Wanna know my biggest travel paranoia? Being stranded in my car in a snowstorm….and I…
There comes a magical time when you finally get to take a kid-free vacation.
Most likely, it will be the grandparents who will take over and allow you to you enjoy your first kid-unfriendly restaurant in five years, as well as antique store hopping and nights filled with 12 hours of sleep. God bless them. Here’s a few tips to make a child-free voyage successful.
1. Don’t feel guilty about leaving your kids behind.
Seriously, you work so hard and do so much for your children, including spending a small fortune on things like organic cheddar crackers to BPA-free plastic bottles, even though you were brought up in the 70s and ate hot dogs straight from the package and drank orange Hi-C from chemical-leaking plastic cups… and we turned out fine, thank you very much.
2. Assemble (& print out!) all the important information.
Besides the usual cell phone numbers and 911, here’s the information I always have on hand and printed out, just in case all hell breaks loose.
- Nearest hospital emergency room and directions
- Copies of health insurance card/policy number
- Pediatrician and location of office
- Number of a helpful neighbor
- Number for young babysitters who can “porch sit”
What’s porch sitting you ask? My mom told me this is how she as an 11-year-old in the 50’s started to make a little cash on the side. Think of porch sitters as the pre-curser to full-out babysitter. There’s still an adult in the house, but the porch sitter minds the kids while the mother’s are inside preparing dinner, cleaning… or more likely in my mother’s time, having a stiff drink and smoking out the window of the upstairs bathroom.
But even you’re parents may need a break, and this would be nice to arrange.
Of course you should customize this list to your needs, but no matter what…
make sure it’s printed in a font that can be read without the aid of reading glasses, which grandparents can never seem to find.
What’s the use of writing down the number for Poison Control if they can’t even read it?
3. Show grandparents how to open and close the #!!%!! stroller.
Each stroller has its own Japanese puzzle box way of opening and closing. Leaving anyone to figure it out on their own is just cruel.
4. List of eccentric behaviors that, if not honored, will result in a melt-down.
You know what I’m talking about. For example, my son loves mangoes and even more how I cut them– which is to cut it in half, then scored so you can push up the middle and little cubes of fruit fan out. I call it a porcupine.
When a new caretaker sliced the mango a different way, my son FLIPPED out. I was upstairs working and came down to a poor woman who had absolutely no idea why her slicing a mango would cause a three-year-old to turn beet red, screaming PORCUPINE! PORCUPINE! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
So….just…..write those little charming idiosyncrasies down.
5. Ask grandparents what they would like to have stocked for food and drink.
Your goal is to make them as happy and comfortable as possible, because if you really play your cards right, this extended weekend getaway at your house could eventually evolve into “Summer at Gram and Gramps,” a highly anticipated two-week ritual where your children create a strong bond with their grandparents (as well as learn how to make a proper scotch and soda).
Oh, and make sure you bring them back something nice for loving your kids more than life itself.
What are your best tips for enjoying a kid-free vacation? Share in the comments!