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Leaving children to go on holiday, do you do it and how?

(31 Posts)
LDNmummy Sun 13-Feb-11 13:58:51

I am sure this question has been asked before but as a new mum to be, I have no experience so please let me know your opinion and advice.

My DP and I are now expecting our first and thrilled. But we are a young couple and have not done all the things we would like to do in terms of travelling to other countries. We have a lot of places in mind to visit, such as Japan, Brazil, New York, Mdagascar, Russia and so on. The kind of trips we have in mind are not always going to be family friendly and are also the kind of trips you spend about two weeks minimum on. I spoke to my partner about this and he said we could leave our DC with his mother, I have no problem with this as I love her to bits and I know the LO would be in the best care possible. But, I also wonder if I would feel ok leaving my MIL to look after the LO for 2 weeks as it is a long time and what I feel to be an imposition. We wouldn't do thhis till the baby was 2 or older but is it a good idea? Have any of you got this arrangement with grandparents?

In short, what do other people do when they want to go on a holiday but without the children? I don't think it is bad to leave the children at home as long as you take them somewhere later too and that they are with close family members who are responsible.

exexpat Sun 13-Feb-11 14:11:31

I take them with me. My DCs were born in Japan and have been to China, Australia, US, Canada and lots of Europe. I wouldn't have taken them back-packing around south-east Asia when they were toddlers, but I know people who have. Children can be very adaptable, if you start them on travelling and changes in diet/routines when they are little. Now mine are older, the options are broadening - you can get child-price interrail tickets, so we're thinking about that....

But having said that, I also know people who do leave DCs with parents/inlaws for a couple of weeks at a time, from baby or toddler stage onwards. Normally they are heading off for a week or two's skiing or lying by a pool somewhere hot and don't want to have to put the children in the resort's creche.

It really depends on what you want out of a holiday, and if your family are fit and healthy enough to look after them, and the children know the potential carers well enough to settle down with them for a week or two at a time.

bacon Mon 14-Feb-11 17:55:22

Lots of parents have long weekends on their own but never heard of them being left for 2 weeks while the parents have the main holiday.

Your life changes can you become a family unit and really you have to accept this, life will never be the same, and there are highs and lows of this.

Another thing is the money situation, being realistic will this happen? Before you know it your paying nusery fees etc etc - the savings for holidays dwendle and really a family holiday is what you end up having.

I think you would find it hard to leave very young children for two weeks.

Grandparents - mine? rubbish, I recently did a thread on wanting mine to have my children on the very odd weekend so we could have some proper time together and they could bond - I was shot down for even expecting them to go out of the way for me - my children - my problem. Very jealous of friends who have the helpful grandparents - another thing though - lovely babys become wild toddlers/children - some grandparents dont seem so keen when they are no longer cute.

angel1976 Mon 14-Feb-11 22:05:32

LDNmummy You will have to wait till baby is born before you know how you feel on this! When DS1 was born, he was PFB and I couldn't leave him to have overnighters with my ILs till he was almost 2 years old. DS2 was 11 months old and his brother who was 2.9 when he was left with my ILs for a whole week when I took DH to Tokyo on a surprise trip for his 30th. I found it easier to leave DS2 even though he is a very clingy baby as he is my second child. And this is with people (my ILs) whom I know I can trust 100%. We take them everywhere else though! They are very well-travelled toddlers - Bali, Singapore, Phuket, France etc and my DS1 is not even 3 yet! :D

exexpat Mon 14-Feb-11 22:36:09

<thread hijack> Angel - I remember the thread where you were planning that trip. How did it go?

angel1976 Mon 14-Feb-11 22:56:32

Hi exexpat! How are you? Trip was brilliant, thanks! DH and I really needed it I think. The first 2 nights were weird - I kept waking up in the middle of the night dreaming I was in the midst of doing something for the DSs! I just needed the headspace not to worry about the boys for a while... Thank goodness DS2's reflux seemed a lot better that week with the new reflux meds he went on and apparently he was no trouble. DS1 loved it of course. So all that worrying for nothing... really. We won't be doing that again in a hurry though! We both missed them loads and talking about bringing them to Tokyo when they are bigger. grin Thanks for asking after me, hon.

