Enlist a trusted babysitter. With three children ages six, three and ten months, I needed to decide what babysitting situation I was comfortable with for our first overnight stay as a couple. If you’re lucky enough to have family who are close with your children, that is AMAZING. For us, with three, I asked both Grandma and our Nanny and it worked out beautifully. Having them both at our house with our kids made it possible for me to actually relaaaax.
Start small. One night away is what I’m comfortable with right now. After a full 24 hours, I was itching to get back to my kiddos (and to part ways with my breast pump!)
The notes – I’ve eased up on my babysitting notes since our firstborn was as a baby. The first time we left her overnight, my instructions were more like a novel, with Scarlet’s every preference elaborated on to the ultimate detail. I’ve now come to realize that letting Grandma or the Nanny handle things in their own way, with their own instincts, works out best. They love my kids and always do what’s best for them – it doesn’t need to be the exact way that I do it, but more of a general schedule of how things typically go. If you’d like a good laugh, this Luvs Second Time Moms clip is just a little too good.
Have the fridge stocked at home – I have a love/hate relationship with pumping and I’m not one of those women who has a stockpile of breastmilk in the fridge. For three weeks before our getaway, after the baby went to bed, I pumped two ounces each night to store enough milk to leave him for 24-hours. I also made sure to have all of the kids favorite food for the dinner, breakfast and lunch that we’d be gone, and made sure to have food that both Grandma and our Nanny would enjoy. It’s so important to me that everyone be full and happy!
Make it comfy for your sitter – I wanted Grandma and our Nanny to feel at home while staying over with our kids and I always let everyone know to make themselves at home. I put out our guest shampoo + conditioner and made up our playroom/guestroom. I’m grateful and want them to know that.
Stay somewhere special. It can be tough to sleep in a bed that’s not your own. My husband and I love our master bedroom – it’s like a retreat for us. So when we go away, we’ll find the best deal we can get on a four or five star hotel on travelocity or trivago and really make it worth all the effort it takes to get away. Another must for us is white noise! I use the Relax Melodies App on my iPhone.
Treat yo-self. What do you love to do that is super-hard-to-do when your littles are around? Do that! We went shopping, had a quiet lunch, cocktails with friends, and attended a school Gala. Usually when we go out, I count down how many hours of sleep I’ll get before the kids wake up if we get home at 11pm, 12am, etc. (HA, there’s no etc., we just don’t stay out that late with our little people being morning people). But because we stayed over, we had a chance to sleep in, ahhhhhh, and had breakfast in bed.
Let go + enjoy. Knowing our kids — especially our baby — was at home with two people who love them and enjoy them, made it easier for us to relax and not over-worry. I told Grandma and our Nanny the things I was worried about (Baby Shepherd putting our 3-year-old, Sterling’s Lego’s in his mouth, etc), and then I let it go. I called once in the late afternoon and again when we woke up, which is much less than I used to. My husband and I know that if they need us, they’ll call us, so we committed to just relax and enjoy.
Get back and give those babies some love!!!! I can’t think of a better feeling than scooping up your babies when you’ve missed them and getting all that love from their hugs and kisses. When we were driving home, the last few blocks felt like slow motion and I couldn’t wait to get back to my kids and our normal Sunday routine. The baby laughed hysterically for five minutes when he saw me and it was a great exercise for me knowing that I can totally take a little time for myself every once in a while and all my little people will be A-okay.
Make plans for your next getaway! For us, an overnight stay as a couple twice a year is what’s doable and we try to make it a priority. It’s tough to do when your kids are little and takes a ton of prep, but it’s SO worth it.