Extended Travel Without Kids
While pregnant with our youngest (now 22 months), my husband and I went to Turks and Caicos for 10 (glorious) days. It was the first time in my working adult life that I was truly able to disconnect and unwind – no working, no checking in, no rushing back after 3 short days! As such, it was my first real vacation in 5 years.
While in paradise, we simultaneously realized that our oldest (about 18 months at the time) can survive without us for a lengthy period of time and that if we didn’t start making bucket list trips a priority, they weren’t going to happen.
So with that in mind, I got tipsy at a holiday party and to my own surprise, I sincerely asked some friends if they would go to New Zealand and Australia with us for a couple weeks. Also tipsy, they agreed.
But what about the kids. They have two … we have two. What about our businesses and the dogs??? And the cost. So much money!!!
So let me break this down for you on why you should do extended travel without kids. The why. The how.
- I’m going to use my words and ask for space. Mommy needs some space from motherhood. To be me and have adult adventure. I adore my children. My husband thinks a little too much.
- Which leads me to…. daddy needs mommy. Good Lord we as moms sure like to moan about all of our needs and about how dear old dad sure doesn’t ‘get it’ but last I checked, he’s been pretty neglected the last 5 years while I’ve produced, birthed and nursed two babies. I’ve also raised a puppy, kept a fish alive with weekly tank cleanings and kept a business afloat in one of the country’s most stressful industries. It’s time. He needs to feel valued too.
- My kids will learn valuable life skills. They go to school, they have slumber parties at Nonna’s and they are used to being in the mix. We want them to see us prioritize our marriage. And sure, it can be done with long weekends, but nothing says “dad comes first” like leaving them for 2 weeks. And I think that is a perfectly good thing to learn, admire and grow to also desire.
- Because we can. Look. I get it. The means are hard. And before you get all pitch forky, I’ll have you know something. I grew up under the line of poverty, I worked three jobs to pay for college while my friends lounged by the pool and I shop at Wal-Mart. Yup. I wear clothes from Wal-Mart. I live in a rich white girl neighborhood and I wear Wally World. So there. (I realize that doesn’t remove my privileged lens, but I’m no snob. And even if I was rolling in money and this trip were a drop in the bucket, it still wouldn’t make me a snob.)
- I shop at Wal-Mart. I mean, have y’all seen @WhoWaitWalMart on Instagram??? Pure gold. I dare you to take a peek and not be tempted on something they show. My husband has to beg me to buy nice things so they won’t fall apart. It’s hard for me. I like Ross and Marshall’s, TJ MAXX and DSW are my jam. Headed to the outlets? Let’s go. I don’t care about this season or that designer. I just don’t. And yes, I get compliments on outfits all the time. My faaaavorite response is “thanks, I got it at Ross.” Their face is always shocked.
- We follow a Dave Ramsey style budget. We use an app that allows for ‘virtual envelopes’ and we know what we can spend each week. It has cut down an incredible amount of impulse buying which alone could pay for a fancy long weekend at the beach each year- if not more. No, we don’t feel rigid, restricted or fussy about it. It was hard at first but it felt so freeing and now, our splurges don’t cause stress because we know we actually have the money.
- We planned and took our time. Turks and Caicos was over two years ago and we have been saving and moving our day to day lives around our goal of diving the Great Barrier Reef this year. At times, we’d catch a wild hair to do something and one of us would pull back and say ‘no, let’s save for our big trip’ and we would!
- We are entrepreneurs. Before you think that is glamorous, I’ll have you know it’s basic slave work. It’s non-stop. We take the capital risk so you can have a job. The highs are high and boy are the lows so very dark and low. But yes, we do appreciate that we can work anywhere during certain seasons of our business cycles. Notice, I said work from anywhere. There is no way we are going on this trip without working while gone. Zero chance. In that regard, I miss my corporate days of taking true vacations.
- We made the ask. You get zero percent of what you don’t ask for. Asking grandparents to watch our kids was huge. And it won’t be easy on them but the kids will be in school full time, we will have babysitters available if they have a social outing and they are going to have the best grandparent camp memories even if they are exhausted by it.
Our parents want to see us thriving in our own parenting roles and marriages. This is what they have raised us to do! Supporting our marriage and parenting only makes sense. Give them that opportunity. Even if nothing is done the way you want it and they eat too much sugar. No one is going to die.
Don’t have willing or able grandparents? Ask a friend. I’m serious. When I was little, I remember a young couple from our church staying with us once when my parents left. They didn’t have kids and it was a good way for them to start that conversation. It takes a village. Maybe it’s not 2+ weeks of travel but trade weekends with your friends.
- We’ve been talking to the kids about it for a while and they are excited for us. The oldest looks at pictures and tells me that he doesn’t want to swim with sharks but he will have fun with Nonna while mommy swims with them. I’ve also converted all the time changes from our various locations and made a schedule of times we can FaceTime with them throughout the trip. And let’s be honest, if we bring them stuffed animals, they will forgive any ill feelings they may have felt while we were gone.
- We simply made a choice. We can choose to cater to and coddle our children and businesses or we can choose to live boldly and go. Our associates need to feel valued and trusted – leaving them in charge develops skills in them as well. We want our children to live lives of adventure and modeling that for them is important to us. And that’s why when they ask me to watch their babies for long adventures someday- I will not hesitate. Absolutely, my child, the world is your oyster. Go and see.