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Is It OK to Vacation Without Your New Baby? Absolutely!

beachIn another hideous (yet unsurprising) example of how rampant the judging of other parents has become, Prince William and Duchess Kate are being hassled for (gasp!) going on vacation without their son.

Quick! Someone alert child services or whatever they call it over there.

Apparently, the couple is on a week-long vacation in the Maldives, and they decided to leave baby George at home. The reaction by various media outlets has been nothing short of disgusting.

One headline accuses the couple of abandoning George for a selfish luxury vacation:

“They may have wanted some alone time while the new nanny bonded with George at his grandparents’ house, but leaving an eight-month old home alone because you want to go on vacation? Not flying well with the press or the public.”

Even those working behind the scenes at the normally sedate TODAY.com framed a question on the site thusly:

“OK or Not OK? Will and Kate Go on Vacation Without Baby George.”

Personally, I’m totally bummed that TODAY.com participated in such tabloid-style, parenting judgment nonsense. It reminds me of the beating Kim Kardashian took in the media for going to Paris without Nori. The accusations of her being a terrible mother got so bad that she finally responded to the haters who said she wasn’t spending enough time with her daughter.

So, what’s the deal? Why are we scrutinizing new parents who head out on much-needed vacations without their children?

I don’t understand how media outlets have the gall to pose the question on whether or not it’s OK to vacation without baby. What parents choose to do in the wake of their child’s birth is their decision, and it isn’t anyone’s place to judge them as “selfish parents.” Having a baby is a traumatic experience for your body, and after spending nine months pregnant, your mind is as mushy as your postpartum belly. Add to that the sheer exhaustion of the first month or two of caring for a newborn, and you know what you have? Someone who needs a vacation more than anyone else on the planet.

When Rebecca Eckler decided to write about going on a week-long vacation without her 10-week old for Mommyish she was called selfish, privileged, and a “lazy, apathetic” parent among other things. Unfortunately, Eckler spent much of her article justifying why she felt it was okay to leave her baby for a week. There is no need to justify doing something you feel will make you a better parent. Like Jerry Seinfeld said, “Sometimes we’re all a little too into this parenting thing and need to calm down.”

There is no valedictorian of parenting. You’ve been with your baby every second since birth? Yay for you. But that’s not how all parents choose to roll, and it doesn’t make them any less of a parent than you. In fact, you might even need to chill out a little bit or else all that uninterrupted baby time might lead to an eventual nervous breakdown.

All I’m saying is that breaks are a good thing. Deciding how early and for how long to leave your new child is as personal a parenting choice as breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and deciding when your baby is ready for daycare. As new parents, we all do what we need to do to get through an exhausting time. If a vacation in Mexico helps you be a better mom, book that  ticket, mamacita … and leave the guilt behind! Your little one will only benefit from a happy, well-rested mommy.

Image: Monica Bielanko

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