. In the meantime, when I’m not feeling it with my partner, I try to cultivate closeness: sharing thoughts and worries, holding hands while we watch a show, and touching toes while going to bed. Not super sexy, but that connection helps when things aren’t so viscous.

    • Lana says...

      Heather you are a superhero! Omg I don’t know of I could do every night but I’m going to try to commit to once a week. How did you get around the mental part of it? And also, how do I not feel like I could write a play by play of what comes next in the sack? I really need advice on spicing things up physically AND mentally. Cup of Jo comments for the win!

    • Been There says...

      Ok, I just read the other comments and… what Heather said!!!! Yes – She’s got it right! Just do it! Lol!!!

    • Lana says...

      But how do you “just do it” without feeling resentful? Sometimes sex just feels like one other obligation to someone else.

    • Heather says...

      I think because I felt empowered about making a choice – like, by golly, I’m going to freaking do something about this – I just did it. Oddly, because I was thinking about my ex (who I had a crazy passionate situation with), in the beginning my sex drive was fueled by some of that. That faded away pretty quickly once we felt more emotionally intimate. I think I didn’t feel resentful because it was me initiating all the time.

    • Caz says...

      In addition to what others have said above about hormones etc, I’d add that I think for most women it’s more about intimacy, not just sex, and having a focus on intimacy without an expectation of penetrative sex can take the pressure off and allow room for desire.
      If you feel your husband is not pulling his weight with domestic and child rearing duties, that lingering resentment (and exhaustion) isn’t going to make you want to jump his bones! So if that could be contributing, then an honest discussion about division of labour could help.
      Part of wanting sex is also about you feeling sexy. It’s important to have some time to recharge and reconnect with yourself and your body. Perhaps your husband could take care of dinner or bedtime routine solo while you have a bath, or exercise, or meditate – anything that makes you feel good and able to reclaim your ownership of your amazing body which has done so much.
      The other thing that could help is for both of you to not be goal oriented when it comes to intimacy – it doesn’t have to lead to penetrative sex. It could just be cuddling on the couch, or making out, or a shoulder rub, without any expectation that it will lead to anything further. You could also ask your husband to just take care of your pleasure without any expectation of reciprocation – I’d bet that if he focused on giving you an orgasm (whether that’s manual, oral or with toys) with no expectation of anything else, that by the time he was done you’d probably be well in the mood for more (and if not, that’s ok!).
      But mostly just be open, patient and kind with yourself and each other and remember ‘this too shall pass’ :)

    • Yulia says...

      Sex CAN feel like an obligation when you are doing it for someone else.

      Maybe make a list about why more regular sex will benefit YOU. And then think of it as something you are bravely doing for your future self: a person who feels more connected to her husband and is happier in her marriage.

      But it’s not all on you, Lana. It takes two. A frank talk with your husband about how you are struggling could go a long way towards fostering some emotional intimacy. You could use someone in your corner so you don’t feel the burden is solely on you. Maybe he can be that person in your corner. Sending love. <3

    • Lana says...

      These comments are all so lovely, supportive and encouraging. They made me tear up a little, actually. Thank you ladies so much. I’m going to commit to trying to be intimate twice a week and go from there. I wish there was a way I could keep you all posted but just know that I’m in it to win it. Hahah!

    • Emily says...

      I agree with the other posts and this isn’t a ‘fix-all’ but a small practical thing that helped when i felt exactly how you feel….

      I’d read terrible, steamy, ROMANCE NOVELS before bed.

      For me it was time to clear my head and ‘create space’ between putting kids to bed and being with my husband. The reading felt like something to care for me which put me in a better mood and the subject matter helped to get me in the mood

      best of luck and as with most things – time truly was what helped the most

  72. Kathryn says...

    We try and take a few days off during the school/preschool/regular childcare week. I find it is easier if everyone can have a routine or break during the day, especially if the kids are younger. Also, make sure to go for two nights! (see tip #1)

  73. I think the absolute most important thing is to set up a plan/environment for your kids so that they’re as happy or happier than if you were there. For us, this means sending them to their grandparents and not caring about the fact that they’re going to be spoiled and totally lack discipline.

    We miss our kids when we go away but we know that they don’t miss us because they’re having the time of their lives. That extra investment of time and most likely money (if it means flying someone in or getting tickets/games/etc.) means that we have zero guilt on our trips. Also, respectfully disagree on the Facetime point – we live for our daily Facetimes with them to ease our own longing for them, but we try to make sure to do it at a time when they’re at their best. Sending videos is a great alternative if kids’ emotions are running high.

    And one more important thing for the parents – we try to always make sure we’re doing something new together on a trip away. Whether it’s something romantic (arriving separately at a bar to “meet”), adventurous, or cultural, I’m pretty sure there’s science to prove that shared new experiences are the lifeblood of a relationship.

