I'm Going on a Trip - Without the Kids.....

Updated on March 25, 2008
B.T. asks from Lansing, MI
26 answers

I have the chance to go on a 10-day trip with my mom and I really can't pass up this opportunity to spend some quality time with her this fall. I have two children (ages 10 and 6) who are just going to be devasted when I go. They love their dad and he's wonderful, but as I'm sure you all know, mom is the glue that holds everything together. Besides the fact that I've never been apart from my kids for even remotely that long and I will miss them all beyond words, the problem really lies with my daughter. She is very very attached to me and is very emotional. I think this will be especially hard on her. I don't know if I should tell her about the trip now and let her get used to about it for several months? Or will it just stress her out for several months? Or do I wait until shortly before the trip, which will probably have her go into total panic mode about it? The trip is shortly after school starts so I really don't want to lay all of that on her right then. Any suggestions about how to prepare her (and her brother) emotionally for my absence? Any advice for me on to how be able to enjoy myself and not feel guilty?

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H.G.

answers from Detroit on

My kids go nuts when I'm leaving, too. DON'T tell them far in advance, they'll be nuts until you go. Tell them about 1 day before, or the morning of if they might refuse to go to bed or to school the next day. Tell them when you're leaving, when you'll be back, and call every night. I might try to go for less than 10 days, maybe 5-6 if you can. Mine are 5 and 7 years old, and they would handle that better. But, if it has to be 10 days, so be it. Think about the moms in the military, stationed overseas! Moms who work on cruise ships! That's the way it is sometimes. Good luck!

H.

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K.R.

answers from Detroit on

I would suggest that you not tell them until just before you go. If they are going to take it hard, it's unlikely that they would use the extra time to get used to the idea. Instead they will be anxious and upset waiting for you to go. It will be hanging over their heads the entire time.

When you do tell them just before be really upbeat and talk about how much fun they'll have with daddy. How this will be such a special time. Frame it in a way that is positive for them so that you help set the tone.

K.
Single Mom of 2 GREAT boys and a self-employed Life Coach

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T.S.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi, B.! If you have a few months before your trip, wait a while before explaining to your kids that it's your turn for "mama-time." Explain to them that you need to spend some special time with your mom, just like they get to spend special time with you. It might help to involve them in the preparations for while you are gone. Fill a small box with special games or new movies they can share with dad, have them help stockpile some special treats (store-bought, or make your own homemade treats and freeze them), make a chore-sheet of the things they are expected to do every day to keep them on track and to help dad. While you are on your trip, call them at bedtime to tell them good-night, send them a postcard every day (have some already addressed or buy while you are vacationing) - it's ok if some of them arrive after you get home! Let the kids know you need them to stay home and keep dad company - after all he is going to miss you, too! Have fun, enjoy your vacation, and be prepared to be blown over by the fact that your husband and kids did better than you ever expected!

T.

2 moms found this helpful
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D.M.

answers from Kalamazoo on

I did have this same problem ,but with my son,at the time he was just a wee one,(he is the middle child and is 25 now)I think it's better to perpare them for the trip.
Have her help you get ready for it,like pick out your clothes that you want to bring things like that.
It will help her get used to it in the prodess helping you with something kind of important.
I wish you luck with your kids and have fun,remember they will be in the best care ever.
Another thing you can do is call them before they have to go to bed it will still seem like you are there.
Again have a great time.
D.
[email protected]____.com

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M.G.

answers from Lansing on

B. - Have a wonderful vacation with your mom. 1) Don't underestimate your kids! They will be fine without you. Let their self-confidence build up during these next few months. 2) Let them know you are going on a trip with your mother and especially with your daughter, tell her you can't wait until she's living her own life and you both can take time out of your busy schedules to spend time away from it all together too. 3) Let that time with you away be Dad time. No matter how he handles it. Let them get a chance to bond with dad.4) Don't let yourself get stressed out over this much more than your kids will be while you're gone. You'll be surprised at how well they handle it. 5) And finally! Should you get any "slack" from it when you get back, DON'T EVER feel guilty that you left in the first place. Your mother is important too and you have to cherish every moment that you have with her and that's all that matters. Good luck.

