A week ago today, I was laying out tanning and sipping margaritas by the pool in Mexico. My toddler son was thousands of miles away in New York with a team of caretakers, including Abuela, Tia Peggy and “mi Tanny” as Enzo calls our babysitter. It was the first time since we became parents that we went on vacation without Enzo.
I am not going to lie. I had a glorious time.
I did not miss my son. I know my husband had a harder time than I did. When we saw kids about Enzo’s age, and when we saw the kiddie water park at the hotel, he felt horrible about leaving our son behind.
I didn’t, and here’s why.
First of all, Enzo has boundless energy. He wakes up at the crack of dawn. He has no measure of danger. So while the kiddie pool was cute and all, I knew better. I kept thinking about all the dangerous things that Enzo could play with, or touch or run into.
Enzo on vacation with us would have meant waking up early and being on alert at all times. In other words, it would have raised the stress level of what was supposed to be a stress-free vacation. For me vacation means tranquility, good food without interruptions, and sleep. I knew I’d have none of that with my sweet boy around.
Second, vacationing with a child limits what you do and how you do it. This is especially true at the toddler stage. The purpose of our vacation was to rest, relax and recharge. We got some sightseeing in as well! We visited a Mayan archeological site. Would we have been able to do that with a toddler? I think not.
Third, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I was in need of some “alone time” with my hubby. We had uninterrupted meals for six days straight, just the two of us. It was lovely. I loved talking about other things that were not about the house, bills or work.
Being away just the two of us reminded me what it was like to be a couple without a baby. It brought me back to the time when it was just the two of us, when every evening was a romantic dinner with bottles of wine (yes, bottles -he’s French after all!) Sometimes that’s just what a couple needs, instances that remind two people of what it was like pre-baby, and the romance that many times gets lost in everyday life!
Saying that I went on vacation without my kid (and I enjoyed it) might make you think that I’m a bad parent, but I’m not. I’m actually a better parent for it. As long as my child was taken care of, and he was, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about. Mentally and physically, we both needed a break… and there is nothing wrong with parents getting a break, no matter what anyone tells you.
A burned-out mommy and daddy can equal cranky, ready-to-snap-at-any-moment parents. But a relaxed, tanned and rested mom and dad equal happy parents. And happy parents equal happy kids.
Diana Limongi-Gabriele works hard juggling a full-time job, motherhood, family, grad school and her blog, LadydeeLG, where she writes about issues she is passionate about including teaching her son Spanish, motherhood, parenting, Latino issues, good quality food and women’s issues. Diana is a regular contributor forMamiverse. She has a MA in Migration Studies, and is pursuing an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Her most important job however, is being mommy to Enzo, a French/Hispanic/American (one day trilingual) 2-year-old boy. You can connect with her via Twitter, @dianalimongi or onFacebook.