  74. It took us 3 years to go on an overnight away from our daughter, but it was amazing! We went to New Orleans around this time last year for our anniversary…it was so wonderful to get away from everyday life, but it was also so refreshing to do that in a city that was entirely new to both of us! I love your idea about staying at an adults-only place. We stayed at The Ace Hotel in NOLA, which is very adult-y but does welcome kids, and oh man I had to leave the lobby a couple times because I just cannot be around kids w/o thinking about my daughter! (And also I’m really empathetic, so I’d be stressed out for the parents trying to wrangle their kids, etc.!)

  75. Cynthia says...

    Another very fun alternative when the kids are older is sending THEM out on an adventure to loving grandparents or aunts and uncles and cousins. It is amazing to be HOME ALONE with your spouse. “Just” working feels like a walk in the park. We did this when our boys were 9 and 11 and they were gone two weeks. We not only got tons done around the house, but had plenty of time to have good conversations and meals out. The boys came home to a new puppy!

    • Anni says...

      Same! just read the comment after typing mine :)
      Owning the house again as a couple – priceless!

    • cg says...

      This.

      I was going to write this one in, but decided to check and see if someone else mentioned it.

      So much, this. Hahaha!

  76. Jane I. says...

    I would add… DON’T feel pressured to have romantic sex every night you’re away from the kiddos… I feel like it’ll kill the mood but if you do end up having sex, make it loud!

  77. Kate mccarthy says...

    I found it was better to budget paid help than to try to coerce grandparents I to the care taking role. My in laws are out of the question (just not good with children, anxious and rigid). My parents love our boys and have close, good relationships with them, but are reluctant to take on the role of caretaker. So much better to hire the most favorite and responsible sitter. The cost was insane ( I figure if I pay $40/day for dogsitting. I’d better pay at least $100/day for two boys plus a dog) but it was easier to take off knowing no one was doing us a favor. I hope I’m able to be more hands on someday if I have grandchildren.

    • t says...

      $100/ day is a bargain!! My sitters charge between $250 – $300/day.

  78. Kathleen says...

    My husband and I have gone away together for long weekends quite a few times, especially if he’s attending a conference and I can tag along, making the trip super affordable. Last June, we went to Belize for a week to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. My youngest (5) spent the week with my mom having a special “grandma week.” My middle (9) spent the week with my in-laws having a “grandma and grandad week.” My oldest (12) went on a road trip with my dad. Having special things planned for everyone really made it easier.

    We have also found it’s best not to talk on the phone with them – our middle son especially has gotten upset in the past when he hears our voices but is totally fine otherwise. The grandparents usually send us an email update every 1-2 days so it’s fun to hear about what they’re up to but from a distance.

    For our trip to Belize, where we were sometimes not reachable during the day, I did make a folder for each adult with all our travel info, a copy of our health insurance card, and a signed statement allowing them to make medical decisions for our children if needed – I found a template online that was easy to customize. This gave me some peace of mind. I fully recommend trips without kids – it’s so good for our marriage and allows our children to create special memories with other adults in their lives (who totally spoil them while we’re gone!).

  79. Antonella says...

    Upon our suggestion, our children started organising sleepovers at their respective friends’ houses when they started primary school. They made sure they were both out on the same night (usually Saturday). We didn’t go away, but started having evenings/mornings without children quite regularly. It was strange and quiet at first, but we got used to it pretty quickly! Of course their friends would come to our house on other occasions, so other parents could do this. There was never separation drama/anxiety on either side. The older one even went to Russia to visit a friend when he was 12. Now they regularly go away with the Scouts on camping weekends and expeditions. They are 12 and 15 (today!)

  80. Janna says...

    This post is timely- we just took our first overnight away from our 9.5 month baby. I was very hesitant to go, and hesitated to even book the trip until a couple days before. Once we had left, we had a great evening, really enjoyed reconnecting. Our daughter was happy with her grandparents. But when I went to go to sleep (which I was so excited about), I panicked not having her nearby, and it was pretty rough–I cried, almost made my husband drive us home around midnight. But–I finally fell asleep (by repeating a mantra that was basically like, you never have to leave her again, you will be buried together), and then we had a lovely morning before returning home around noon. I’m glad I had that sweet time with my husband–but if anyone else feels that way midway through, I think that’s normal and okay too!

    • Phoebe says...

      When my toddler was almost a year old, my husband sent me to a nearby hotel for a one-night getaway with a girlfriend. It was supposed to be fun and relaxing, but I’d never left my daughter before, and I hated it! I cried driving away, even though the hotel was literally 15 minutes away. Ha. Thankfully, my husband was very understanding…

  81. We have been doing this every year since our son was born – we have been to Paris, London, Venice for 3 day trips (we live in Austria which makes it easy). It is keeping our marriage healthy as we get to see the other person without the organization nitty gritty and constant calls for attention. We get to do grown up activities and have sex without listening for the patter of little feet. It is so invigorating! We even try to avoid talking about the kids though we don’t always manage. I highly recommend it!

  82. kathleen says...

    Perfect timing! My husband and I are just about to begin planning for a 10th anniversary trip next spring/early summer. Unfortunately our kids both require plains tickets now, but in the past, we have had them fly with us for the first leg of the trip, and my parents pick them up at the layover airport near them, and the kids have a week in heaven at my parents’ house!

    Would love to hear destination recommendations (that are not a beach or all inclusive resort)!!