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L.J.

answers from Detroit on

B., I'm sure the trip with your Mom is important for your relationship with her. This might be a good way to instill in your children a sense of independence and the security of knowing people may seperate but will come back together again. Also the sense that other people in this world have needs also. Children can be very self- interested. Just plan well and inform your children early. Make a project out of preparing for the trip with your children's help. And make them a scrapbook for postcards you will send them and pictures. Also,thay can include in the scrapbook, things they did in your absence.
Have a great time!

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C.M.

answers from Saginaw on

B.,

The best way to do it I think is be honest and tell the kids, (her) yes she will probably stress but dropping the bomb right before will be worse, give her sometime to adjust, make it like a fun adveture and see how she handles it spend a little alone time before hand and make it fun...hopefully this will soften the blow and you never know could be the time of everyones life...and yes we are the GLUE...

Best wishes on your adventure and with family.

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M.K.

answers from Detroit on

I would by all means go on the trip with your mom. I don't know how old your mom is but I don't think you want to pass up these opportunities. I always thought I would travel with my mother when my kids got older and that time never presented itself and I really have regrets about that. She is no longer with us.
I wouldn't tell your daughter now. She might not be able to understand the time frame and it could seem like an eternity to her. I would spend as much quality time with her as possible. When you are with her give her eye contact. This really will show her how much you love her. You may already be doing this but I mention it because when my children were young this was something I never thought of and when I did it that really made a difference. You might consider a family trip at the end of the summer so her tank is filled. Maybe you could prepare some special things for her to do with her dad or someone else special in her life while you are gone.
good luck
M. K

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M.D.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Dear B.,

Go on the trip with your Mom ~ it's a win/win situation. All will benefit from this trip. Your husband needs to feel capable ~ they are his children too remember. He can handle it ~ not in the same way you do of course but he can do it. He's a big boy now! I would wait until time gets a lot closer and try not to let your feelings of "what will they do with me!" show through. Make it sound fun for them too ... "lucky you guys, you get Dad all to yourselves!" Leave little gifts for them to open every couple of days to let them know you're thinking of them...they will look forward to that. And call if you are able but not every day as much as you would love to. Call your husband of course as much as you want to because after all, without him, you wouldn't have them! When you return, you will realize that hey I think I'll do this again and maybe next time, it will be with your husband with Mom or another trusted person staying with your children. Even for a week-end get-away.
Your marriage needs this!

Hope this has helped. I speak from experience!

M.

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J.K.

answers from Detroit on

I would tell them now. Maybe over the summer you could help them make a scrapbook of places you will be going. Write to local chambers of commerce for information on specific places. Look it up online. Make them a part of the trip. Let them help you plan things to pack. They are less likely to panic when you leave if they know exactly where you are going and when you are returning.

My daughter and I have a tradition that we started years ago when she went to camp. I made a shoe box with a little envelope or gift for her to open each day while she was gone. It had things like scrunchies one day, chapstick another... little things that she could use at camp. I wrote a note for each day with something that I thought was special about her. When she got older and I was gone for a week, she made one for me!

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T.M.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Yeah, moms are what holds everything together but moms also need a break from the kids and all. Just think about it, Your kids will be around for the next umpteen some years your mom wont be. Spend the time with your mom and get away from things as well and take a break. You and the kids will be just fine and if youre husband has been there and a help with the kids and the household then he can handle it himself for the time you are gone. Besides, they have phones and cell phones you, you or they, can call everyday. I say go and enjoy yourself and the time you have with your mom. My mom is still alive and i spend all the time possible with her. If you do go dont feel guilty about it.

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L.W.

answers from Detroit on

B.,
Believe it or not, your kids will live through your absence and all of you will be better for it. Kids NEED to have this type of experience. You can't shelter them from ever feeling sad or lonely or from ever missing someone. How will they ever learn how to deal with this if you do not teach them how? The world is not going to come to an end. They will manage and be fine.
I would suggest you start bringing the subject up here and there in conversation. Do not put it all out there at one time-and definately not right before you go. Doing this early, your kids will be able to ask questions, and you can respond to them. Be positive. Be a role model. You are their mother; but you are a daughter also and you deserve to spend time with your own mother. You need to have that time with your mom- and what a wonderful example you will set to your kids- to see and learn that you have a life outside of them...that you are a daughter and you have dreams and things you like to do independent of them.
To lessen the pain of you leaving, plan some surprises for them while you are gone. Let them know about this. My own mother did this when my brother and I were left at grandmas for a week while my parents went on a trip. I still remember it as being special. Write little notes that they can get each day; with a surprise. Send postcards. Perhaps you can go shopping with them to pick out some special toys they can play with only when you are gone. Think of ideas like that to get them involved and get them used to the idea of you leaving.
As for feeling guilty- what is there to feel guilty about? Spending time with your mom? Leaving your kids to spend some time with their dad? Stop with the guilt stuff. It is not a healthy way to live your life.

