Leaving your kiddo with someone else for your first trip away is difficult., especially if you’re lucky enough to be a stay or work at home mom and are used to spending 24/7 with that little cutie. I often see posts in family travel groups with new moms sending out an SOS because they’re just a few days away from their first child-free night and feel unprepared! I’ve now survived MY first weekend away on my own and would love to share what I learned. The secret for a stressed out mom? Prepare ahead so you can enjoy in the moment. Here are the details…
If you have enough notice before your trip, build up to the real thing. Go away all day and come back just after bed time. Then do one full overnight. Add nights until everyone is comfortable and make sure trials are with the same person that will be watching your kid when you actually go away.
Talk About It
Don’t wait until you’re saying goodbye to explain that you’re leaving. Share in the weeks leading up to the trip and make it an exciting event. Let your kiddo know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Chat with them about who they’ll be staying with and any fun things they may do- just make sure you check in with the caregiver so you’re not making false promises. Children are just tiny humans. They like to know what’s going on, too!
Leave Bub with a Trusted Person
This probably isn’t the time to try out a brand new sitter if you can help it. You’ll want someone familiar for you AND your child for your first trip away. Use this same person for your trial runs. If you do need a new sitter, look for someone with first aid certification, background checks, and verified references. (I was a care.com sitter for years and appreciated the ease of their service.) Be sure to do a “get to know you” visit at the very least.
Plan to Keep Yourself Busy
I don’t mean you need to keep busy with work. Schedule yourself a nice massage, plan to take a nap, or bring along your favorite book (okay, go FIND yourself a new book first). Avoid that dreaded dead time wondering what to do and if your kid is doing okay.
Ask for Updates
Whether it’s the trial run or real thing, ask for an update if you’re worried. I like to see a smiling photo or short video clip every few hours to ease my mind. Even a quick “He’s doing great!” did wonders for me.
Video Chat… or Don’t.
Technology is an incredible thing. If it helps you and/or your child schedule in a quick video chat or phone call to say hello or good night each day. (A fellow mommy traveler on my first trip away called each night to sing a special song to her daughter at bed time. So stinking cute.) On the other hand, don’t feel guilty if a call is only going to cause harm. I had a quick call with my son after he dropped me off at the airport and that was all for the weekend. We know from past experience with my husband traveling that video chats only make Mini upset so we chose not to do it with me.
Bring a Memento or Photo
Pack up a favorite memento for you AND your kiddo. Just in case there’s a moment of sadness, you’ll have a good memory on hand.
Create a list ahead of time as you go through your usual daily routine. Ask your chosen caregiver if there’s anything they need. Consider all the things you have at home, like a special sippy cup or favorite movie, and be sure to add everything to the packing list. Pack ahead of time as much as possible and create yourself a “add to the bag last minute” list, too!
Create helpful lists and notes with information like your usual daily routine, emergency contacts, medical information, etc. No need to go too crazy (you don’t need to include which direction your kid likes their toast sliced) but don’t leave your sitter in the dark, either.
Stick with It. Stay Strong.
Once you’ve left, don’t turn back. You’ve got this, mama, and your little one will be just fine. Use your time away to enjoy this solo adventure and come back refreshed and ready to rock motherhood again.
Want to read about MY first trip away? I had my first night ‘away’ while we were in WALT DISNEY WORLD and took a TRIAL WEEKEND with my sister in Lititz, PA. From there it was onward to my BLOGGING RETREAT in Melbourne, FL for an incredible and rejuvenating ladies’ weekend. Make sure you sign up for our MONTHLY NEWSLETTER to get updates as I share more about these experiences.
Ah, yes! I hate leaving my little guys no matter how many times I’ve done it. It’s so good to get some time away, though. Enjoy your anniversary!!!
Mariah French says
My husband and I will be gone for a night in a couple weeks for our anniversary and even though it’s only one night and we’ve done it before, it never gets any easier for me. I have to remind myself that my husband needs me too 🙂
Never alone! I think most of us feel this way!
I’m so scared to leave my son. Thank you for helping me feel like I’m not alone.
I agree! Thank you!
Thanks for reading!
The first is definitely the hardest! Thanks for sharing!
I think it definitely is for a lot of us!
Yes! My son just cries like crazy after hanging up so we shared photos and texts instead. Thanks for reading!
Yes! My husband and I are looking forward to some adults-only time as our kids get older! Hard to leave, great when you’re there!
Good for you! For real- that’s great! We all need and DESERVE to take some time for ourselves! I love that you can prioritize that!
It’s so hard. We love our little ones!!!
Oh goodness. You’re a superhero. Ten years is a LONG TIME.
Teaching and mom-ing are so similar! Thanks for reading!
Oh man. Wasted opportunity. Haha. I was newly pregnant so I was all about sleeping and napping.
Well those are some great reasons for a night away! Lol.
I’m so glad mine wasn’t for work. I was glad I got to choose when I was ready.
That pretty much sums it up!
That would be awfully kind of you! Haha.
I remember this being so exciting mixed with guilt and so much fun, mixed with guilt and worry, and wishing it would never end and wanting to hurry home. Crazy but necessary.
No kiddos, but maybe I could be the drop off trusted person, ha!
heather J jandrue says
My first trip away from my oldest was for work. I was gone for 4 days and it broke my heart. It took me a while to leave him again. LOL.
Sara - Seek Discover Learn says
Looking back I can’t even remember my first overnight stay away from my kids. The first overnight stay away from my first born was probably 15 months later when I was at the hospital having his brother. Hehe. And then another overnight stay 15 months after that when I had their sister. My oldest is 11 now, so it’s hard to remember back that far. Thanks for sharing your good advice for new parents.
I remember that first trip away from my son…I don’t think I slept at all. And it was a perfect opportunity to sleep. 😂
Great advice! I don’t have children of my own, but I know that these are great strategies. I do some similar with my 2nd graders. No one likes to have the rug pulled out from under them!
Compared to my days with little ones, it’s so much easier these days with mobile phones and video chat.
Lisa Manderino says
I couldn’t leave my babies. It took me 10 years after having my first before my husband and I went on a trip. It was amazing to go on that first trip.
Great tips! I remember the first time I had to leave my kiddo, I was not prepared at all. It was so hard for me to get through the day.
Stacey Billingsley says
I’m the worst mother; I’m like “take my child!” But I have a twenty-two year-old and a ten-year-old. But even when they were babies, I was happy to leave them with my parents. I trusted them. I think it’s because I was a teacher and a speech and debate coach; I had so little time to just relax. I understand that not everyone is like me, though. These are great tips to get through it!
Great post. We’ve made it a point to take an “adults only” trip at least once a year. I find it very hard to leave, but once we arrive at our location I truly enjoy myself.
I remember so clearly my first weekend away from my first son. I cried on the plane when we took off! And we tried to face time the first evening but it totally confused my son, he kept looking behind the computer to find me. It totally broke my heart. Needless to say I kept to just phone calls and texts after that! These are all fantastic tips.
Eva Keller says
I don’t have any kids so I will never know how it feels, but I would imagine this is something that probably every parent will remember forever.
I remember the first time I took a trip without my oldest daughter. It was awful trying to leave her!! This is a great post that I will share with some new moms.
Great ideas. The video chat is good.
Great tips for your first time away from the littles! You become a better mom when you take just a few short days for yourself! Thanks for sharing, and great looking blog!!