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If I Go on Vacation, Will My Baby Forget Me?

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One mom left her baby for almost two weeks ... and lived to tell the tale.

Young woman with arms crossed, looking out of window

Angela Chee: When I tell people I just left my baby for almost 2 weeks to go to Italy with my husband, they either think "How could you leave for that long?" or they can't wait to start planning their trip.

Believe me: it wasn't easy. My son will be one this week. We had planned our trip when he was only a few months old. Our friends with kids kept telling us that we needed to get away alone, before it's too late. Going on vacation was the last thing I was thinking about when I was just getting the motherhood thing figured out. But when it was time to go, I was glad we had planned it. Leaving was actually harder than being gone. The weeks before I left were filled with anxiety. I was nervous about leaving my son, even though I knew he would be perfectly fine with my mother-in-law. I felt guilty. While I deserved some time with my husband, it felt strange to leave my son. I didn't even pack until the night before because I wanted to make sure he had everything he needed, that laundry was done, food was prepared, and everything was in order. I even weaned him off breastfeeding.

While I missed my son, I have to admit it was nice to not wake up at 6:30 AM, to not have to breastfeed and worry about what he was going to eat or not eat that day. It was just me and my husband and a bottle of wine. I was able to forget about missing him for moments throughout the day, but as a mom you can't help but think of your baby every time another baby or child goes by. But technology made it easier. With Skype, we could not only talk to my son, but we could see him on the computer. I'm not sure he understood exactly what was going on, but he waved and blew kisses. We watched him eat his lunch and throw food ... nothing had changed.

For you moms out there who are considering a vacation -- he didn't forget me. The first morning back at home when I went to get him out of his crib, he did stare at me a little longer, but once I picked him up it was like not a moment had passed.

next: 4-Year-Olds with iPods?
61 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cheree April 28, 2009, 1:43 PM

Two things I can’t figure out. #1: Why you “deserve” time alone with your husband. While I’m all for couples connecting and continuing the romance, it’s a little extreme to think you “deserve” to leave an infant halfway around the world for two weeks while you have a romantic vacation.

#2: Why didn’t you take the child with you? Truly, I’m speaking from experience, international travel with a baby is not all the complicated or expensive, as many countries, Italy being one of them, are very child and baby friendly.

I guess in general I just don’t get why adults choose to have children, then immediately start planning ways to get away from their children. We all need breaks, couples need child-free time, but small children are temporary and precious.

Kristen April 28, 2009, 3:04 PM

Cheree, I LOVED your response and agree wholeheartedly. I get having a date night, I can even understand slipping away to a hotel for one or two nights IN town but half way across the world?

littlepeapie April 28, 2009, 3:23 PM

Totally w/ both of you…and weaning in order to take a trip that you don’t have to take? That is ridiculous!

N April 28, 2009, 4:59 PM

you women are to obsessive about your kids. get out with you husbands and get a life!

Roxanne April 28, 2009, 5:13 PM

N - I don’t think it’s obsessive at all. the commenters make great points … getting away for date night or even a couple of nights is one thing, but 2 weeks for a pleasure trip to Italy is a little much. I’m a single mom (and didn’t plan to be - we separated a month before the baby was born) and there are sacrifices I have to make: traveling around the world being one of them. why have a kid if you aren’t willing to make those sacrifices? we HAVE a life, it’s with our kids. that’s the choice you make when you become a mother.

Janine April 28, 2009, 5:14 PM

Wow. Extreme responses. I wonder what these women would say of me: I left 3 children under 10 with my husband for 10 weeks while I went on a business trip…

Angela, you did a brave thing. I also left my 1 year old for 3 days when I went on a business trip and you’re right: leaving was harder than being away.
Just blow off the criticism. You do what’s right for you and your family.

Kristen April 28, 2009, 6:26 PM

Janine, business is different than pleasure. I actually would say I applaud you for doing what needs to be done to support your family. Leaving for 2 weeks on a pleasure vacation, no I won’t applaud someone for that, especially when we are talking about a BABY, the mother weaned her child for crying out loud!

Ginnie April 28, 2009, 7:03 PM

I agree with Kristen,Roxanne,Littlepeapie and Cheree—I found this ridiculous and my kids are OLD. Jeez—enjoy them while you can!

