Saturday, November 2, 2013

Family-less Vacations

I've heard about something lately that I'd never even remotely considered when the lovelies were growing up. Apparently, it's ok for moms to go on vacation without their husband and kids.

Alone. On vacation. 

I would have DIED before doing this when the lovelies were little. And most of that has to do with the fact that their dad was not the most attentive of fathers. He was more of a fall-asleep-on-the-couch-and-let-the-party-begin kind of dad. The lovelies loved that.

I didn't. 

Then you have to factor in the fact that I totally enjoyed every minute with the lovelies. We were busy having fun nearly all the time. Raising kids, for me, was BIG FUN. But then, I had great kids. Who didn't suffer with illness (like colic) or severe allergies or any other medical conditions. So, I guess I had it easy.

I have to admit that, when I first heard of moms taking vacations without their families, I went right into judgement mode.

However, when I thought about the colic or food allergies that lead to medical issues or other conditions that can make life extremely difficult when thrown into the mix, I have to say that I understand their need to get away and regroup. I can't imagine how exhausting- physically and emotionally- it must be to have a wee one who is in constant pain from colic and crying, nonstop. As a matter of fact, I doubt'exhausting' does the feeling justice. 

However, looking back from my now empty nest perspective, I believe that I, personally, would now be feeling something along the lines of guilt had I taken any solo vacations. Though, maybe not the kind of guilt you think. It would be more related to my need to control things. Everything. And, while it's way less (and I mean WAY less) now than it's ever been in my entire life, I can honestly say that it would have been the main reason for any guilty feelings from a solo vacation.

I did enjoy every minute of raising the lovelies. I did take my 'job' seriously. And I did love being in control. The 'in charge' person. It was fabulous.

Once the nest emptied out, I was way less interested in being in control in most areas. I think the control part while the lovelies were growing up stemmed from genetics and the fact that Mr. Negative had so many issues and ties with his family that I didn't want them having any say-so. (That turned out to be a good call on my part.) My controlling nature was in place more for protection of the lovelies than in controlling the actual children themselves. I made sure their decisions were their own. That they developed opinions on their own. That they were exposed to a variety of options. That they were allowed every opportunity to discover, explore, enjoy, grow, thrive...

Looking back now, would I have tried the family-less vacation? I don't think so. But I do understand how some parents need a break from time to time to recharge. Life with children can be exhausting when they don't have extra stresses to deal with. Though, admittedly, I'm not sure I'll quite understand when someone takes a family-less vacation just to get away from family life. Of course, they didn't ask my opinion now, did they? :)

November NaBloPoMo


  1. Trust me in that you were very blessed to have four lovely girls. My son was a handful until I moved to South Carolina in 2008!! I began taking little mini vacations alone when he was about 15. Between his behavior (ADHD) issues in school and my very stressful job at that time, I needed it. It helped me cope tremendously. I'm grateful to Rich for encouraging me to go. It gave him time with Mike, even though they didn't communicate well together. Good post!

  2. Barb- Yeah. I do wonder how it would have been had the lovelies been difficult. I know, too, that my parents had no trouble leaving us to go on trips...that's probably part of why I didn't too. I did so much the opposite of what my parents did. Thanks!

  3. One of my step daughters goes on vaca every year with her girl friends (some single) to a tropical location....YIKES! I never went anywhere without my kids!!!!!...:)JP

  4. Yes, I hear you. I couldn't conceive of going on a vacation without my daughter. In fact, mother-daughter trips down south were an annual tradition for several years. But I don't begrudge anyone who needs that time away. Being a mom is tough, and sometimes, it's an absolute must.

  5. Well, I've never taken a vacation with our boys, but they were older when I entered their lives. I don't think I would enjoy a vacation without Joe, though. I am blessed that he is my best friend, and we enjoy the same things. We travel well together and have lots of fun together. I have friends who go on mini vacations with their girlfriends. Doesn't interest me. A day trip - yes, but not longer than that.

  6. You and your lovelies are very blessed.

  7. I remember my first 'get a way'. My middle son started crying two seconds before he was born, and didnt stop until he was 2 years old. We're talking screaming couldnt console, nerve grinding crying. Only slept three hours at a time, and had to be bounced 29 hours a day. It was so bad that even grandma couldnt always handle it. One day my husband and mom teamed up and sent me to a church conference for a Friday night and Saturday. I laughed and cryed, and slept!! Oh my!! I slept!!!

