Welcome to my confessional. I have something to get off my chest today and what better way than to do it publicly? Maybe it will make the guilt go away.
Here goes. Deep breath. My husband and I are going to Disney World without our 1-year old, 4 year-old, and my 20-year old stepson.
Before you recoil from the screen in shock and horror, I should tell you it’s for our tenth anniversary. That makes it okay, doesn’t it? But, lest you think this is the first time we left the kids at home while we went to Disney World, I need to tell you it’s not. There was the trip for our first anniversary plus a trip or two in the years following. And there was the trip the year after our first son was born. And let’s not forget the trip a couple of years ago just because.
This is my story. I love Walt Disney World. My husband loves Walt Disney World and my kids love Walt Disney World. When we take the kids, their needs come first. We eat in kid-friendly restaurants, we forego Space Mountain, we skip IllumiNations so they get to bed at a reasonable time, and we do not have a conversation more than a couple of minutes in length without being interrupted. There’s magic in watching them meet Mickey and ride Dumbo but it’s a different kind of trip than when we travel kids-free.
Being a mom involves a lot of self-sacrifice and in every mom’s world, a line must be drawn. Just like I deserve to be able to take a shower uninterrupted, to have a hot meal that doesn’t consist of my kids’ leftovers, and to be able to walk across my family room without tripping on a toy, I deserve a trip to Disney World where I can enjoy fine dining, stroll hand-in-hand with my husband, and watch IllumiNations in stunned silence. I may not have control over the first few things on my wish list, but I can make the last few happen. I may be a mom but that doesn’t mean I have to wear mom jeans or wait until my youngest is married to visit Walt Disney World without the kids.
If I deserve a getaway with my husband, why am I feeling so guilty? Because this is the first time our 4 year-old will understand where we’re going and that we’re going without him. We still haven’t decided how to handle this issue. For now we use a code word when we discuss the trip. More on that in another post. Would I feel so guilty if we were driving through New England for Fall Foliage? No. It’s not the fact that we’re going on a grown-up vacation that’s making me feel selfish. It’s the fact that we’re going to a place he loves as much as we do – and we’re leaving him home. But it’s not our fault our favorite kids-free vacation destination happens to be a child’s wonderland, is it?
Kids aren’t the only ones who need a time-out to calm down and regroup. It’s true that our time-out will be longer than a few minutes but after a break for a few days, this Mommy and Daddy will return to be more relaxed, patient parents. And that’s good for our whole family.
So why am I going public with my story now? Like Hollywood celebrities who reveal their deep, dark secrets, if coming forward helps even one parent enjoy a kids-free Walt Disney World vacation without guilt then it is worth it.
As Disney-loving parents, let’s unite, hold our heads up proudly, and let the world know it is okay to enjoy a Walt Disney World vacation without the kids. Will you join me?
Photo Credit: Disney
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You call follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer and Facebook.
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