Kiwinyc Mon 14-Feb-11 23:23:17

I think your priorities change and theres no way you're going to know how you feel about it until after your child is born.

But we've travelled extensively with a baby in tow, just as much with two children but the sort of holiday we do has changed out of necessity.

We've also left both children with grandparents to go to Antigua for a week and that was fine. We spent a lot of time catching up on sleep, and catching up with each other, it was wonderful. We wouldn't do that all the time because its a lot of work for the grandparents but that changes as they get older (of course so do their grandparents) and they get easier. But one week away alone is probably our limit.

TooColdForPenguins Tue 15-Feb-11 00:24:23

Left my first-born at 18 months to go on a 12 day hol/cruise with DH (and I was 4 months pregnant too). We had the most fab holiday but it was VERY hard to leave DS and I didnt realise how hard it would be until the moment I walked away from the car he was in... I am pretty hard usually, thought it would be a breeze, but was very very tearful for the first 5/6 hours after leaving him.

Since then, we have left them for 6/8 days at a time (with grandparents) every year, they love it and their GPs love it and because its what they've always known, it is no big deal now IYSWIM. I honestly dont think twice about it anymore, it is just 'normal'.

Like the other posters say, you wont know how you'll feel til the time comes, but you certainly should keep an open mind as its a lovely thing for a child to have such a close and special relationship with extended family members.

Nefret Tue 15-Feb-11 11:10:03

I wouldn't leave mine to go on holiday for two weeks. There are lots of places that i would love to go which aren't child friendly too but they will have to wait until our girls are old enough to enjoy them too. Until then we go on family friendly holidays, mainly Turkey and Greece.

I think as others have said, once your baby is here you could feel very differently about leaving him/her for such a long time.

iskra Tue 15-Feb-11 11:23:40

I agree that having a kid doesn't mean an end to travelling. DD is 2.5 & we've taken her backpacking in South Africa, Swaziland, Nepal & India so far.

The longest we've left DD is for a weekend - I'm not sure if we would want to leave her for more than a week or so at the moment, but that might change later on. I think she gets a lot out of time with her grandmother. However we get a lot of travelling with her too, & since we prefer longer trips, we woudn't want to leave her behind for that length of time iyswim.

polarfox Tue 15-Feb-11 11:35:07

DH and I have never had holidays without the DCs. Odd weekend here and there, not too far away on a couple of occassions, that's about it.

But this year, I decided that DH and I will go away for 5 days abroad.
I thought long and hard about it, but I feel I need to concentrate on us as a couple without the kids, we used to have fab time abroad and I want/need that again- we have fab holidays with the children but I have to also admit that I would like to catch up properly with DH with no distractions.

The children are not happy about it (despite the fact that a month later we are all going away for 3 weeks abroad together!!!), but I feel it will also be a good learning curve for them in many ways.

BTW the children are primary school age eldest being 10

LDNmummy Fri 18-Feb-11 13:53:04

Thank you to everyone for the responses, exexpat and iskra I didn't know children were so able to travel, it actually makes me feel a lot better as, depending on circumstances of course, hopefully baby will be able to come along with instead of staying with MIL. Baby will have to start travelling young to visit family members around the globe anyway, DP and I are both mixed heritage so close family all over the place. We already have an invite to Jamaica to see FIL just so he can see bump lol! Those would be our family holidays, was just a bit nervous about taking LO to unfamilliar destinations in case of safety and health.

MIL really is great, and a nursery manager so amazing with kids, plus culturally speaking GP play a huge role in upringing of children and also have a parental role. LO will be seeing MIL at least once a week minimum so they will be close, but I wanted to know what others felt about this to get perspective. TooCold I would probably have the same reaction having thought about it, everyone is right, won't know till he/ she is here.

