I get a mix of reactions when I tell people that Andy and I haven’t left the kids overnight. Ever.
We’ve each been away overnight, on separate occasions but have left them with the other parent so that’s not really the same. But we haven’t left them overnight with family (or anyone) while we go away.
There’s a mix of reasons I suppose. Primarily, when we travel, we take them with us and enjoy that. There hasn’t been a reason to leave them. Sure, we could have planned a trip just the two of us, and we do look forward to that one day, but we weren’t ready for that.
Yes, WE weren’t ready. My kids have been babysat by family for extended periods of time and love it. Their sleep is fairly consistent with us, even if whoever watches them has to be prepared that they may be snuggling in the night with two kiddos that will be up by 6 am. They wouldn’t be scared, or sad. We know they’d have fun and trust family that they would stay with to no end.
But more importantly, we never wanted to leave them. It’s been a choice. And leaving for the sake of going away overnight and not enjoying ourselves fully is not worth it. We just didn’t feel the pressure to and our own anxieties wouldn’t have made an over night trip enjoyable.
Now don’t get me wrong. We enjoy alone time and date night frequently thanks to our babysitters. And I really believe in the importance of this. We’ve also mastered date night at home and never feel we are ‘missing out’ on something. We are happy to travel with them and find our alone time on dates close to home.
We are about to turn a corner. My kids are 3.5 and 5.5 so our level of interest in possibly doing over night trips is growing. Next year, we have a family wedding out of town and the kids will be staying with Andy’s family. They are beyond excited at the thought, and we are feeling kind of excited too.
My point in all of this? I understand the looks of shock and snickers when you tell people you don’t want to leave baby/child overnight yet. You aren’t making some crazy decision or being a helicopter parent. You are making the decision that is best for you and your spouse (and kids) at the time. And that’s ok. Some parents enjoy vacations alone early in their parenting career. That’s ok too. But make sure you are doing it for you and not because others tell you that you should.
And I should note that yes, I know how wonderful alone time would be. How sleeping in would be a dream. How long walks and dinners out would be fantastic. I know all of that. I look forward to all of that, but my choice has still been not to do it – yet.
I know that when we are comfortable leaving them overnight that it will be on our terms. And all of us will have a great time.
Do you struggle deciding to leave the kids overnight?