Best of luck and enjoy the time with your mom!

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K.E.

answers from Detroit on

First of all - get rid of the guilt! It's a trip for you and your mom - quality time with YOUR MOM! It's not like you are going on a drinking cruise with your girlfriends! So, no guilt B.!

I wouldn't tell your daughter now, I would wait a few more months - somewhat closer, but not at the last minute either - only to prepare her for it. Tell her that you are going so you can get some great memories and time with your mom - and maybe remind her of a time that the two of you went somewhere??

Have a great time - dad can do everything you can - maybe just not as efficiently ;)- and think of the memories they are going to create while you are gone! Some of my favorite times were when my mom went to Gram's and we had pancakes for dinner every night! :)

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C.B.

answers from Detroit on

You go. You enjoy yourself. Let dad handle it. They'll survive. This is his chance to show his mettle.
For your part, arrange to call and talk to your daughter so she hears your voice and you won't seem so far away. Have dad get creative and maybe make a memory bag for you with her to show you everything she did while you were away. Also have dad put a photo of you by her bedside.

You can all survive this. First time's a heavy. But have a good time.

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

B.,

You have gotten some great advice! Here's my two cents:

1. Check out www.flylady.net, if you aren't a member already. It's a great, free, website where you can set up routines, a control journal, etc. Since you have all summer to get routines set up and your home ready for auto-pilot for your husband, then hopefully your home and family won't be a wreck when you get back. This way your children will have a sense of security from their routines and how the house is run and your husband can look at your control journal and know what things need to be done at what times of the day and how.

2. Go on a couple of day, over-night, or weekend trips with some of your girl friends. Get your kids, husband, and you used to the idea of mom not always being around. Then when you are gone for 10 days everyone will have an idea of how things will work and know everything will be fine.

3. Make sure you take lots of pictures with you and your mom while on your trip. Send postcards of places you visited to your kids. Every child loves to get personalized mail! Tell each one a little bit about your trip (something different for both your son and daughter), and don't forget something special for your Dear Husband. He will appreciate compliments and thank yous for giving you a bit of time off and taking care of everything.

4. Don't feel guilty!!!!! There are only two jobs in the world where the employees don't get time off.....parents, and children who care for their aging parents.

We all need regular breaks, vacations, and time to relax without constant demands on our minds and bodies. GO HAVE FUN! Create new memories with your mom and enjoy your vacation. You have earned it!

Good luck in the fall.

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M.L.

answers from Grand Rapids on

hi! My 3rd grade daughter will be switching schools this next school year in 4th grade, and I went through the same questions about when to tell her, because she too is sensitive; I worried about how she would take it. Well, she now knows about the coming switch, and has known for a few months. As time has passed, she has warmed up to the idea, and I think it has really, really helped having her have the time to process it. We take advantage of any opportunity that comes up for us to share with her what cool things this school offers, and if we hear of someone she knows who goes there, etc. Of course it is a personal decision, and I think you will know when the right time comes to tell your daughter about the trip. It may be good to tell her ahead of time so she CAN process it, and get used to the idea. Help things out by telling her of maybe something special she will get to do with Dad and brother while you're gone, or maybe you can plan to send a postcard to her so she 'hears' from you while you're gone (even if you send it from home the day you leave!!) Also, you could ask her if there is a special type of souvenier she would like you to bring back for her. You could make a special calendar with her that she can X off each day that you are gone and put something special on each 'day' you're gone- like a picture, or something you write to her to think about for that day. In a way that she can understand, explain to her that by going on this trip, it will help you have 'special' time with your own mom that you need, and that mommy's need to 'breathe' now and then to stay sane! And of course that you will come back home to her, and she will be fine while you're gone. Remember that kids can sometimes surprise you with how much they can handle, and sometimes it's harder on us than it is on the child : - ) I hope it goes well for you, and that you and your hubby can work together to best figure out how it will go.