    Also, I’m terrible at actual trip planning – what has worked well for you all in that?

    • Kathleen says...

      P.s. so far, our two non-kid vacations have been to southern Utah (lots of hiking, definitely not camping on that trip!) and Seattle, which was an awesome city to wander and explore and eat excellent food!

    • Chelsea says...

      Kathleen, Santa Fe is so romantic and beautiful! You can stay at a cozy hotel and walk to amazing restaurants and art galleries. There is also plenty of great hiking and outdoor activity as well.

  83. Sarah says...

    This, and trips with just my girlfriends, are two reasons I’m looking forward to the time I’m done breastfeeding (even as my heart breaks to think about weaning my nearly 1.5 year old – I’ve surprisingly been loving nursing). I’ve done work travel away, and while the sleep is excellent, the pumping and getting through the damn airport with all the milk being “tested” is decidedly not.

    • Julie says...

      Hi Sarah, my company just got a new benefit called Milk Stork. They will ship your milk overnight to home so you don’t have to deal with bringing it to the airport while you are travelling for work. I haven’t used it, but just wanted to share the info because I thought it was a cool option to support working/travelling/nursing moms.

  84. Caitlin says...

    Whenever we take trips away from our little one (usually for separate work trips), I try to think about how exciting it is for her to get to spend extra special one-on-one time with whomever she is staying with, her grandparents, cousins, or extra special friends. They often get to do really amazing and memorable things that cultivate their relationships. I am guilty of being preoccupied with my relationship with her, so I tend to forget that the relationships she has with other people in life are also so very important. Trips away from her help me remember that!

    Once when I was gone for a week-long work trip and my husband was gone for work for the last two nights of my trip, our daughter spent those two nights with her best friend and her family. When I picked her up in the morning, she couldn’t wait to tell me about all of their fun and adventures. It warms my heart to know how much our village loves our daughter.

  85. Kim says...

    My husband and I just came up with the idea of solo parent vacations. I’m taking my first solo/girl’s trip since I had kids this week. I have been a SAHM and basically been with the kids since they were born (5 years!) I actually worry what I’m going to do with all the free space in my mind that’s normally taken up by emotional labor, ha! We’ve taken a lot of trips (notice I say trips instead of vacations! Important detail!) with the kids but they are expensive and exhausting.

    • Kim says...

      I will also say, this idea came up because we do have a pretty great relationship. We really prioritize sex, date nights, etc so that I don’t really feel like we need a trip to reconnect. We’re pretty connected.

    • rachel says...

      yes! beware of this gremlin! i went away with my girlfriends and no one needed anything from me and my brain did not know how to handle this. i ended up focusing on shit that does not matter, like stupid insecurities. try not to let this happen to you and enjoy being able to walk at your own pace! exhilarating!

  86. Angela Robertson says...

    Anxiety attacks. If you’re prone to any kind of anxiety, DO prepare for an attack, to be safe. Since having kids, I’ve struggled with anxiety attacks which was never an issue before. Now, I have a set of techniques to help me when I’m having a full on attack. Cold shower, essential oils, meditation apps, sobbing into your beloved’s shoulder until you feel better – whatever your method is, be prepared to deploy as needed. On our first major vacation after having baby #2, I fully prepped to experience an attack and mid-week, I did. Being mentally ready to accept and power through, made it so much easier to get through the rest of the trip.

  87. Amanda says...

    I think the occasional trip without kids is a win-win-win. Parents get to be people and a couple first and put parenting on the back burner; kids get to experience some independence and be the “experts” on the house; and caregivers get an opportunity to have access to the kids without hovering parents.

    We typically do a trip a year in which we leave the kids at home with my (out of state) mom. Not only does she thank me for trusting her and giving her the opportunity to be one on three with the kids, but my kids have figured out that Grandma is so much more fun than their parents! I’m glad that they get to know each other in a way they might never experience in my presence.

  88. Natalie says...

    When I was 11, my parents went on a 3-week vacation to the UK (we are American). My siblings and I loved having our favorite babysitter stay for so long, and it was exciting to have a fun new routine and special activities. One thing we had to do while my parents were gone was write in a journal every day. They said it didn’t have to be long, but we should write about our day at school, or if we were mad at our sibling, or what we ate for dinner. They LOVED reading the journal when they came home, just as much as we liked getting our presents and seeing their photos once they had been developed (…it was a while ago!). Highly recommend this method to people who are taking extended trips, if you’re worried about “missing out” on your kids day-to-day while gone.

  89. Meghan says...

    Do actually go away! My parents once went away for 10 days and left us with the teenage girls from next door. They called once to see how we were doing – just one time in ten days! That’s unthinkable now. There was life before constant contact and it’s not a bad thing. Constantly calling and checking in confuses your little ones and cuts into your downtime! I’m always reachable if I have to be but when my husband and I are away, we touch base with our sitter daily not hourly. Endless updates are cute but mentally they keep you checked in and I’m looking to check out!

