Why It’s Okay To Take A Vacation Without The Kids

Every year I take an annual trip to the Caribbean with my girlfriends. No kids. No dads. And every year it feels like I get backlash for doing so. I don’t see it outright (no one is calling me a bad mother on Facebook!), but I can feel the judgement every time someone doesn’t like a photo of me on the beach sans my son.

Why is that? And when did it become such a bad thing to take a vacation, or even just a day to yourself? When did being a mother require you to spend every single hour with your child until they ship off to college at age 18? (I remember my parents going on vacation every year without me. I never resented them for it. In fact, I liked getting to spend a week with gram on the farm, or as I got older, having the house to myself. Not once did it ever cross my mind that they were being bad parents, it just seemed a normal way of life. People worked, people took vacations. Sometimes those vacations didn’t include the kids.)


You can’t go horseback riding on the beach in Nevis with a toddler.

At a recent conference I attended in Detroit, it was mentioned that mothers today spend more hours a day with their children than they did in the 1960s. And that was when most women were stay-at-home moms! Today, mothers may be spending less hours cooking and cleaning, but we’re making it up with time spent with the kids. Add in a job and you have moms who work all day only to come home and work their “second job.” If anyone deserves a few days off, it’s the modern mom.

So why are we so quick to judge each other for taking that time off? I asked some of my mom friends if they ever go away without the kids and I was astonished to hear the answer “yes” from 90% of them. Most of them aren’t posting photos of their happy (and quiet!) kid-less getaways on Facebook. Is it out of shame? Also interesting: Many of my non-American friends don’t feel the guilt I do as a mom when I step away. In fact, these European moms were shocked to hear that I even felt bad to take a day off, as it’s such a normal part of life for them. As author Pamela Druckerman of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting said: “Yet the French have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this.


So yes, it’s time to stop feeling guilty, and to stop shaming other parents for taking a little time off to recharge as well. Here are a few tips on how you, too, can learn to slip away without the kids:

1. Make sure all necessary documents are ready in case of emergency.

Have living wills prepared (if both parents are going to be away together), and have a notarized letter of consent for the caregiver staying with the children allowing them to have medical procedures performed if the worst should happen.

2. You don’t have to go far.

Even taking an overnight or day trip to a local spa or hotel counts! You may be surprised by how recharged you feel even if you’re only away for 24 hours (or less.)

3. Get a cheap international plan with FaceTime or texts.

You can always log on your phone or iPad internationally via WiFi for free, and most resorts offer it. You can even use Facebook for free messaging instead of texts. But, just in case of an emergency, I usually get a cheap international plan for about $30 that consists of approximately 50 minutes of phone time and 50 texts. Plus, it’s always fun to FaceTime the kids from the beach.

4. Affordable getaways are possible.

There are tons of great (and cheap) options if you want to get away for a few days. For international vacations, I use Jetsetter.com;Groupon and LivingSocial.com always have great weekend or day trips available based on your location as well.

5. Don’t feel guilty to set sail with your friends.

Think of all the cool things you can do without the babies in tow—zip-lining in Puerto Rico, conch diving in Turks and Caicos, exploring the local fishing towns and food in Barbados.

Have you traveled without the kids lately? How did you feel leaving them at home? Let us know in the comments section below!

Originally published on MommyNearest.com

By | 2017-11-18T13:02:52+00:00 August 5th, 2014|activities, Girl Talk, Motherhood, things to do, Travel|22 Comments

About the Author:

Stephanie Barnhart is an award-winning blogger, columnist, and outdoor enthusiast writer featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and other media outlets. She is also the NYC Editor for MommyNearest.com.


  1. LT August 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    its my fault. my bad. ;). So, Turks 2015?

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 8:12 am

      haha no BVI 2015!

  2. Theresa Beauteeful Living August 6, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I think parents all need a kid-less trip away once in a while. Nice tips!

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      totally agree! thank you!

  3. Robin Rue August 6, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Absolutely! My husband and I take a few weekends away without kids every year!

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      great to hear!

  4. Stefany @ ToBeThode August 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I think a no-kids vacation sounds fun. We have only gotten away for a weekend but it was a good time. We need to do it more.

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      yes that’s why I plan for at least one a year!

  5. Momma Told Me August 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I think children, even toddlers need independent time too- whether at grandmas or another relative- it helps them become more stable, and also appreciative of time with the parents!

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      totally agree- it’s good for the kids as well!

  6. Natalie August 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I’m EBF at the moment, so this isn’t something we can do at the moment… but hopefully in the future! We are actually going on a vacation this weekend and bringing the babe along with us… I’m definitely a little nervous about that!

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      yeah i remember EBF – well, not really due to sleepless days haha. Good for you, Natalie! You’re time will come 🙂

  7. Life as a Convert August 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I haven’t had a vacation WITH the kids, let alone WITHOUT the kids in a while. I need both 🙂

    • Stephanie August 6, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      plan one! even if it’s just to a local beach or lake! then come back and tell me about it 🙂

  8. Dina Farmer August 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I feel guilty and I think that’s normal. However, I would never turn down a vacation from my son. I took a trip to South Korea to visit my husband and it was the best 10 days of my life. I got to sleep in and go to be an adult without having to worry about my son every step of the way. It recharged my batteries and made me a better mother for taking a small break from my son. He is too little to even grasp time. thankfully I have totally awesome in laws that would care for him in a blink of an eye.

    Nothing wrong with taking breaks from you kids.

  9. Trisha Grimes August 6, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I can’t wait to take a vacation with just my husband someday! I want to go on a “babymoon” before #2 comes in December. We were thinking of going somewhere close and convenient like Atlantic City. Thanks for the tips!

  10. Jaime Nicole August 7, 2014 at 12:11 am

    I think it’s great to get a vacation without the kids. I am a single mom so it won’t happen for many more years !LOL

  11. Katrina Gehman August 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    we go on vaca with the kids and one without the kids as well

  12. Elayna ~ The Positive MOM August 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Of course it’s okay. If you want to do it, then frankly, just do it. I always say “the best gift you can give the people in your life is a happier you.” You must take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Embrace mommy guilt because it means you care… and that’s really all that matters.

  13. Maggie King August 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Sure it’s okay and much needed! I would love to get away without the kids with my hubby! You go girl!

  14. Lexie Lane August 9, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Looks like you had such a great time! It’s definitely healthy to be able to do all this together. Good for the kids too.

  15. Rachel B November 18, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Oh yes, we agreed we would do at least one vacation a year without our son and we have really enjoyed them so far! It’s very refreshing and great for our relationship as well!

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