image002When we get a chance to travel without our kids, it takes all of 1.5 days for me to begin missing them. Oh sure, at first I get to catch up on sleep, enjoy dining without the whining, and simply having grown-up conversations with my husband. However after one night and about half of the next day, I’ll see a fun store my 12-year-old would love. I notice the city has a science museum that my little boy would consider 6- year-old heaven! Or there is a family style pizza joint where they let the kiddos hand toss their own pizza.

That’s when it happens. Mommy guilt sets in. 

My husband and I took a wonderful trip to Hawaii a few years back. And instead of letting the guilt get to me, I endeavored to enjoy every second of our adult-only time.

  • First, I reminded myself the kids were all safe at home with my sister or mother-in-law. I could call them every day. (Hawaii has the same cell phone service as the rest of the states.)
  • Second, my husband reminded me that we had saved and paid for this trip, so what was the point if we didn’t enjoy it? I’m a frugal mom, so that was a good kick in the pants for me.
  • Third, we made a plan right then to start saving so we could bring our kids to Hawaii some day.

image003What the Kids Would Love

And because we made that decision, everything on our excursion list was easier to navigate. We made choices about where to eat, what event to see, which museum or memorial to visit based on whether our kids would love it or hate it.

For example: In Oahu, we drove to Pearl Harbor to see the USS Arizona Memorial. It was immediately apparent this was a remarkable place, one where you were expected to be quiet, thoughtful and respectful. (Pretty much the hardest thing for young kiddos to handle). We knew our kids would NOT enjoy half a day spent getting shushed!

However, in the same area rests the USS Missouri. You get to board the vessel, take a guided tour, learn about the signing of the World War II Final Surrender, and then wander around the decks of the giant warship ogling the huge guns. For sure our kids would love this.

As a couple we spent a wonderful early morning contemplating the horror that was Pearl Harbor Day, and enjoying the calm serene beauty of the memorial. And we placed visiting the “Might Mo” high on our To-Do with kids list.

What the Kids Would Hate

Other vacation ideas that made the kids-would-hate-this list:

  • Quiet strolls along smaller beaches at night.
  • Bravely consuming new foods at small out-of-the way restaurants.
  • Driving around the whole island, stopping often to take pictures of landscapes. (Total torture to my kids!)

image005And luckily enough we did it! We took the kids back to Hawaii last spring break, and guess
what they loved the most?

  • The ”Mighty Mo” USS Missouri battleship tour, as we had predicted.
  • Time spent on the beach as a family playing and resting and not ‘doing’ much of anything.
  • A walking tour of the gardens at Senator Fong’s Plantation. (Surprised me how much they enjoyed this–especially the sleeping grass!)
  • Polynesian Cultural Center.  (No one should miss this luau and education center on the north shore.The food and evening program were a hit!)

As a mom, I love traveling with my whole family. And now I’m learning how to enjoy traveling without them (almost) as much!