As a parent, your life can sometimes feel like it centers around your children. Understandably, you love your kids and want to provide the best life for them, but caring for your children shouldn’t mean neglecting yourself.
However, taking care of yourself is crucial. If you neglect your own needs, then you will have a harder time showing up for your kids.
So if you’ve been putting off that solo trip sans the children, we’re here to tell you that it’s a great idea to finally take the plunge and go for it.
Traveling Solo For Personal Growth and Self-Care
One of the reasons parents might neglect to take a trip on their own is because they view it as a selfish act — but this is a very outdated way of thinking.
Newer generations like Millennials and Gen Z, for example, have realized the importance of self-care, and any parent, no matter their age, can learn from this mentality.
Yes, self-care has the word “self” in it, but that doesn’t make it selfish. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Caring for yourself allows you to have the energy and mental capacity you need to then give attention to other people in your life, like your family.
If you only focus on your kids, however, it will eventually wear you down.
Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you should only focus on your kids’ growth. You are allowed to continue to experience personal growth as well.
You can also take what you learn from your solo travels and share those experiences and that knowledge with your children. Showing your children how great it can be to do your own thing can also teach them the value of independence.
Tips for Traveling Solo as a Parent
Of course, telling yourself it’s OK to take a trip without your kids and actually making it happen are two different things entirely. Still, it should not feel like an impossible task and we are here to help by offering some tips.
Mentally Preparing Your Kids For Your Absence
Make sure you give your kids plenty of time to process the fact that you will be leaving them for a short period of time. Talk to them ahead of time about your trip and be ready and willing to answer their questions.
It’s also okay to be honest about why you are going, such as by telling them that it’s OK for people to need to do things on their own and that’s what you’re doing.
The important thing is to communicate with them as much as you can. They will likely have some of their own worries and fears, like who’s going to tuck them in and read to them at night or who’s going to be around to comfort them if they get scared.
These are normal fears, and it will help if you can be as open and honest with them as possible.
The Logistics of Leaving Your Kids for a Solo Trip
For some parents, it’s the logistics of leaving their kids that are the hard part, like who’s going to watch the kids, feed them, and drive them around when they need to be somewhere. It helps if you lay everything out in a schedule; that way you know you’ve got everything covered.
Then, of course, you’ll want to make sure you have the right people lined up to take care of the kids. For example, will you have the grandparents watching them? A friend? Or maybe even a nanny?
If you go with a nanny, make sure you understand the logistics of paying a nanny, such as fair nanny wages, nanny taxes, and if you’ll pay them before, after, or split it half and half.
You’ll also want to make sure you stock the kitchen before you go, so whoever you leave in charge doesn’t have to worry about knowing what to feed your kids. You can even make a cheat sheet of meal ideas and your kids’ favorite foods and treats to keep them happy while you’re gone.
It’s also a good idea to have any medical stuff worked out in case there’s an emergency while you’re gone. This includes providing your caregiver with emergency contacts and hospital and doctor locations.
You might also want to fill out medical release forms so your caregiver has permission to seek medical treatment for your kids if necessary.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
While you’re on the trip, you don’t want to be on your phone all the time, but it’s helpful if you are able to check in with your kids at least once a day. The frequency of your check-ins can vary though, depending on the needs of your children and their age.
Consistency can be helpful, as it gives your kids something to look forward to, such as knowing you’ll call them every morning or every day at lunchtime. If they are young and have a hard time with bedtime routines, you could try setting up a video call to read them a story every night.
Wrapping Up: Remember to Prepare Yourself, Too
Though your kids and helping them adjust to your absence might be the focus before you leave, it’s important to prepare yourself as well. This is especially important if you are trying something new or simply taking your first solo trip in a long time.
If you’re planning a solo road trip or even a trip to another country, make sure you know your limits and your strengths. The trip is meant to be about recharging your energies, not depleting them.
You can certainly still plan some activities that get your heart rate going, but at the end of the day, make sure you are doing things that genuinely fulfill you.
Make sure you have a plan for your trip as well and pack accordingly. A solo trip can easily turn into a nightmare, for example, if you get lost and lose reception and can’t call back home to check on your kids.
So make sure your days are planned out and all your bases are covered so you can rest easy knowing everything is taken care of ahead of time.