  90. Jackie says...

    This is hard for us to do, even though we’d love to try. We are a military family and move so often that it’s so hard to find a trusted sitter for overnights with our kids (1, 3, and 5). My mother-in-law is not able to watch our kids even for a few hours (she lives across the country anyway), and my parents are very much caught up in their own lives and not overly interested in spending time alone with our kids. I’m always mystified when people easily figure out who will watch their kids during events and work conflicts. We’ve resolved to be there for our kids (should they choose to have their own) in a way that we haven’t experienced ourselves.

    • t says...

      My parents aren’t overly interested either but I just express to them how much we need it and guilt them into it. I don’t do it for long periods of time and I don’t use them for regular babysitting but we do it for getaways.

  91. Now that both of our kids are in college, we are getting back to traveling as a couple. One of our favorite places to visit is Sandals Resorts. It is nice to go and put away your wallet, and just *be* together.

  92. Rezia says...

    This reminds me of a conversation I watched my parents have, the year after their youngest kid went off to college.

    Mom: “Why don’t we ever go on a vacation, just the two of us? I want to go to Paris!”
    Dad: “Well don’t you remember how you cried and called home nonstop the last time we tried to go to Paris?”
    Mom: “That was when [2nd child] was 2 years old!!” (literally, 20 years prior)
    They went to Paris together the next year, and had a wonderful time =)

  93. Jessie says...

    Also talk to your partner/spouse beforehand about trip expectations. My husband & I went to the Caribbean by ourselves for a few days & actually fought at first because we didn’t talk about what we wanted to do on the trip, individually & together. He was geared up for activities & adventure, I wanted to lounge on the beach with a good book. Some disappointment & resentment before we sorted it out. Now we know & plan some activities together & I also get some solo time (to read, explore) which I need.

  94. Brittany says...

    I smiled reading this, then realized that I was the one that asked the question! Thank you for taking the time to write this, Jo. My girls are now 5 and we went away for one night this month, but still haven’t left them for an extended period. Baby steps! Here’s hoping I leave them for more than a night before high school instead of college. 😊

    • Hilary says...

      Yay Brittany! I was really hoping we’d get the update that your time away went well 😊 So very happy for you!

  95. Elle says...

    We don’t have kids yet but one thing my husband and I always do before trips, to try and ensure things go as smoothly as possible, is talk about expectations. We will sit down and ask each other, “What kind of trip are you picturing?” Are we going to run around and see all the sights, or lounge at the hotel all day? Are we cooking for ourselves or eating out entirely (what’s our budget)? How much sex are you wanting to have? While some might find this unromantic, we find that it allows us to have to a fantastic trip that meets both of our expectation, with little to no conflict.

  96. Ellie says...

    My husband and I just got back from a two-night trip to San Diego, leaving our one-year-old with my parents. Your timeline was spot on; I was sad leaving him the first night and again in the morning on the way to the airport. But once we landed and realized the day was ours, we trip relaxed and reconnected!

    • Heather says...

      I’ve gone on about a dozen work trips since my kids were born, and I finally realized that the trip to the departure airport is the absolute nadir of the entire undertaking. All of the travel stress (Did I forget something? Where’s my passport? Will the security line be long?) PLUS being at the farthest point from seeing my kids again, chronologically (yet they’re so close! Should I go back and give them one more hug??) makes me miserable. The moment I step into the airport, it gets better, and the rest of the trip is fine. I just have to knuckle through that first bit.

  97. mali says...

    We live in another country from our parents (and all our family, actually), so we don’t have any family to watch our kids–and we have five of them! But we have managed to get away (only one night at time! :( Sadly…) by shipping out each kid to a different friend for the night. But the best thing we’ve just recently been doing is spending the whole day out on a mini-vacation (while a sitter watches the kids once they’re home from school) and then coming back late, late at night after everyone’s asleep. That way we get a day off to spend together and refresh our relationship without having to deal with all the setup of going away. We pack so much into those days and we can do that more often since they’re not “trips.”

    • Chelsea says...

      Mali, that is brilliant! So fun and also budget-friendly, no hotel or travel costs.

  98. Sara says...

    I have a semi related question- what if you’d rather bring your kids? My husband is always suggesting trips and I WANT to bring my kids because they’re so fun and the memories we make are great! I have no problem leaving them and they love when we do but it’s always more fun when we’re all together so I have a tough time wanting to travel without them

    • I am with you, Sara! Well, my son is only almost 8 month old, so maybe I’m still in the honeynoom stage. Last month we did 3 weeks in Italy with him and in my future plans it’s – “where can we go as a family?” He’s so much fun so I want to always take him with us, at least thats how I feel right now.

  99. Lynn says...

    If you haven’t ripped off the bandaid yet, do it as soon as you can. The sooner you do it, the more normal it is for the kids. My partner and I need to travel for work and occasionally we travel at the same time. I’ve been away on overnights since this kids were 4 months old. No tip compares to leaving the kids with people you trust, and people that will really play with the kids. WE ARE SO LUCKY to have nearby, amazing grandparents, to watch our kids. They cherish it and the kids are better, more adaptable people for it. To make it easier on me mentally I write out detailed notes/instructions/suggestions and even a packing list.