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D.M.

answers from Detroit on

Hi B.---I'm no psychologist, but I would try not to worry as kids are very resilient. Yours are old enough to understand what is happening and even though they might not like it, everyone is likely to survive. I might not tell them of the trip until a later date. You also might start taking a few 'practice' trips, overnighters to visit a friend, etc. But do be very careful that you don't transfer your fear and anxiety about the trip to them. When you announce the trip, be confident in their abilities to 'take care of Dad' while you are gone for some adult/alone time with their Grandma.

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L.N.

answers from Benton Harbor on

You deserve this trip! As for when to tell her...I can see both sides. Telling her now may give her the most time to adjust and ask the questions she needs. However, I also have a child who freaks out at the slightest thing...he is having a tonsillectomy Friday and thankfully he is Captain Oblivious! LOL Anyway I hope you find a way that works for you, but no matter what don't let guilt creep in. You are a daughter, too and you deserve time with your mom just like she does! :)

L.

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K.F.

answers from Saginaw on

B., DON'T you dare feel guilty! Your children are old enough! and You deserve it! One of the great things about our day and age.. if you have access to a lap top or computer while you are away... There are computer cams, $30. on up for the computer, You can see and hear each other! (I come from a fam of 10, we do family conferences often, it is great!) Take some crazy family pictures now, don't let your children see the, send them mail, before you go with funny things and pic's of you all, cards that play silly songs, so it starts right away. It gives them something to look forward to every day. find pictures in a book or magazine that tells all about where you are going, they will be more comfortable knowing where you are and what you are doing. there are voice recording toys, record, I love you on a special "mom animal" so they can hear your voice when you are not there... record a story for every night, they can listen too. Have your husband put notes under their pillow every morning from you. There are so many ways you can still be with them. good luck honey. K., (e me if you want more ideas, Mom of 5 and day care provider)

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J.M.

answers from Lansing on

Take this opportunity to let them know how much you do. Distance will make the heart grow fonder. I would tell the kids a couple weeks before the trip, as you are getting ready by packing and getting their car pools, activities lined up as well. I have prepared meals in advance and I've left them with nothing and I think it works better to not leave prepared meals behind. First of all they get a specail treat to eat at their favorite restaurant or take out. Second they will appreciate what it takes to get everything ready.

Dad's will do things differently but as long as they get to school and their activities and are safe, they'll be fine. Relax and enjoy your time to recharge your own batteries and spend time with your Mom.

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B.B.

answers from Detroit on

If she's gonna be in school then the only time she's really gonna be completely aware of your absence is just a few hours long. I would say to wait until a few weeks before the trip to tell har and don't put the emphasis on you being gone. Help hubby plan fun things to do with them... Pizza, movies, swimming, parks,breakfast out, etc. Things that the kids really like that will keep them from sitting around the house ALL the time.
Mention off hand that your going on a trip with grandma (avoid telling how long at first unless she asks) and you need ideas for things that they want to do with daddy... Tell them you were thinking of these.... but do you have anything else?

Also, don't worry about it. Your hubby will be able to a handle it. I know that when I go away its usually for a few nights about once a year and I have visions of disasters in my head and thoughts of screaming sad kiddos. But when I return the house hasn't collapsed, the kids are happy and hubby is ELATED to see me. It sorta gives them insite to what we do as the maternal ones. Having to answer every call and take care of the daily grind.
And when you go, don't make a big deal of it... Just smile, kisses all around, Love yous and walk out of the door with your head up, and a smile. (cry in the car lol) That way she doesn't play off of your emotions and if the guilt card is played just remember... Your mother is getting older, Cherish this trip and make memories you can remember and tell you kids about. So give another hug and tell her you'll call to find out how.... went. (I usually don't call EVERY day, that way its not a fresh daily thought of mommy leaving, but can be stored away. THen they realize how much fun they had with dad today and yesterday and hmmm....I don't feel so sad. Also, unless they pack a whole lot into one day, there may not be much to talk about... )

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S.L.

answers from Detroit on

I'm not sure how much more I can add to what has already been said. I have 4 adult children and soon to be 7 grandchildren. My advice is to tell your kids about the trip keeping it somewhat low key at this point. Kids pick up on stress and other emotions. If you appear stressed or distressed when you talk about the trip, then your kids will be also. Arrange for after school play dates and other activities while you are gone. Leave little notes and photos that your husband can give the kids at various times. Send postcards, call every night if possible, and above all, ENJOY YOURSELF!

