Last month, my daughter and I were very fortunate to be guests of the San Juan Marriott in Puerto Rico. While keeping my eyes open for all the hotel had to offer babies and toddlers, my daughter and I also got to experience all that Puerto Rico offers families. It was a great little break for the both of us, and baby brother was left at home in the capable hands of Daddy. Or so I thought.
I learned via text message that my husband decided to take our son on a mini-break of his own – a road trip to Ottawa with Grandma and Aunty! For these journeys, I got the much easier traveling companion, but we both got something that’s admittedly been lacking in our family this past year: undivided time with our children.
We believe the whole point of a family vacation is to spend time together as a family, and now that means all four of us. But our Puerto Rico/Ottawa mini-breaks gave us the opportunity to truly connect with the one in our care. Because the baby is only 15 months, he spends most of his time with me. His mini-break with Daddy (my husband calls it their mancation) gave him precious one on one time with his father, and said father got to experience firsthand how much is involved in a toddler’s full-time care (not to mention prepping for travel!)
My mother/daughter getaway was especially precious, as she hasn’t quite adapted as well as we’d hoped to becoming a big sister. In spite of our best efforts, and following all the advice in every publication, it’s clear she’s unhappy with the status quo. This break together allowed me to fall in love with my daughter all over again. Being home with the kids, I experience day in and day out the rocky road of big-sisterhood, and the break from it did us both a world of good. I missed the baby terribly, and in spite of everything, she did too.
I would never in a million years have considered taking separate family vacations, but seeing how restorative it was for all of us, I can definitely see the value. If you’re having a tough time or a rough go with one of your kids, it may well be worth it to do mini-breaks apart.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Even, it seems, for baby brothers.
Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel – your online guide for travel with babies, toddlers & young children. From baby packing lists to tips on coping with jet lag in toddlers, Have Baby Will Travel wants to help you get away with your baby! For more, visit Corinne’s Have Baby Will Travel blog, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, where Corinne welcomes your questions and comments.