    By doing this, we’ve learned more about our kids because they are slightly different people without their parents arounds. If they stay out of your house, don’t pack ALL their stuff. You only think they need their 10 favorite books and toys. Let them explore all the new stuff at the other place. One tip, someone on COJ said to send little videos instead of calling. Highly recommend. And just ask that you get texted a couple pictures a day.

    • Emily says...

      Yes to the starting early! We’re very lucky that my parents will watch our boys and have since they were about 3 or 4 months old, sleeping okay. We rarely call while we’re away and it almost always is just fine, sometimes something comes up but they all figure it out 😏

  100. MK says...

    We did a trip to NYC last spring, and my parents came to our house and stayed with our 3 year old. I was definitely freaked out, but it was such a lovely time for him to have with his grandparents. And MAN did I relax in a way that I thought was no longer possible. As much as I love our little dude, that time away from him was life changing.
    We are headed to Charleston this weekend to celebrate our anniversary, just us! (I already mined the comments from that recent CoJ post for recs!!!)
    I think this is also something that gets easier the more you do it!

  101. Colleen S says...

    My parents would never go more than an hour away from us when we were kids (the exception being when they flew to New Hampshire for my dad to have meetings with his new bosses and to look at houses–we were in California). After we became adults (which took a while, since my youngest sister is 12 years younger than I am), they went to Hawaii (which is a three hour difference, since we’re back in California again). Other than checking in at dinner to make sure one of my sisters wasn’t being a terror, they didn’t call us.

  102. Christina says...

    How I wish this was something we could do…. We have no one to ask, my husband’s parents won’t have our children even for a night (but they’ll gladly have the cousins for a long weekend….) so we haven’t had a getaway without children for 17 years… It does sound wonderful though.

  103. Lara says...

    We have a 15 month old and your post is making me want to take a parents only vacation soon! I know he’d be fine with my in-laws since they babysit him while I work, but I don’t know if I’m ready to leave him for an overnight trip yet. Soon I hope!

  104. Jennifer says...

    Not the same, exactly, but my husband and I went on our first solo date last Friday, leaving our 5 month old with a baby sitter. I had ALL THE FEELINGS! But once we got to the concert (and had a glass of wine), I felt so much better. And it was so amazing to come home to my sweet, sleeping baby after an evening away. I felt like I just loved the whole world more!

  105. ximena says...

    My husband and I are going to NY in a couple of weekends, yay! We live in DC so it is only a 4-hour drive and that is what I can manage right now haha :D My son is two and so far we’ve only spend one night away from him and it was AMAZING!

    One thing my therapist told me that has really helped me is to focus on the relationships my son is building while with other people (grandma, aunts, sitters, etc.) because they don’t get to see them so often and I love that <3

    • Angela says...

      I had the same fears early on and felt real difficulty in sharing my kids with extended family (due to lots of working mom guilt and PPA). My therapist said something along the lines of how my responsibility as a mother is to create a community of people who love and care for my children. It was so freeing to know that they need to have the space to develop relationships of their own. What a gift to consider yourself beloved by many!

  106. MKW says...

    I found it’s easier to have someone stay in our home with kids than packing kids to stay with caregiver. Midwest. February vacation for us in Caribbean. Snow and ice for family /caregivers. So for ease of the caregivers I ordered Hello Fresh. My teens were excited AND I didn’t feel like I should prep so much food before leaving.

  107. Ruth says...

    A handy tool for having a conversation that’s not about logistics is the app “Card Decks” from the Gottman Institute – tons of silly, sexy, and serious topic starters for couples. My husband and I try to use it in the evenings once in a while.

    We’ve been away from our 3 year old for one night a few times, but that’s hardly enough time to really relax. We’re going to a cabin for my birthday soon, though, for TWO nights!

  108. Lauren says...

    We are in the midst of planning a getaway for a week in January but can’t decide where to go! Would like to go somewhere warm but places like the Caribbean are just too pricey for us at this stage, especially coming from the Midwest. We’re due with #2 in April so feeling like this is a priority for us to reconnect a little. Thinking of spots like San Diego or Florida or maybe Arizona because we love hiking and outdoor adventures, but I’m wishing we had some great recommendations of where to stay. We don’t have family near to watch our 2 year old, but my parents have graciously offered to watch him so we will be dropping him at their house in Chicago before heading south. Anyone have any great ideas? Thanks for the great post as a reminder that this definitely is worth making happen!

    • Sadie says...

      Florida Keys!

    • Mouse says...

      Tucson. The Desert Museum. Madera Canyon for hiking. Great food. One day in Phoenix to go to the Heard Indian Museum. Have the posole in the courtyard cafe if they’re doing it.

    • Chelsea says...

      San Diego and Arizona (we like Scottsdale and Sedona) are great. I’d also recommend Santa Fe. We live in Albuquerque, so it’s less than an hour for us. There are so many fun hotels in the city and you can walk to amazing art galleries and restaurants. And if you want outdoor adventures, there are plenty nearby: skiing, hiking at Bandelier or Tent Rocks are all really fun and unique.

    • Hilary says...

