Vacationing without the kids

My husband and I have decided to take a seven day cruise without our kids. I have made excellent arrangements with relatives, so I know they will be fine. Although I know it will be good for our marriage, how do I cope with the guilt of leaving my toddlers at home?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Gayle Peterson

Gayle Peterson, PhD, is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She is a clinical member of the Association... Read more

Your marriage is the foundation of your family. It sounds as if it has been four years since the two of you have done anything like this together. The good news is that you are taking care of your marital relationship. You can rest assured that your children will benefit!

Your children's sense of well-being depends on a strong marital bond. All too often, parents neglect their marriage, only to discover that one day, they have drifted too far apart to come back together. Nurturing the relationship with your husband means that you will both return with renewed energy for each other as well as for the children.

In addition, the children have an important opportunity to establish a bond with their relatives during your absence. Having other adults, in addition to the parents, that the children can rely upon will result in a greater sense of security through an extended family network.

Also, leaving your children with the relatives may help them to rely on one another. Your children will experience comfort from the familiarity of their respective siblings. Although you may not have felt comfortable leaving your first child at two years of age, it is not uncommon for parents to feel greater security in leaving their children together. Like kittens in a litter, they will generate family warmth with each other.

Provide your children with family pictures and explain where you will be going. You can also hang a calendar with the seven days marked off to show where you will be each day and when you will be coming back. This will help them deal with your absence and develop trust in the fact that mommy and daddy will be returning home. When you do come back, bring them something small but special.

If you are still nervous, you can arrange to check in with your relatives every day. You will no doubt miss them and they will miss you. But it is also true that, like yourselves, they will have some great stories to share with the two of you!

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