  8. My mom has a good friend who would take a weekend getaway with her husband every couple months. The idea was to keep the romance alive in well in their relationship. It worked out very well for them. The kids stayed with the grandparents for two nights and the parents got to reignite the spark in their marriage. As far as I know they are still doing this... even though the kids are long gone.

  9. I would never have done that either when my kids were around. Now I wouldn't mind it so much. I've actually been thinking of leaving for two weeks at Christmas to see if they would miss me. My guy is still on the couch asleep most nights! I'm still having issues with control with our daughter living here and this is what I am working on right now.

  10. JP- Maybe it's a new generation...I don't know. I get it under certain circumstances though.

    Suzanne- It is an exhausting job. But the best one ever! :)

    Terri- Yes! A day trip is always fun. But I"m with you, longer than that doesn't interest me either.

    Gail- Thank you. I do feel blessed.

    Deb- Now THAT'S a situation that I can easily see needing to get away. Just for some quiet if nothing else.

    Robin- I enjoyed time at my grandparents when I was growing up. Those are my fondest of all my childhood memories. I figured that my kids were more important than the husband....I was right. LOL

    Debby- I think of doing things like that now too. Just to see if anyone would notice. They would have noticed back when the lovelies were growing up but, now? Probably not. I'm still having issues as well. I told them there would be NO decorating this year since they can't keep their areas clean and don't help with anything else.

  11. Very interesting post. You are talking about more than just a "girls night out" which I consider a good thing for the whole family. Yes a full vacation is at a different level.
    Now I noticed I am so far the only male in the comment section. I do wish other guys would read this post. I was thinking back over the child rearing days and while I didn't really take a family-less vacations, most all business trips were without family (some of the best ones had a family member tag along). So while business trips are not the same as vacations (some truly are hell) they can be fun and of course typically allow you to have time to yourself.
    Maybe this vacation with your friends is a response to the fishing/hunting trips. I took very few of those but I did take a great fishing trip with my dad and brother once. I wish I had done a few more since our dad is gone now.

  12. I have to confess to taking small, 3 night, vacations away from the family. Not sure if that counts as a vacation, but it was a good way of recharging.
    I couldn't do longer, though! Even still, a couple of friends want me to go with them for 2 weeks: 2 whole weeks, NO WAY!

  13. Bill- I enjoyed trips with my mother but we always took the girls along with us. I had no idea what time to myself was back then. But I'll tell you this- right now, I cherish my alone time! I love my alone time! I will fight someone for my alone time! LOL The husband never had any trouble taking time away from us. I guess it just boils down to individual preferences.

    Mimi- All I've been doing since the nest emptied out is recharging. Maybe I wouldn't have to had I taken little three night breaks. LOL Two weeks??? I couldn't either!

  14. I don't think I ever had the desire to take a vacation without the rest of the fam. And right now, at this stage of my life, my dream vacation would be to have ALL the extended fam for a week at a holiday cottage in England or Wales. sigh. Won't happen, but fun to dream.

    I commend you for not taking over your girls' lives but still being so very involved. Some people don't manage that very well and are still controlling their kids when they're 30+ years old.

  15. Oh man. I had a ton of guilt when I took my first vacation alone. My time away had nothing to do with difficult kids, but everything to do with needing to do something for myself for once. I went from being a kid, to a single parent at 19, to a wife at 26, to a mom of three more kids. I have never had a moment alone. I hadn't had a day without one of my children on my leg in 23 years... I love my kids more than life - love every moment of being a mom to them, but I also need to just breathe sometimes. And you know, after years of asking my husband to join me on some get-aways, and him always finding a good reason not to, I decided to just go solo. Because I am not getting any younger, and I enjoy being alone. And guess what? I loved it. And it doesn't hurt the kids to have special time with their dad. I go on 3-4 short (5 days max) trips a year, and try to hit all sorts of places on my "to see" list. I went to New Mexico in Aug, and I'm hoping to get to the West coast in the spring. Still working on it. I'm not totally selfish though - we go on plenty of family trips - 2 weeks to the Outer Banks every summer, usually a week to Florida in the winter, and we spend weekends at a lake house in western NY in the summers - plenty of family time still, always. I've also included a kid here and there on a solo trip, and they've loved the special time alone with me. :)


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