I am writing this from the comfort of my couch back in Charlotte, NC where we finally made it home a few hours ago. It feels oh so good to be curled up in my blankets and I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed haha!
This was a requested post by a few of you, so I thought I would talk a little bit about it since it seems to raise some questions and concerns!
Alright, I want to start off by saying that no matter when you choose to leave your baby for the first time, whatever the age, it is OKAY. If you choose to leave them at two weeks for a night, or if you choose to make your first trip an weekend getaway when they are three, it is okay. There is a lot of judgment passed on when it is deemed appropriate to leave your child or children for the first time overnight and I am just going to throw it out there that there is no right answer to that. It is merely when YOU FEEL READY. We all lead very different lives, we all have different priorities, and most importantly, we all have different support networks, so the first and most important thing to remember is that no matter the age you choose, that is what makes you feel good.
Let’s just stop the judgement and shaming. It’s getting so old and those that are still in that space clearly have some inner work to do.
Feeling ready to leave them and/or needing to leave them so you have space is the first step and the hardest one. I think for those of you that feel you can’t come to this point, I want you to think about a few factors….
Number one, is are they going to remember you leaving? Probably not. The party that gets hit the hardest is you and your spouse. They are going to be creating memories and you are going to be doing something that will fill up your cup, thus making you a better mom and person in the first place.
Second is, what are your child’s bare necessities? This may seem a bit drastic, but think about it. They need a warm place to sleep, to be fed, and to be loved on/safe. It’s really simple. They aren’t complicated even though we try to make them out to be (guilty party of one!), so as long as you can find someone who can meet these needs you are good. I have always thought about it in the sense that as long as they are with someone can love on them a lot, they will be in good hands.
That brings me to the next factor, which is finding someone you trust to take them. While it may seem that leaving them is your biggest excuse, I actually think that who you can leave them with is one of the harder things for most. For John and I, both of our parents are very involved and love Arabella to pieces, we are fairly fortunate in that we could take a trip together. Others may not have this option, which is why I then suggest leaving them with your partner.
I think that an overnight alone or with friends is an excellent way to recharge, and allowing your significant other space to care for your child alone is huge too. It not only allows for bonding, it also allows for a mutual understanding of how difficult parenting can be without your partner to lean on and I think that is very helpful in a marriage or relationship. I think it also helps to foster a lot of courage and strength in caring for them independently.
If parents, significant other, or trusted friend/family member is not an option, I would look to outside friends and see if they have anyone they would recommend. Many times other parents are in your exact situation, so they have found someone they trust that may not fall in those immediate comfort zones. Once you do find the person, I would invite them over a few times to watch the kid(s) for a date night, or maybe even a few hours over the weekend. That way you can see how your children feel with them, but also you can assess your faith in their competency. If you don’t trust the person, it is neverrrrr going to work.
The next difficult tasks comes once you leave. Leaving is sad (I cried), but then once you are gone it is really important to not be constantly thinking of them. It is really important you enjoy the moment and bask in the opportunity you are being given to be away. I know this is easier said than done, but you need to separate yourself from being in constant parent mode. Being a parent is a role, it is not your sole definition. Don’t allow yourself to wrap your entire identity in that. Foster and encourage and strengthen those other parts of you too. Not to mention, no one wasn’t to hear about your kid 24/7. They just don’t.
We checked in a few times a day, but otherwise really tried to stay present in the moment before us.
Lastly, embrace missing your children. I say this because so often we take for granted our time with our kids. It is so easy to get caught up in the frustrations and day to day grind that you don’t really take time to be present with them. So, after missing them uncontrollably, soak up their sweet hug, their little laughs, etc. Being away really has a way of helping to put things in perspective and that is very very special gift.
I hope this helps you all! Please let me know if you have more questions or are interested in seeing more posts like this and happy Sunday!