      Good for you, Lauren!! We did a kid-free trip to Dove Mountain, AZ and loved it! Such a peaceful beautiful desert getaway. Palm Springs is also really lovely in January with tons of resorts and funky hotels to choose from and plenty of outdoor adventures. Austin, Tx and hill country for a city/country getaway with reallllyyy good food. And Florida! We’re planning a trip to Sarasota in the winter and I’m so excited for the cotton candy sunsets and low key vibe. No matter where you go, hope you have a wonderful time and congrats on baby #2!

  109. Denise A. says...

    We’ve gone away a bunch of times beginning with a trip to Greece when my youngest was only 8 months old (!) to a trip this year (they’re now ages 6 &8). I put all the info the sitter/grandparent/etc. will possibly need – soccer practice logistics, favorite snacks, local fav playgrounds, pediatrician #’s, school drop off times, etc. – in one place. I type it all up in a document I can edit as they get older and jokingly call it “William and Anna Kate: A User’s Manual”. (They say babies don’t come with instructions…but mine do!)

  110. Christine says...

    Question about using babysitters for a trip like this: do you continue to pay their hourly rate (ie $20/hour for 24 hours) or do you settle on a daily rate? Curious how you plan this out.

    • Sarah says...

      Many years ago I was a nanny and the family would pay me my regular daily rate plus an “overnight fee”. It wasn’t my hourly rate x 24 hours since for 6-8 hours of it I was sleeping, but it was close as I was still “on the clock” during those hours. I want to say the overnight hours worked out to be about 50% of my regular hourly rate but I can’t remember exactly. I should also note that the family was *very* generous in their regular pay. Truth be told I would’ve done those overnight weekends with them for almost no additional pay because I loved the family and being with the kids so much, but the overnight work was definitely a nice bump in pay for a broke college student!

    • Natalie says...

      I’m not a mom, but I’ve been an extended sitter/nanny before, and it’s always been an agreed-upon rate (usually for the entire trip, not per day). I’ve only ever been the solo-sitter though, spending the night with the kids. It’s also been my experience that they leave cash or a card for essentials and fun things, and that I am supposed to be included on all the fun things that cost money (like snacks at the movies, ordering takeout, or whatever), as well as free use of the house/car/amenities. Sometimes I’ve gotten a tip as well, but not always.

    • Kim says...

      Great question! I’m curious, too.

    • Amanda says...

      When we’ve done a local overnight and had a trusted sitter stay for 24 hours, we agree on a set flat amount and specific departure and return times.

    • Liana says...

      Our sitter charges only for the hours “awake” so my kid wake up at 7 and goes to sleep 6:30/7, so we pay for a 12-hour day

    • Emily says...

      Most people I know do an hourly rate for the awake hours, plus a flat overnight rate (I.e. $150 or $200) for the overnight hours.

    • K says...

      As a sitter, there is usually an agreed upon flat rate! Definitely not hourly

  111. Kerry says...

    Build time into your schedule to have a beer or glass of wine at the airport! Not only does it help to slow you both down and begin to relax, but there is something romantic about a good airport bar — watching people rush by, seeing teary goodbyes or happy reunions, listening in on work conversations….

    • Lauren E. says...

      My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but we loooove a good airport bar drink. We’ll have one even before a super short flight. You’re right – it does feel romantic!

    • Dee says...

      This is such a great tip! Its a great start to your little vacation.

  112. Marcella says...

    Love this! I remember as a kid when my parents would go on a trip without us and my aunts would take care of us – I would be so confused like, WHAT? My parents have their own lives without us??? It would also be the worst because my mom’s sister is not a parent and didn’t know how to cook and would be so stressed just picking us up from school, making dinner, etc. lol. It’s funny my mom proposed to us this year that we should come with them for their 30th wedding anniversary trip – I was like mom wouldn’t we ruin your vacation?? Hahaha. I think since we are all adults now it will be different than vacation as a kid :)

    • Colleen S says...

      It is totally different–you are not obligated to be near your parents all day. It’s quite liberating, and it’s fun to run into them while you’re walking around.

  113. Kate says...

    I agree with everything said here. My parents went on a trip every year without me and I didn’t really even realise until I was about 14. They just sold it as someone is coming to stay/you get to…

    It is definitely worth doing. I’ll be cruising along thinking our marriage is all good. Then we go away, and I’m like “wow, you’re fun! You’re smart! You’re interesting! I really really really LIKE you.” Like I think I’m seeing him but then when I really SEE him, I realise how great he is when I’m not so distracted by life/kids/jobs. Do it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      > > “Then we go away, and I’m like “wow, you’re fun! You’re smart! You’re interesting! I really really really LIKE you.””

      omg yes! i feel this exact way!

    • agnes says...

      So true! our son went away for a few nights (which very very rarely happenssince our families are far away), and I was like “wow I love this guy! I had forgotten we had so much to talk about!” Honestly, we could have had a few more days without my son (whom I adore).