Priorities are defo gonna change though travel is quite essential for my family as I said above, as well as enjoyment, so will be a definite thing to consider.

Thanks again guys, will be a thing of compromise and rolling with the punches I guess. Awesome advice all round and much appreciated :D

Glubs Tue 22-Feb-11 12:00:48

I agree that you'll have no idea until you have the child. You don't know how you'll feel and you don't know what sort of a child it will be (clingy or independent etc).

The first time I left my daughter for a week was last year but although she had a fab time with her GP and we had a great holiday we all missed each other and so we have vowed not to do it again. We get so little family time together it seems odd to use up our leave from work to be apart.

Once the child gets to school age you enter a whole other minefield of not being able to take your holidays when it suits you.

Don't make a decision now, see how you feel when the baby comes along. Your life will change so dramatically that holidays won't be high on the agenda at first.

Ormirian Tue 22-Feb-11 12:02:11

Well usually I set my alarm for 4am then sneak out before they are awake.

I find that's quite effective.

weegiemum Tue 22-Feb-11 12:14:46

We have regular long weekends away (2-3 times a year) and leave children with my parents or MIL. Only in the last year have we done anything for longer and that was when dh and I went to visit people we know working in Venezuela and we went for 9 days leaving the kids behind - they were 9, 7, 5 and went to his Mum.

Mainly we take them too - they've backpacked round Central America, done independent travelling in the Caribbean, fantastic city breaks in Europe and we are eyeing up India (on dd1's request!) and were considering Egypt (on the back burner for now!). We've been to Canada twice, travelled through the Rockies in a camper van, camped on the beach in Vancouver island, been whale watching. We're going to New York in October with them. We never stay in resorts, we always travel independently, so its a different experience to package tours. They're now 11, 9, 7.

To be honest I think 2 weeks is too long. If there are all these things you "haven't done" then if you're not happy to take the kids with you then you might have to wait until they are grown up a bit. You haven't mentioned anywhere that I wouldn't take my children though!!

One thing to consider which could make your life easier at a later date - if you are going to travel, then you will need travel vaccinations and you can get the BCG done at/around birth which I wish I had done now as holding down a 14 month old and then dealing with her picking at the horrid spot on her arm is something I would try to avoid! Our kids are all fully travel vaxed, including rabies (which we had to pay for) but that can give much more peace of mind.

Have fun!

LDNmummy Tue 22-Feb-11 15:45:38

Thanks again for the input, weegiemum your right, I haven't mentioned not taking the LO as in reality that would be my ideal scenario. It was just that I didn't know it was so possible to do so till others pointed out on this thread. I have told my DP and we are now doubly excited over our future travelling plans knowing that (health and other factors in mind) our LO can come along and experience all these journeys with us.

Yes the vaccines are already something we are planning on doing as our families are from tropical countries and so we will be sorting those out very early on.

I already know I would miss my LO immensely so am really relieved actually.

lol @ Ormirian I will have to try that one some day grin

COCKadoodledooo Tue 22-Feb-11 15:54:49

Dh and I have done weekend breaks without ds1 (not had the opportunity since ds2 came along), and a few midweeks things, but always in the UK.

I did go to Timbuktu without him (he was nearly 4 by then) but dh stayed home with him. That wouldn't have been a family friendly trip, but it was totally a once in a lifetime thing for me so I couldn't not go. Wouldn't have wanted to leave ds with anyone other than dh though.

We still harbour grand plans for a round the world tour at some stage, and the chiddlers will come with us, just circumstances have conspired against us and we've not made it. Yet.

Fennel Tue 22-Feb-11 16:01:20

If you really do want to keep travelling after having children my best advice is stick to the one child at least for a while. I am well aware that with one child we backpacked in Hong Kong and Australia, with two we made it to Spain, and with 3 we just about staggered to the local park once in a while.

