The Secret to Traveling without the Kids

October 9th, 2014

I’m packing my bags and leaving the country.

But don’t worry.  It’s not because the baby follows me through the house, screaming to be held every evening from the moment we walk in the door until bath time.  Nor is it because Miss Mouse and Buggie cannot sit next to each other in the back seat of the van for Five Frickin’ Minutes without devolving into verbal and physical confrontation (who knew you could punch your brother while fully restrained in a car seat??).

Though honestly – I’d feel somewhat justified if those were the reasons I’m taking a vacation.  Don’t judge me!  You haven’t heard Birdie scream.

But no, I’m headed to Europe for two weeks as part of a national delegation of women traveling as representatives of my denomination to visit France and Italy and learn about how The Church is supporting women in other parts of the world.  I leave tomorrow and it’s gonna be great.

Well, except for the mom guilt.  Oh, the mom guilt.

Not only am I abandoning my offspring for two weeks, I am going to be gone on Miss Mouse’s 6th birthday.  That’s right.  The big six.  And I won’t be there. Which, in her mind, is pretty much the End of the World.

There have been a lot of tears.  Most of them hers, some of them mine.

I’m assuaging the guilt through all-out bribery.

I’ve stocked up on some little gifties for the kids and have planned a series of daily surprises for them while I’m gone.  Nothing super involved or crazy expensive – just a little something every day.  Glow bracelets tucked under their pillows.  A new DVD for movie night.  Pictures of myself holding signs that say “I love you!”

I recorded a video birthday message for Miss Mouse and saved it to the computer and queued up some cute e-cards to be delivered one afternoon.  And I wrote out a few little cards for them to open throughout the weeks, reminding them of how much I love them.

And I’m taking along Hugo the Giraffe.

Hugo the Giraffe

Hugo is a funny little plastic giraffe who usually lives at my parents’ house.  He moves around a lot and tends to appear in funny places (like peering a coffee mug or climbing out of the sink).  The kids think he’s a riot and always look for him when they arrive at my folks’.

It turns out that Hugo sneaked into my suitcase and is coming on the trip.  I’m leaving the picture above on the dining room table when I go, along with a note from Hugo, revealing that he has stowed away and will be sending back lots of pictures throughout the trip.  I’m planning to include him in many of the pictures I take, which will be fun for everyone!


3 responses to “The Secret to Traveling without the Kids”

  1. Jaclyn B. says:

    Kate, you are the best mom ever. Your kids are so lucky to have you. Reading all the things that you did to make their time away from you easier brought tears to my eyes. Have a great trip. Be safe.
    Lots of Love,

  2. Jo Burkhalter says:

    Hugo is the new “Flat Stanley.” Have a great time!

  3. Cindi Frye says:

    Have an amazing time. And entertaining guilt, in this case, is just a waste of time. Your children will be just fine in your absence.

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