A couple of weeks ago my husband and I vacationed without our children. Although it’s wonderful to have time together as a couple, we’ve done this only twice in ten years because it takes an extraordinary amount of effort to pull something like this off.
- First, you must find a responsible adult who is not only available, but willing to stay with your children for several days.
- Next, you must clean your house to a level it hasn’t seen in years, because no one outside your immediate family can be expected to live with the clutter and fine layer of grime that you ignore.
- Third, you must commit every aspect of parenting you keep in your head to paper: children’s food likes/dislikes, morning and bedtime routines, special schedule considerations like field trips and softball games.
- Fourth, you must wash every piece of laundry in the house and grocery shop to fully stock the refrigerator and pantry so that the babysitter does not have to have the complete experience of being a parent.
- Fifth, you must prepare a detailed emergency contact list and contingency plan in case: the babysitter gets sick, her car breaks down and she cannot pick up the children on time, the garage door refuses to go down, the hot water heater explodes, the roof leaks, etc.
- Sixth, you must notify teachers, neighbors, and friends of your plans and provide them with the babysitter’s contact information because it takes a village.
- Seventh, you must face the music and ensure that your will is in place and current and you must create and sign (with witnesses) a medical consent form for your children.
Despite any amount of advance planning, certain unanticipated things will occur. I’m convinced these are the 3 Universal Truths of Vacationing without Children:
- At least 2 of the children will be sick
- Corollary A: Said children were otherwise completely healthy when parents said good-bye
- Corollary B: Sickness will involve vomiting
- Corollary C: Sickness will require staying home from school
- Corollary D: Each child will be sick on a different day
- There will be warnings of unusual weather hazards, such as tornado, in your typically weather-neutral part of the country
- The children will thrive while the parents are away, but also miss the parents terribly and upon parents’ return will express their love with many many hugs and posters
After all this, is it worth it? You bet it is!