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.