Life / Sex & relationships

Guilt-free Vacation Without Kids

Gabriella and I went on vacation, and we did Walton-on-Thames not miss our children. Hashtag NotATypo. We called home a couple of times during our 10 days away, when we could find the time. What?!? The boys were school most days, and then they had after school activities. By the time they were home, we were on our way to dinner … or getting ready for dinner … or thinking about dinner. And by the time we were finished with dinner, they were in bed. Also, we didn’t feel like it. That’s right. We didn’t want to call home and talk to the kids.

We didn’t want to know if they were doing their homework or flossing or going to bed on time and we certainly did not want to know if anything was going wrong. As long as we didn’t check in, everyone was fine. No one ran into the corner of a table with his head. No one wore the same pair of underwear for two days in a row – or longer – because he forgot where we keep the underwear and no one cried himself to sleep missing us. We didn’t want to hear it. We were on vacation, and no one would spoil that for us – especially our kids*.

*As far as we know, all the good stuff happened, and none of the bad stuff happened.

IMG_2489_2I felt guiltier about constantly posting vacation pictures on Facebook than I felt about not calling our children. I thought about writing one of those Open Letters of apology to parents back at home watching snow melt who had to suffer through photo after photo on Facebook of cloudless, summer skies and exquisite meals and historic sights and boutique shopping and nightcaps on the balcony… but none of our friends has time to read open letters. They hardly have time to read closed letters. The kind in envelopes. Actually addressed to them by name. In the mail. Where letters are. It is all they can do to get to the end of the day and possibly wash the dishes piled up since breakfast and watch last season’s (insert name of show everyone has already seen).

I wonder if I would have felt bad if we had been away when one of them learned to walk or said his first word. Would I have felt all “Cats in the Cradle” about taking time off? BOTH of our boys lost a tooth while we were away. Seriously, what are the odds? The older one gladly accepted a dollar from the friends who took them in for a weekend. He played along with their Fantasy Tooth Fairy game and pocketed the cash so as not to make things awkward. The younger one, however, had expectations beyond money. He had written a letter and decorated it with many pictures. There were detailed questions that the Tooth Fairy needed to answer about fairy life. I gave instructions to go ahead and write on behalf of me and the Tooth Fairy. Instead, our caregiver convinced him to wait until we got home so that we could see his letter before the Tooth Fairy took it away. He waited.

Traveling on the same plane, we did stop to consider who was next in line should anything tragic happen. Then we stopped considering who was next in line to consider more pressing issues such as which one of the Oscar nominated movies we should watch having not seen ANY because we have children who prevent us from seeing all the movies and traveling to all the places like we used to do. Spoiler Alert: Nothing tragic happened, we didn’t die, our next-in-line didn’t get the kids, and we watched The Imitation Game.

We’re home now and life resumed as if we were never away. We landed at the airport at 3PM on a Monday. After 15 hours of travel, we arrived home in time to greet the kids just getting home from school and present them with gifts. As we watched their eyes light up with each souvenir we gave them, the two of us chatted quietly about how proud we were of them – how easy they made it for us to go.

I took them to after school activities, did three loads of laundry (so that they would not have to wear the same pair of underwear for two days in a row) AND I wrote a very detailed reply from the Tooth Fairy to accompany the cash before hitting the sheets at 11PM.

A week later, the boys barely remember that we were gone while we try not to forget a thing. We found a little bit of our pre-kid selves on that grown up vacation, and it felt really good. Our kids survived and even grew up a little bit without us. We’d do it all again, and we wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty for leaving them. Hashtag SorryNotSorry.



Tags: , , ,


  1. Dylan Flunker says:

    I can’t wait. This post gives me hope that one day a kid-free vacation can be mine.

    • Deborah Goldstein says:

      It CAN happen! It took a lot of planning and even more penny-saving and help from our incredible friends, but it can be a reality if you decide to make it so. I’m rooting for you!!

  2. I love that picture of the two of you!

    • Deborah Goldstein says:

      Thank you. It’s the perfect photo to look at right now while it’s raining in New Jersey. Must not forget our stress-free days in the sun!

  3. Hashtag jealous. hashtag very
    Adult alone time makes for better parents. Better people. Brava!

    • Deborah Goldstein says:

      Which is why our government should subsidize annual vacations for all parents! We’d be the best parents EVAH!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.