  114. Allison says...

    we recently did our first real trip away, 6 days and 5 nights with our best friends on a boat! I was terrified for at least three months before, and used that time to make a detailed spreadsheet with every piece of information my mom would need to know, including our log-ins and passwords to all bank accounts. Since we were gone 6 days i also wrote out a plan for each day (school pick up times, activities, etc.), and prepared frozen meals and other food. My mom also threatened to not watch our kids unless we got a will (we were leaving the country after all), which actually made me feel better to have in place. The pre-planning and freaking out helped, because as soon as we got to the airport, I was so tired of planning and being worried that I stopped, and we had an amazing and restorative time away. My kids were so excited to see Grandma for a week, and they had a great time too.

  115. Jenn says...

    I love this post and think while traveling with kids is awesome (and hard and tiring), traveling without kids is SO important and fun! I agree on the “no contact” rule… we found this just made our kiddo more sad and out of sorts when we tried to FaceTime (which, let’s be honest, was for us… not for him!).

    I also heard on a podcast recently that if you have kids who are “planners” or like to know exactly what’s coming up/going on, to start talking about the trip a week or two ahead of time, or even create a book or calendar with a guide to when you will be gone. You can add a selfie of you/your partner with your luggage for the day you are traveling (or even better, near a PLANE!), then what THEY will do the days you’re away (picture of Grandma, picture of school if they will still go to school, etc.), and then a photo of your family at the end for your joyous (and sometime teary) return. The interviewee shared that her kids will read the “trip” book the whole time they are away and have a better sense of what’s going on in their little world while their “usual” caregivers are not there. I haven’t tried this but I love the idea and will probably do it next time!

  116. Hilary says...

    LOVE this post! We spent a week in SF when our babe turned 1 to celebrate one year of being parents! We intentionally picked a place that we loved, but would be logistically challenging with an infant. I was SO anxious about leaving little one, and even wrote a 10 page document for the grandparents with every routine, contingency plans (when inevitably things go awry), snacks (and how to cut them of course!), etc. Excessive? Yes. But it helped ease my mind. The trip was amazing and it felt great to feel like a person besides “mama” for a week. I felt bad for leaving our daughter, but my husband kept reminding me that it’s important that our parents have special time with her as well. Now we’re planning one big trip just the two of us a year to reconnect and relax.

  117. Amy says...

    We did one romantic weekend when my son was two. It was truly magical, relaxing and we just fell in love again! With my second one only 5 months now, we’ll probably have to wait at least 7 more months however after reading this, it just got me all giddy inside! I can wait for our parent’s only vacation!!

  118. Ann says...

    We recently did this too and our kids ARE almost IN college! I highly recommend it even if it’s just for 2 freakin’ days!

  119. Chelsey says...

    This is such a timely post. My husband and I are taking off for the first time next month. My three year old could care less, she just wants to know if the grandparents will give her ice cream ;) but my son who’s 6 is very anxious about it.

    I can’t wait to read all the CoJ wisdom that will pour into the comments.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet boy you have! i’m sure you’ll have an amazing time. where are you two headed?

    • Chelsey says...

      We are headed to Vancouver (a short flight for us). Have you ever been? I think you would love it. I’m thrilled but nervous for my son.

      Also I had a major fan girl moment and screenshot your reply to send to my girlfriends!

  120. Amy says...

    Our marriage really needs this. I need to adopt a grandparent…sigh….

    • Hilary says...

      Amy-

      I hear you, mama. I’m really fortunate to have family nearby and constantly marvel how people raise kids without that village. Do you have a babysitter that could stay for the night? Or do you have friends with littles that you could do a weekend swap (take their kid for a weekend and then have a weekend to yourselves the next)? I’ve also known families who rented a beach house with another family and then taken turns with who “parents” and who is off for a few days. I hope some others have ideas for you!

    • Beth says...

      I hear you Amy! In the same boat.

    • b says...

      Amy I didnt even think about this until i read your comment. My husband and I are a few years away from kids but neither of us are close to our parents or siblings. We wont have family to depend on. We have great friends but all have their own responsibilities. What if you brought a friend, an older niece or someone of a babysitting age and rented a hotel room separate from yours that they could stay in. Or even one down the street from yours. Then try to stick to Joanna’s recs, no calls facetime etc and spin it as the kids are taking a vacay with auntie or uncle whoever. You’ll work out a plan with some creativity :)

    • Sophia F. says...

      Yep. This is what I’m thinking. My husband and I have six parents between us and two adult sisters and none of them will so much as babysit for a night, let alone a weekend. Our kids are six and four and we haven’t had a single night together without them since the oldest was born. And yes, we have friends, but we are relatively new to our city and our kids aren’t quite at the point where they’d be comfortable sleeping at friends’ houses. This kind of post just makes me really bummed, because it’s one of the times where all the ramifications of having unsupportive families (we’re not on bad terms at all, our family members are universally self-centered) really hit you.

    • Jackie says...

      Same, we don’t have the support to do this. And we haven’t really used babysitters so there is no one for us to leave our kids with! Hard without a village.

    • kath says...

      I hear you Amy. We also don’t have family that could support us with a night away and it’s so tough. Sigh. Definitely not a night away, but we’re going to take off a day of work and do a day adventure. that way the kids have their normal routine and we get to sneak away for at least a little bit. Good luck, mama. Hang in there.