Wendy April 28, 2009, 7:50 PM

I’m leaving next week for 5 days with my husband for a vacation to celebrate my 30th birthday. My son, who is being cared for by my mom while we’re gone, is one and wouldn’t enjoy the adult activities (wine tasting, fine dining, theater, etc.). I really appreciated the article, thanks for the reassurance. My boss and his wife have never left his son for a vacation ever… and he’s 10 years old now. Whenever he and his family go to dinner or vacation, it’s always the kid’s choice. That’s not life, that’s a hostage situation! Don’t lose touch with who you were before you had kids or you may not remember after their gone.

Kailoni April 28, 2009, 8:36 PM

“Don’t lose touch with who you were before you had kids or you may not remember after they’re gone.” I completely agree with that statement. It’s ok to go on a trip without your kid regardless of how far away you go. Her MIL, I’m sure, is capable of caring for her child in the event of an emergency.

Carrie April 28, 2009, 9:05 PM

I think people are really choosing the extremes here. A decade without an adults-only trip is extreme, as is willingly leaving an infant with someone other than the parent for two weeks.
Two weeks is a really long time in the developmental stages of infancy. It’s also an awfully long time to rely on an older person who has already raised her kids and probably doesn’t have the energy for the constant demands of infancy.

Gigohead  April 28, 2009, 9:54 PM

I think 2 weeks is a bit extreme myself and I have big kids. I think you could have still enjoyed 2 weeks of vacation at two different times and still enjoyed your alone time with your spouse.

Lane April 29, 2009, 10:05 AM

After my second child was born it was clear my DH and I needed counseling. The counselor told us over and over to take time for ourselves as a couple. You cannot raise healthy happy children in a home where the parents as a couple are not happy and fulfilled. I am certain the counselor would have applauded a trip without the kids. No matter what anyone thinks your fine your son is fine and your MIL is fine. Everyone does what is right for them in their lives and that’s all any of us need to worry about.

Kim April 29, 2009, 3:44 PM

Good for you, Angela! Sounds like you had a marvelous time! She left her child for 2 weeks, people. Enough of the “childhood is precious and temporary.”

Amy April 29, 2009, 5:51 PM

I’m sure my MIL would do ok, I’m sure my daughter would be fine. But… we’re off to Italy in June and are taking our (then) 9 month old baby with us. We took her to London, Amsterdam and New York before (I joined my husband on business trips) and although our pace was a bit slower than on our former child-free trips, we enjoyed being away as a family. My husband and I have the nights to ourselves, when our daughter is asleep. (Plus: I hope to breastfeed for many more months, so I never have to worry if she eats the right amount of food)

Anonymous April 29, 2009, 10:32 PM

I think a lot of the commenters missed the point of the story. Oh well.
A friend of mine went away for a week and felt horrible about it and missed her year-old daughter like crazy. Her husband just returned home from Afghanistan, after 8 months away, and he’s stationed to move very far away only a month and a half after getting “home” again… so they had no choice but to go there, house-hunting. It sucked, but at the same time gave them some much-needed time together after being apart for so long! And, of course, baby girl was happy to have Mommy and Daddy back, even though she loved with with Nanny and Poppa for a week!

anonymous May 19, 2009, 4:19 PM

Oh my people, a little extreme. Everyone needs time away and a vacation for you and your husband is wonderful. If your children are spending quality time with thier granparents then that makes it even better. Go for it! Some of these people need to get out themselves.

Andarte May 19, 2009, 10:17 PM

I had to leave my 13 month old for 10 days when my father died and I couldn’t get my baby a passport in time to go to the funeral. It was traumatic for me, to say the least, but I agree with all of those who said that the leaving was harder than being away. Can’t say that I love the idea of Angela going to Italy while her baby was so little — I think I would have taken the baby with me or just waited until the baby was older. What I did was out of pure necessity!

Erica May 20, 2009, 8:11 AM

I need to get radioactive treatment and can’t be with my baby for 7 days, he is extremely attached to me and I am really worried, however he loves the grandmother and will be staying with her, I really hope all goes well

Chrissy June 9, 2009, 7:43 PM

OMG that story helped me soo much
Im heading away for 2 weeks and im dreading leaving my one year old :(
I hate even the thought of it :(
I want to go and have a good time but im afraid when i come back he’ll forget me :(

From Christine in Ireland

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