Later this afternoon, I will get on a plane and head south – to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Without my husband – or my kids. Yes, I’m going to Disney – but not alone! Many of the Traveling Mom bloggers are converging on Disney’s Animal Kingdom to spend a few days learning, exploring and talking travel together. It’s going to be so much fun – like a girlfriends’ getaway.
Some of us haven’t traveled away from our families and kids before, while to others this is a familiar routine. For me, it’s a mixture of both – I have done most of my recent traveling without my family, but did have my two older girls with me on the last trip we took to New York City last fall. It’s going to feel strange to travel without them this time!
When leaving your family behind, there’s a lot for we moms to consider and arrange beforehand. Everything from lunch and dinner menus to coordinating school and activity transportation and making sure the kids stay on top of homework and other chores. If Dad or another regular caregiver is going to be there, it can be no more worry than usual. But if you’re bringing in someone new, or who’s not already familiar with the family’s routines – it can be a good idea to leave lots of notes and maybe even practice a dry run of getting everything done before you leave.
In my case on this trip, my husband will be home for much of the time, and my mom is traveling the 2+ hours to stay with our girls for the rest. I’m not very worried about how things will go or what I will miss, with one exception. The girls’ school is holding a Father-Daughter dance on Friday night. Now while I wouldn’t be attending the dance anyway (so not really missing anything there), it’s the pre-dance preparations that Daddy was certainly nervous about. My solution? I asked our 12-year-old neighbor to come over and help the girls get ready. She gladly agreed and is looking forward to it – she loves to do hair. My girls are thrilled because they get to spend time with our neighbor (whom they love) and will get to be fussed over to look all ‘sparkly and pretty, Mom!’. And to be honest, they’ll probably have much cuter hairstyles than they would have even if I were home – I’m sure our neighbor is much more hip as to the latest styles and trends than I am. 🙂
Other special things I like to do for my family while I’m away are to leave the house in a clean state and make sure everything they’ll need is where it’s supposed to be, so they can find it easily. I’m hoping that the house will be as clean as it is now when I get back late Saturday night, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one! I have also promised to bring the girls each back something special from my trip – I don’t generally do expensive or elaborate gifts, but even just a simple postcard with a picture of the city I’m traveling to usually gets a great response from the girls. I also usually show them pictures and/or maps of where I’m going before I leave – but in this case, I haven’t told them that I’m specifically going to Disney World (just that I’ll be in Florida, “nowhere near Disney”, lol) because I know they’d be incredibly disappointed if they knew I am traveling there without them. We’ve never been able to (yet) take our kids to Disney World – but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to manage a family trip there sometime in the next few years. Call the next few days ‘research’ – and I’ll surely share any tips or hints I learn here as well. 🙂
Another thing we’re going to try for the first time while I’m away is to video chat on Skype – since I’ll have my laptop with me on the trip. The girls are excited about having the chance to not only talk to, but see me while I’m gone too. I think that’ll make the days seem a lot shorter for them until I’m home again.
Have you ever traveled away from home without your family? What have you learned to help make the separation easier?
Follow along with the TravelingMom.com retreat at our Facebook page or on Twitter (follow hashtag: #TMOMDisney)! You can also follow my journey at @DebMomOf3. And join us next Monday night on Twitter as TMOM talks re-entry after a trip away!