I love to travel with my mother! We can't go as often or as long as we once could, but echoing the sentiments of the other responders, cherish this time!! And...remind your daughter that some day, you and she can hopefully go on special trips together as well!

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N.M.

answers from Lansing on

I know what it is like to leave your little one...I recently went on a girls weekend to Vegas (Thurs. a.m. - Sun. late p.m.) Also on this trip with me were two mothers of 2 younger children 9mos-10yrs.) We all survived, the hardest was leaving and going home, leaving b/c I knew I would miss my dtr, coming home b/c I just couldn't get there soon enough. I thought about not going but I have a very supportive husband who encouraged it and supported me (even though he hadn't spent more thank 4 hrs. alone with our dtr.) I looked at it this way...Will this have a long term effect on your childrens development...most likely not, if anything it will give your children a chance to bond with dad, who many times is overlooked b/c our children spend most of the time with us. I would be honest with them about you going, and give them a plan for when you are gone, something special for them to do with just dad. Life is too short to not reward yourself for being a dedicated mother...Go have yourself a great time! Hopefully my advice helped.
N.

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N.W.

answers from Lansing on

B.,
Once plans are set tell the kids your going away with grandma. You could take the kids on a fun overnight at a hotel swimming, movies popcorn games ect to show them how much fun you have with them and how you are excited to spend time like that with your mom.

As it gets closer put it one the calendar, Count down until you leaving and a big poster counting the days until you get back. Take a hint from that tv ad and take a small stuffed animal to take pictures of on your outings to share and include them in a special photo album when you get back.

You could also put together activities for you husband to do with the kids every night your gone. You can plan meals like what you will be eating for snack and Dinners. It may also be fun to reach your destination with the kids so they can get familar with what you will be doing. With this much time you can come up with some excellent ideas.

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N.G.

answers from Detroit on

Hi B.,

I think that it's smart to get your kids to think about and practice things that they are great at doing on their own right now- try to help them focus on projects that they do alone, and help them be proud of themselves. For example, when they play outside together while you do chores for an hour or more inside, be sure they know you are proud of them for being so adult and self- directed. Then, one of the times you're talking to your daughter about how it's important for her to prepare for adulthood in little ways all the time, and that independence is one thing she's starting to learn, you can ask her to come up with things that she does well with no help from you at all. In other words, try to get her talking and thinking about the fun things she can do without you. Hopefully, over the course of a week or two of this type of focus in your conversations now and then, she'll ask if you're leaving and you can gently mention that you've been planning to take a trip with grandma in the fall, and you're excited to spend time with her, but you can already tell you'll miss your daughter, AND- you hope your daughter can help make you feel more confident that things will go well at home while you're gone. For one thing, just say the trip will be a couple of days for now, she doesn't need to know the whole truth yet, and for another- downplay your worries, but also put her in a role of making you feel reassured. If she is empowered to reassure you- a role reversal- this will help her see that the doubts and fears she does have are normal- you have them too- and also that she can work with you to grow from this experience...

As a second strategy, I highly recommend that the family plan to spend money on entertaining themselves in some novel way or ways while you're gone. This way, they are having a fun, special time- a vacation- not just dragging along while mom is on vacation- and they will have lots of fun things to tell you about every day when you call home... It sounds like the kids will be in school and dad will be working, but hopefully they can spend a night or two at a hotel waterpark on the weekend, or maybe book a couple of friend playdate/ sleepovers, or go out to eat at some kid friendly restaurants (chuck e cheese, pizza hut, etc) a couple of nights.

Good luck, I hope this helps!

-N. G.

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M.W.

answers from Detroit on

B.,

I am so glad for you, I would love to have an opportunity to go away and just celebrate the special bond of friendship with my mom. As for your daughter, I feel that the sooner you tell her the better. You will have your own special time with your daughter as you prepare her for your absence, not to mention think about the wonderful ground work you are setting for the kind of relationship that she will be able to look forward to having with you. Also, I would create things for her to be responsible for while you are gone so that she will feel a sense of purpose, and letting her feel that she is kind of like that "glue", would also, give her the feeling of job well done. I will be praying for you, as you embark this new journey.

Blessings,
M.

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