This is the one word that I would use to describe my vacation from the little man. Yes, I know I went to Hawaii, and I'm not going to lie, that was pretty awesome as well. However, the real vacation was from the job that I have had 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week for the last 19 months. 19 LONG months.
You know the job, the most important job of all. The only one you can't quit, the job of being a mom. Getting a vacation, alone with the husband, and alone with myself was needed more than I may have even realized.
Don't get me wrong, it's not like I didn't miss the little guy. In fact, I missed him every minute of the day. This missing, however, was greatly outweighed by what it was like to wake up every day knowing all I had to think about was myself. Whether I was hungry, or tired, or thirsty, etc. For the first time in a long time it was all about Me, Me, Me and I loved it.
The other highs included eating in public without being on pins and needles that my companion (aka little man) would have a meltdown ruining our meal and the meal of those around me. Laying by a pool all day without the fear of my toddler jumping in. Oh, and taking a 15 hour plane ride without a baby? That seems to go without saying.
I was pretty sure that I was going to spend the next few weeks after we returned with the little man clinging to me 24 hours a day to "pay" for my time alone. Like everything else, this anxiety was all for naught. Since I have been home the little man and I have successfully fallen into our old routines. Sure he is a little clingy (tiny, tiny bit), but given that I had been away from him for so long, I actually don't mind the cling. Now that I think about it maybe I am the one who is clinging to him? Either way, thankfully there has been no real "payment" due.
I am the first to say that I am no expert when it comes to parenting. However, having done this once so successfully I feel that it is my duty to share what worked for us.
- Go far, far, far away. For at least a week. Far enough that you have no way of getting home. I'm not saying run off to Hawaii (although, that is a great place to be), but I would suggest you go at least one plane ride away. If you can drive home you are more likely to do so. Remember, planes fly every day and can always get you home if there is ever a real emergency.
- Try to get family. We were lucky enough to have our in-laws available and willing to watch the little guy for a week. Until we were gone I didn't actually realize how lucky we were for this. A couple that was on vacation with us also left their little one for the week. The first dew days it was with their family, and the second few was with their sitter. While their little girl did well with both, there was a definite change from one to the other. We all know that our kids associate the sitter with us leaving, so having family seems to be the key to a happy baby when you are away. Plus no one loves your baby more that grandma and grandpa or your sisters and brothers (etc.) so it helps to keep you from being concerned about their well being. Also, it has the added benefit of giving them some alone time with the little ones, which you know they are always dying for.
- Bring the chaperons to the baby, not the baby to the chaperons. Keeping the little man's environment the same was definitely the number one key to our success. He had the same room, same park, same surroundings, all of which I guarantee was what helped to alleviate a significant amount of the anxiety that I imagine he was feeling.
- Keep the routine the same. My in-laws were able to come a few days early so they were able to watch the little man's daily ins and outs. This way when we were gone the little guy didn't miss a beat.
- Ask for updates. This was one thing my mother-in-law picked up on without me asking. Ever morning and every night around the same time my black berry would start to buzz e with a detailed email of how he slept, where they went, what he ate, etc. An added bonus was that attached there were always a few pictures of the day, which always put a huge smile on my face. Having those emails and knowing everything was OK on the home front really gave me the opportunity to relax. As in totally, totally, totally relax.
- Appreciate the omissions. The last think you want to hear about is every bump and bruise, or if a nap was too short. This will just drive you crazy.
The one thing I would do differently?
- GONE SOONER. I mean this. For those of you who have kids under the age of 1, you will just have to trust me. When they are those sweet little blobs their needs are very simple; food and sleep. Sure they would like it to come from you, but no 6 month old will turn down a bottle when that hunger sets in. Around age 1 they begin to demand everything from their mama. As in "mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, and sometimes dada." Go, go before you know who they are..........run don't stop. Book that trip TODAY.
I'd like to send out a very special thank you to the little man's Grosmami, and Grospapi. Actually a thousand thank you's, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you..........the little man misses you both already. Anytime you want a repeat we are more than willing to find another tropical destination to spend the week enjoying.