Once you become a parent and dedicate yourself to parenthood, your whole life does a 180-degree turn. You’re no longer free to do as you please; there’s rarely room for spontaneity or recklessness. At the very beginning, it might even prove challenging to grab a coffee with your best friend. However, while it’s very easy to forget about yourself entirely, this dependence shouldn’t become your new default state.
To maintain your happiness and be able to pass it to your children, you need to remember that you’re still so many things besides being a parent – you may have your career, hobbies, and passions, and there’s nothing wrong if you want to pursue them. On the contrary – it’s the right (and healthy) thing to do, even if it means parting with your children once in a while, like when you want to travel.
Yes, separation anxiety is real and shouldn’t be belittled, but you should learn to deal with it, not surrender to it. If that’s something you’re struggling with, we have some advice for you. Below, you will find reasons why traveling alone is good both for yourself and your kids, and how you can make it easier for everyone.
Traveling Alone Is Good for Your Mental Health
There’s no doubt that raising a child is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life. You’re responsible for shaping a new personality and growing a human being, which is both challenging and fulfilling. However, it’s also a lot of pressure. Parenting isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of effort, especially when you’re doing it on your own. According to Survive Divorce, it can be so exhausting and overwhelming that it’s not uncommon for both married and single parents to struggle with chronic anxiety and depression.
When you travel alone, you not only get to recharge your batteries, but you also learn to appreciate the time you spend with your kids even more. It’s a great way to count your blessings – to remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place. You can finally go for a demanding hike or browse through these 25 best horror movies on Netflix your children are too little to enjoy. It will allow you to forget about your worries and focus on having fun with your family once you’re back.
You Traveling Alone Might Actually Benefit Your Kids
While the first few times you part with your children, your heart will probably be breaking due to your own emotions as well as their reaction, it’s essential for kids to learn that even when you leave, you always come back.
Moreover, if you want them to grow up to be strong, independent adults who take care of themselves, you first need to be a self-care-oriented, strong, independent adult yourself. This is no doubt very difficult, but it’s a challenge that you and your children will face at some point. Of course, they should always have your support and love, but it’s also important for them to see that you can be away from them and everyone will still be okay.
It goes without saying that children are happier when their parents are happy – but did you know that they are also healthier? And enjoying a little more independence each time you go away will also help boost their confidence, which is absolutely essential if you want them to succeed and remain content with their lives.
You Need Strong Relationships With Other People
Of course, you can’t live without your kids, but you also can’t live with them 24/7. It’s important to spend some time with the other adults in your life, too. Whether it’s your partner or your best friend, you need to build healthy relationships with other people. And not many things bring us together as much as travels do. Your relationships should never replace your bond with your children, but they will certainly enrich it and help you all grow as individuals.
As for romantic relationships, it’s very easy for couples to get stuck in their routine under any circumstances, but it’s almost impossible to avoid if you have kids. You have to sacrifice a lot for them, which doesn’t necessarily make your relationship any better. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to give up on romance entirely to be a good parent. The two are not mutually exclusive – in fact, they go hand in hand, as your happy relationship will create a happy family and give your kids a model to strive for.
How to Prepare for Your First Trip Without Children
Unless you’ve been packing up for a trip every week since you welcomed your first kid to the world, traveling alone once your children are finally old enough to stay home can feel quite challenging.
The good news is that with a little bit of planning and preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip while knowing they’re doing just fine. The key is to limit potential worries. Here are some tips for doing just that:
- If they’re the right age, talk to them about your plans. No matter how small your children are, it’s always a good idea to let them know about your plans – and make sure they understand that you’ll be back.
- Prepare and pack for the trip to avoid unnecessary worries. Considering separation anxiety, you don’t want to add anything else to your plate. While missing your kids and worrying about them can’t be avoided during your first time away, you can at least free your mind of other concerns.
- Leave them with a list of responsibilities. Leave behind a list of simple tasks that they can do every day. They shouldn’t take too much of their time, but it will help them feel more independent, confident, and still needed.
- Make sure your children like whomever they’re staying with. If you’re leaving your kids with a friend or relative, make sure they can provide a similar amount of attention and care as you would.
- Keep in touch but don’t overdo it. You don’t have to call or text every hour, but you should maintain contact to keep them from panicking. Before you leave, make sure your children have your phone number and can reach you should they need to.
- When you come back, make sure to talk about your trip. Ask them how they felt and what they did while you were away. This way, they’ll feel included and important.
- Plan a special activity when you return. It doesn’t matter what it is – whether it’s going to the cinema or just baking a cake together. It will let them know that you’re glad to be back, and it will give you an opportunity to bond as well.
The Bottom Line
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious when parting with your children for the first time. However, if you want to become a stronger parent who is capable of handling the challenges life throws your way, this is something you must do, both for yourself and your kids.
Prepare yourself and your children, take some time to think about what you’ll say, and then do it without hesitation. The best way to help your children grow is to grow yourself.
If you still feel uncomfortable about going away, try talking to a friend or family member who can help you feel more confident and allow you to relax and enjoy your vacation.