5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

I’ve always been a bit of a helicopter mom. I admit it. I like to know what my kids are doing at all times, I hover over them when they tell me they have a tummy ache, I feel guilty sometimes just running to the store without them on a Saturday morning and I worry about what kind of bad behavior they might be picking up from other kids at school and daycare during the day when I’m at work.

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

I do have to say that I’ve gotten a bit better about this over the years, and today I’m sharing one of the things that has helped me lighten up a bit about all of those things I tend to stress about.

Today, I’m sharing 5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids. I know it sounds harsh. What kind of mom am I, right? When I talk about leaving my kids, I’m not talking about for good. I’m not crazy. I’m just talking about overnight. One or two nights. . .more if you need it.

Let me preface this all with this. . .I’m a mom who loves her kids unconditionally, cares deeply about her family, worries way too much and beats herself up about what more she could be doing to ensure her kids turn out to be respectful, caring, kind, polite, intelligent, funny, perfect human beings. My view of what life should be like sometimes tends to be skewed. I stress myself out about trying to do everything “right.” Life isn’t perfect. . . and I need to accept that.

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

My first experiences away from home weren’t by choice. I have a full-time career as a marketing professional, and there are certain times throughout the year where travel is mandatory. It turned out to be the stepping stone to a better life for me and my family. I started learning why leaving my kids was therapeutic.

Here are five reasons you should consider it, too, if you’re feeling a bit burnt out, like I often do.

Give yourself a break. I’m going to start with the most obvious reason why leaving home is sometimes a good thing. As moms, we have lots of responsibility. My husband has a job that requires lots of hours and lots of travel. I work full-time as well, and on top of that, I am responsible for our home, our children, paying the bills, making the meals, laundry, etc. (and I blog) Pretty normal situation in this day and age, right? (all except the blogging) Right. 

Getting away from home to go and visit a friend, attend a conference or vacation with your spouse are all great ways to give yourself some space. When I travel for work, I try to get back to my hotel room as soon as possible after dinner to take a relaxing shower and just unwind with a good book or favorite TV show. There’s no one to wait on, no demands and no feelings of guilt that I should be sweeping the floor. I set my alarm for 6:00 am instead of 4:45 am (because all I need to get ready is myself) and it provides a renewed energy for when I return home.

Nip separation anxiety in the bud. Not only is being away from home good for you, but it’s actually good for your kids, too. There will be a time when they will need to be away from you – their first day of school, their first sleepover, their first year of college. . .let me tell you that it’s much easier on them when you’re away if you give them a little space early on. If you don’t have family in the area, find a reliable sitter. 

Our sitter is just like family. Megan was a teacher at my children’s daycare and has been with both of them since they were infants. She’s incredible and our kids love her to pieces. When I mention that Megan is coming over to the house either for a couple hours or a couple days the kids can hardly contain their excitement. We actually use a calendar to count down the days to her arrival. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

Offer your kids the opportunity to learn different ways of doing things. I have a certain way of running the household. At times, it’s difficult for me to watch my husband do something I normally do and do it in a different way. Even though he does it differently, he still accomplishes the task successfully. That’s all that matters, right? Due to my helicopter tendencies, seeing something done slower or in a different way drove me bonkers. I remember when I had to be out of town for a couple days and Josh (my husband) was going to be home with the kids. I kept thinking, “How are they going to survive without me?” {insert laughter} 

Well, what I learned is that giving your kids an opportunity to go about their day under someone else’s direction and guidance actually does a child good. They aren’t just going through the motions. They’re paying attention, they’re listening and they’re interested to see what a day “without mom” is like. They learn new things, there are new experiences to look forward to and they realize that there are multiple ways of doing the same thing. The way “mommy does something” isn’t the only way. I’ve learned that over the years, and so have my kids.

I’ve often returned home to find my kids have learned something new or are doing something for themselves I had always done for them in the past. They found some new independence and they are happy to leverage it!

Get rid of bad habits. If you take away nothing else from this post, I hope you find some value in this. It’s a big deal, and if I wouldn’t have left my kids, I wouldn’t have EVER believed this to be true. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

Every time one of our kids was in a funk like waking too early or starting to develop a bad habit, we called their grandparents to take them overnight or planned a night away and had Megan come to the house (it works best if you get them out of their environment and away from you). Very often just breaking a child’s routine when they’re starting to incorporate a behavior into it that isn’t desirable, can often kill the cycle. This has worked successfully for us quite a few times.

