Last week, my husband and I went away on our first child-free vacation in more than two years. We went on a Caribbean cruise (gifted to us by my wonderful in-laws no less) and to everyone around me it sounded like a dream come true. So, why was I so emotional over it? I’m pretty sure I was having separation anxiety, which I realized after reading this article the other day. Glad I’m not the only one.
I’m typically not one of those moms who struggles to “let go.” My daughter is lucky enough to have two wonderful sets of grandparents who live nearby and want to be involved in her life. My mom and my mother-in-law each take my daughter one day a week so I can work from home without interruption and there is no shortage of sleepovers (she usually spends the night at one of their houses at least twice a month). So, even though my husband and I hadn’t had a getaway in years, I wasn’t feeling totally desperate for a break since I get them quite often compared to most parents.
Still, a tropical vacation… who says no to that? No one, that’s who!
So, we agreed to join in on this cruise, and as the day of embarkment approached I grew more and more anxious. How was I supposed to leave my 2-year-old for eight whole days? I cried no less than 18 times in the week leading up to our trip… as well as on the plane… and multiple times during the first three of our eight-day vacation. I think part of the problem was the fact that I was feeling so out of touch since I really couldn’t communicate with my child while out in the middle of the ocean.
After those first few days I finally settled into vacation mode and was able to enjoy the rest of the trip, but we definitely had a rough start. When we returned, my daughter was no worse for the wear, and I’d venture to say she probably had more fun vacationing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house than she would’ve being home with us. She obviously missed me, because she’s been extra sweet since our return, but she never had any emotional breakdowns like I did. Apparently my toddler doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety… just her mama.
Hopefully when we take a trip again in the future (not any time soon mind you), I’ll have an easier time dealing. I guess I’ll just have to take some cues from my kid.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.