    • Sarah says...

      This is one of the biggest reasons we won’t be able to have kids. Little to no family support and I don’t think we can do it on our own. This post makes me so sad!

    • Becky says...

      Right there with all of you. Our family is all out of town. When our kids were younger, when grandparents were in town visiting, we’d have them watch the kids for a night or two and we’d go somewhere an hour or two from home. But, without family nearby, they don’t understand our routines and it becomes a giant chore and a headache to even prepare to leave town. One time we returned and our oldest was screaming and crying, turns out my mother in law had kept him up until 10:00 the night before (he was 7 years old). That was the last time we left the kids with the grandparents.

      Now the kids are older and their routines are so involved, and there’s so much driving, that I wouldn’t even think of having either set of grandparents come into town and leaving them to deal with that. The grandparents are all older too. It would be a disaster. We do have two babysitters that I’d trust enough to leave with our kids and drive them around, but that is expensive and definitely couldn’t be done for more than a night or two at the most.

      It works well when you have trusted family nearby who are familiar with your city and your home and routine. But, when you don’t have that, it’s somewhat impossible to escape with your spouse, especially as kids get older and have more places to be.

  121. Elisabeth says...

    We try to take advantage of conferences when we can! We both went to Ft. Collins when my husband had a conference, picked a cute boutique hotel, went out together in the evenings, etc. We didn’t get to spend every moment together, but even the time we had was wonderful and it was a budget friendly way to get away!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s such a smart idea!

    • Kathleen says...

      Yes! My husband and I have done this a bunch of times. San Francisco, New Orleans, and even Paris! It makes a lot of financial sense because his flight and our hotel are paid for by his work. I like having some time by myself during the day to explore on my own and then we get to hang out in the mornings/evenings and maybe an afternoon if he can get away. The one down-side is my husband obviously has to spend some of the trip focused on work but spending time just the two of us, affordably, more than makes up for that.

  122. Heather says...

    Any time my husband and I have ever gone away for even a night, we ALWAYS end up fighting. I don’t know how it happens, but it almost always does!

    • Sandhya says...

      THANK YOU for writing this! This always happens to us, too. I try to cling to the hope that travel — even fun travel — is inevitably stressful and anxiety-provoking, so fights come with the territory, but it’s hard not to feel like we’re the only ones with conflict!

    • Ellie says...

      We’ve had this happen too! I think the stress of the trip and being away from the kiddo puts us on edge.

    • Angela says...

      I haven’t been in an airport (or foreign city) with my husband, unless we’ve had a fight. I love him very much and he puts up with me eagerly, but we fight. I do not take this as a stain on our relationship. More time together= more time to fight! My parents always said the key to their happy marriage was working different shifts, so when they saw each other they were only able to be loving. Vacations are ALOT of time together. No shame in the fighting!

  123. celeste says...

    I’m not ready for this and my kids are 11 and 9. It’s cool. I enjoy hearing about others’ adventures!

    • Lainey says...

      Thanks for this comment, Celeste. My kids are a few years younger than yours, but I feel the same way. We do a night away once or twice per year and that feels sufficient for now. We don’t have a ton of extra money for travel, and the kids are only young for so long. I’d rather include them in our adventures! My husband feels the same way, which is why this works for us. Definitely a “to each their own” scenario!

  124. Elizabeth says...

    I’m about to go to Maine with my husband for 3 days for a friend’s wedding, leaving my 11-month-old at home with my (wonderful, doting, competent) mother-in-law, so this timing is perfect. I’m nervous!! But also so excited!! We get to sleep in for THREE DAYS IN A ROW?! Thank you for the lay of the land, and for the reminder that it’s ok if it starts out hard – it’ll get better, and then great. (Isn’t that true for so much of parenting?)

  125. LJG says...

    We recently did this, and it was great, except the first ~two hours (before we had even taken off), when the kids’ grandmother was texting the following, approximately every 10 minutes: “B wants you to come home now.” “B’s calmer now.” etc. etc. HOW IS THAT HELPFUL? WE’RE NOT COMING HOME, SO WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? We barely got a single update the entire rest of the trip, just those first few hours when, in theory, we actually could have been guilted into scrapping it. Ugh.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the first few hours are the worst part, and that sounds like it was made even harder! so glad you ended up going for it xoxo

    • omg that is so terrible! and EXACTLY why my mother-in-law will never be asked to babysit for an overnight trip!

  126. Terri says...

    Put all your planning in beforehand….phone numbers, permission letters for your “guardian” to take your kids to the doctor, food and snacks and everything in place. Then the rest can be left to the adventure of the getaway! And, surprise or not, kids do love the adventure around mom and dad going away. It does not have to be a cry-fest!

    For me, the bummer of instant technology is that the sitter/grandparent/kid can contact the parent and ask anything at anytime, and then it is as if you never really got away. Set a clear boundary and say “we’ll see you/talk to you on Sunday night…” and then stick to it! It is better for everyone…and if the kids miss you, they will certainly appreciate you more when you return!