Another example of when this has worked, is when our son, Dane, was having problems parting with his pacifier. It was starting to affect his teeth. I would put him to bed with it and sneak into his room to take it out of his crib after he fell asleep. He would wake up in the middle of the night looking for it and scream bloody murder when he realized it wasn’t there. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I had tried everything.

I had a business trip coming up and Josh was going to be home with Dane. He and I talked at length about the problem and he knew how much it was bothering me. When I returned home, I found out that Dane was done with his “nuk.” All Josh did was take it away and tell him that he didn’t need it anymore. He rubbed his back and soothed him back to sleep. Dane never cried again for the nuk.

All it took was for me to be out of the picture and someone “new” interacting with Dane about the situation. Something that had worried me for months was no longer hanging above my head. Incredible. And I truly believe that if Josh went to deal with him that night and I was in the house, the outcome wouldn’t have been successful.

Feel a renewed sense of appreciation and love for each other. When I have these little breaks away, of course I miss my kids, and they miss me, too. It makes our reunions that much more sweet and meaningful. No matter how long I’m gone, when I hug my kids for the first time after being away, my eyes swell with tears and I am overcome with such deep emotion – I have such an appreciation for our family and what we have. An appreciation of being home again. I know they feel the same thing, too. Our family is back together and all is right with the world. I feel renewed, refreshed and ready to tackle life. A little time away was what we all needed.

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

If you have anxiety about leaving your children or feel guilty about finding a sitter so you and your spouse can go out together, I urge you to go against what you’re feeling and just do it. You need it and they need it.

My heart breaks for couples who haven’t had a night to themselves in years. It’s not healthy for your relationship and it’s not good for your kids in the long term. We are all protective of our children, but believe it or not, independence and new experiences are a big part of raising well-rounded kids. And in order to take care of our children, we need to take care of ourselves first.

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Kids - I know it sounds drastic, but what I'm sharing is something that every parent and every child needs!

Comments

  1. Marlene Schlegel says:

    Excellent advise especially in this busy world today!

  2. Good tips. I think taking a step away an really make a difference, for parents and for kiddos!

  3. I love all of this- and I really need to put this into practice more- it’s a struggle because I feel like I barely get any time with our daughter during the week (I work full time) and so it’s hard to justify taking time over the weekend away from her, but I need to. Thanks for sharing.

    I stopped by from One Project at a Time.

    • Hi Jessy, I hear you. I work full time, too, so I know how you feel. But yes, sometimes a break is still necessary for us moms that work outside the home AND in it!

  4. We have a local mom & pop shop that does drop off childcare (GENIUS!!!!!) and their motto is “when kids need a little break,” lol. A different spin on the “when mom needs a little break.” Usually my kids love going there, a new environment, new friends, no screen time. It works out for all of us. Its like the saying: How can I miss you if you won’t go away? lol

    • What a great idea for a business! I’m sure they’re always busy! 😉 And there’s seriously some truth to it. It is good for our kids to get a break from us once and awhile, too!

  5. Fantastic tips here. If it isn’t working with me at home, then it filters to my kids and husband. So I know I need to look after myself in order to function as a mum, friend, wife and woman.

  6. Catherine says:

    Hello,
    I’ve really been struggling with this lately and not sure how to fix it. My daughter is 4 years old and is currently attendeding preschool 3 days a week for half a day. I am a stay at home mom that hasn’t been able to work due to some health issues. This year my daughter will be turning 5 and has never spent the night away from home or has had anyone other than me tuck her in except for a night or two when her dad did it. This year I will be celebrating my 40th birthday, my husbands 45th and our 15th wedding anniversary. We haven’t had a real date in years except going to a chain restaurant for 45mins. I know I need a night away from the house, preferably two. I’m getting snappy at home. Just concerned I’ll be overly worried about how she’s doing or feeling. Any suggestions?

    • If you have family nearby or someone she is comfortable and close to, start there. Have her spend some time away from home – just an hour or two at a time to start – and see if you can work up to an overnight stay. It will be so important to work with your family member to ensure her experience is a good one. Lots of attention and interactive play. If she has any cousins her age or other friends she likes to play with that would be a great start, too. Spending a little time away from each other can be therapeutic for you both. In today’s day and age, it’s so easy to check in on your daughter even when you’re not at her side. I usually text our sitter at least once to check in even if my husband and I are just out to dinner for a couple hours. It just helps me relax and it reassures me our sitter has everything under control and the kids are just fine. Congratulations on 15 years of marriage. You and your husband deserve one night away AT THE VERY LEAST. I hope you work to make it happen!!

Speak Your Mind

*