Leaving Your Little Ones Overnight
With my birthday just a few days ago, we've been talking A LOT about taking an overnight trip sans the boys to somewhere (anywhere?) local for R&R and adult-only time. But I am struggling with the idea of leaving my babies overnight, and I know other mamas feel the same way.
Our friends and family have encouraged us to take a little more time for ourselves... but since Ryan and Leo came along, we've only been away from them for one night (a wedding last August—photographic proof below).
I'm home with the boys every day, so I'm a little reluctant to change the routine entirely and leave the kids with their grandparents because they're just not used to it. They both (but especially Ryan) want me or Daddy by their side every minute... playing with them, helping them, reading bedtime stories, tucking them in. It's even harder now that Ryan understands when we leave.
A fulfilled and rested mama is more likely to be a Happy Mom and a child who can trust that his parents will come back is more likely to develop a sense of self and independence apart from his parents. (And let's not forget about Dad who also feels the effects of never—ever—getting to have a date night.)
And even though I know this... my feelings definitely get in the way!
With that said, we've decided to take an overnight trip to Las Vegas this weekend, and I wanted to share how we've been preparing for it. It's a spot that hubby and I frequented when we were dating and before babies because it's super easy to get away on a quick flight, and we have fun playing our long time favorite slot machines and table games!
Even though it's just a night, we get to get back to US and feel like we're dating all over again. There's something about Las Vegas that makes you feel young and carefree again! Like you don't need to worry about a thing back home. Just one night of mostly carefree fun and I'm good! Honestly, just being able to get ready and put some makeup on and head down to dinner without hearing whining and "mama, mama" in the background... I need this right now!
Here are a few tips that we learned after our first overnight (almost a year ago now!) with some new things we'll be trying this time around, too.
Preparing for baby's first overnight
choose your caregivers together
First things first, make sure you're BOTH comfortable and on the same page with who will be watching your little one(s). An overnight is not the same thing as a quick trip to the mall for holiday shopping. There's a completely different set of expectations and demands... so if your parents don't have the energy level for a daytime babysit, it may not be fair to ask them to stay overnight.
Decide where the kids will be staying
I don't really like the idea of the boys being away from home (and their own beds), so I prefer that any overnights happen in our home. I feel like it sets the stage for an easier night because they'll have the familiarity of their toys, favorite snacks, bedtime routine, and beds. It also makes me feel more comfortable about the situation to know my boys are in their room.
Consider any special needs that may come up and plan for them
The last time we went away, Ryan was asking for us and especially upset when we left. To make the transition easier for Ryan, we plan to invite his favorite cousins over because he loves playing with them! We're hoping it'll provide a great distraction and also make the evening special for him.
Try to stick to the general routine, but be flexible
Of course you want to try to keep your kids on their routine as much as possible during an overnight. But, you also need to let go a little bit and allow the grandparents to make decisions, too. (Easier said than done, I know.) Will it really hurt the kids if they stay up a little later or eat a yummy snack they wouldn't otherwise get? You want the kids to have fun and enjoy the experience, too!
Make it easy for everyone
Leave behind a pile of favorite snacks, pre-make smoothies, grab a frozen pizza... pick out a mommy-and-daddy approved movie and have some activities (like decorating Easter eggs or a trip to the local park) ready to go.
Tell your kids you're leaving days ahead of time
Don't try to hide that you'll be leaving, especially with older littles. Make a countdown calendar to the SUPER FUN SLEEPOVER day. You can even read books like Llama Llama Gram & Grandpa and watch the "Grown-ups come back" episode of Daniel Tiger.
Being with our kids makes us the happiest, and we miss them terribly (and talk about them a LOT) when we are away, but it'll be a healthy break for all of us, parents and kids alike.
I haven't been great about self-care lately so I plan on getting in some time at the spa and pool and sleeping in (ah, it feels like a dream!). Maybe I'll even get to enjoy some birthday cake since I won't have to make a mad dash out the door with two melting down toddlers after dinner ha!
(I'm also secretly hoping that a night away will help my little lion in the weaning process. I'm pretty sure he'll be roaring for mama while I'm gone, but grandma is the perfect person to soothe him and keep him a happy lion until I return.)
Once we get back home from Vegas, we'll be hopping right into our Easter weekend celebrations with a family dinner at our home on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, we'll attend church and hunt eggs with the boys.
Have you taken an overnight trip without the baby? Where to? How'd it go? Drop a note in the comments to reassure me that it's all going to be good!
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!
Follow along with me on IG stories to see what we'll be up to in Vegas... hint hint: it'll probably be a whole lotta spa-time and sleep for this mama!