We don't have that sort of grandparents so it's not an option to leave the dc for long, but it's always easier to imagine leaving them before they're born than to do it after, I found.

GnomeDePlume Fri 25-Feb-11 21:49:54

We havent travelled as widely as many who have posted here but we have taken our 3 DCs with us (bar the trips to celebrate our 40th bithdays).

Surprisingly we have done more since DCs were born rather than less. Having the DCs means that we get up, get out and do things. They arent going to be happy sitting around doing nothing. It really is great fun showing them places. They now consider themselves robbed if they dont get to see a castle or two while on holiday.

iskra Sat 26-Feb-11 20:19:38

LDNmummy, I was thinking about you the other day. I was a young-ish mum when I got pregnant with DD (unplanned) & one of the things I obsessed about during my pregnancy was travel. I cried because I was having this baby & I haven't been to Peru & when was I going to get to Peru?! I kid you not. I got a lot of reassurance from hanging out on the Lonely Planet "Kids to Go" forum & reading blogs from people travelling with kids.

KimB77 Mon 28-Feb-11 12:11:42

I would say that you will know what to do and how you feel about it once you have had the baby. You are thinking quite ahead if you do not want to leave her/him until at least 2 years of age, anyway. I am a passionate traveller myself but I have put it on hold for now. I did a lot of travelling when I was younger but there are still a lot of places I want to go to. When I go, however, I like to go for at least 1 month, so I will be waiting until my kids are a lot older to carry on with my passion!

grumpykat25 Fri 04-Mar-11 11:17:05

I know that I wouldn't want to leave dd for that long. I also know that she LOVED spending a month in Bali when she was five months old. If she knew we were going she'd be thrilled we're off to Malaysia soon too. She will be going all over with us- I have loads of not traditional kids holidays up my sleeve. As soon as we can (finance is the only constraint) we hope to take her on an Indian/ s e asian odyssey.
Don't fret- your lo can do whatever you want, the only constraint is your worry!

PowderMum Fri 04-Mar-11 21:02:27

My girls are now both at secondary school and we love to travel.
We were lucky to go to many places before they were born, then for a few years had simpler holidays in Europe and now are back on more adventurous ones, we would all rather be experiencing different cultures or climbing volcanoes than sitting round a pool on an all inclusive in Spain.
Both DH and I have great parents and have been away for a few weekends together, but in general as we both work full time, holidays are our family time so we all go. I wouldn't enjoy or see the point in 2 weeks away without them.
My SIL and BIL have a toddler and they are forever holidaying without her she is pushed from GP to CM to other relative rather like she is an inconvenience to their lifestyle

Bettyspencer Wed 09-Mar-11 09:21:29

As many have said, wait and see how you feel. Holidays with children are different, yes, and it took dh and I a while to adapt! But we have had some amazing holidays at home and abroad and you enjoy experiences through your children - taking them to the beach for the first time, eating foreign food, going to the mini-disco, climbing mountains...

The years have absolutely flown and we are aware that our holidays as a family are numbered - dd1 will soon be choosing to holiday with friends rather than us. Health and finances permitting, dh and I will then be able to start planning grown up holidays

I went on a girls' weekend away when dd1 was 1 (I had agreed to it when pregnant not realising how I would feel). Being separated from her was really traumatic (although I did manage to enjoy myself). Nothing prepares you for how you will feel about your baby and even grandparents may not be good enough tom look after him/ her for an extended period of time!

mommy47 Fri 11-Mar-11 17:25:55

Any advice very appreciated. My DH and I are older you can guess my age and he is soon to be 59. We have 22 month old twins. They have a dedicated nanny not any grandparents all gone. So, long story short DH would like to take trip to Ireland we are in US. Five days. Don't want them to be damaged by us going. Have never left them and don't know if it would be okay. We are highly stressed but will miss them as well. Hear the indecision. Just would like some information. Thanks.

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