How to Survive a Childless Vacation Without Feeling Like An Asshole Parent

It took me and my husband a full year to realize that we still had a honeymoon to take. No, it’s not because we just forgot. No it’s not because we didn’t have the money. And no it’s not because we couldn’t get the time off from work.

The real reason it took us over a year to take a childless vacation is because I didn’t want to leave my child. I mean, hello, I’m a smother mother what did you expect?

It took a lot of “oh he’ll be fine” reassurance from friends, colleagues, and our parents. But I finally bit the bullet and said yes, all over again to my husband. We spent hours, days, and weeks researching top spots to vacation. We considered the typical tropical settings; Costa Rica, Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic. To be honest, the thought of being in another country away from Beckham (our son) gave me terrible anxiety so we started looking at places within the United States

One place we both hadn’t been to was California. The beautiful West Coast. We’re from Florida so the sound of humidity-free weather sounded wonderful. We were particularly excited to visit Wine Country (the hubby is a wineo) and San Francisco (I wanted to see the city and the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.) I’ll be writing about our experience next week and all of my favorite spots, but for now, I wanted to reassure all the other Smother Mother’s out there, how to survive a week long vacation without your child, and not feel like an asshole parent.

Golden Gate Bridge California
The Golden Gate Bridge

How to Survive a Childless Vacation Without Feeling Like An Asshole Parent

Leave a Detailed Guide for the Sitter

When I say leave a detailed guide, I mean exactly that. LEAVE A DETAILED three page guide. Hey, that’s what I did and guess what? I had no questions from our sitter, grandma. This three page guide included everything from his schedule, to what food he likes, to how to cut his food–yes my son is OCD with the way you cut his hotdog.

Young children thrive on routine. So leave a detailed guide that goes over what a typical day is like for your little one. Here’s a peak of what our guide looks like.

Grandma's Guide to Babysitting
Page one of my three page guide for Gigi

Confirm Your Vacation Spot Has Booze

The most important step to surviving a vacation without your child is to make sure your vacation spot is a place you can truly sit back, relax and forget about all of your worries. And where’s the best place to do that at?

Wherever the booze is.

Bartlett Hall
Our first drink at Bartlett Hall, San Francisco

Just kidding, a little. To be completely honest with you, the only way I knew I could get through a week long vacation without my baby was to drink. That’s why I knew the city would be a great place to go. San Francisco is a breeding ground for tiny pubs, hole in the wall bars, speakeasies, and is located only about an hour or so away from the beautiful Sonoma and Napa Valley. As soon as my husband and I landed our first priority was an adult beverage and since I hardly touch alcohol anymore, I only needed about two to relax my mind.

Stay at a Fancy Hotel (Or at Least Somewhere You Probably Wouldn’t Stay if the Kids Were With You)

So this may sound like you’re rubbing the “asshole” in a little bit for leaving your kid behind, but what’s a childless vacation without staying at a fancy hotel? Stay at the fanciest one you can find, because we all know if you were taking the kid, you wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy the room service, the sauna, the hot tub.. You’d be too busy parenting.

Eric and I researched a great deal before we settled on a place to stay. We chose the Hilton only because we’re apart of the Hilton Honors reward program and wanted to earn double points, heller! It’s not the fanciest place I’ve ever stayed, but it was still very nice and had a skyline bar on the top floor. SCORE!

Hilton Union Square

Eat at the Fanciest Restaurant you can Find

Speaking of fancy things, take this time to find one of the most fanciest restaurants in the area and go enjoy it! If you can’t afford the fanciest, then at least find something you KNOW you would never get to eat at with the kids.

Like the hotel, we all know you definitely can’t take your young child to a 5-star restaurant. You’ll end up trying to feed your child one of the yummiest meals on the menu and they’ll cry hysterically because they want “chicken nuggets.”

One of our favorite “fancy” restaurant visits on our trip was Barrel House Tavern overlooking the San Francisco bay in Sausalito. We also shopped till we dropped and I didn’t have to worry about taking a break for “nap time” and finding the nearest Chick-fil-A. 

Barrel House Tavern Sausalito
Barrel House Tavern Sausalito

FaceTime is Your Best Friend

Another must, for surviving vacation without your child is to Facetime, or video calling. For all of you non-iphone users, Facetime serves as a handy alternative to Skype or Facebook Messenger.

We made it a ritual to video call our little ham every morning, during his prime time and have a 30 minute chit chat with him and grandma. It was a great time for me to not only see my baby, but also answer any questions that my mother-in-law had.

Give Your Sitter Permission to Spoil

This tip is a given, but hey, how can you feel guilty about leaving if you know your child is being spoiled rotten while you’re away? Grandma spoiled our baby to a T while we were gone, and I was more than happy about it.

Ask the Sitter to come to You

We were extremely lucky to have Gigi come to OUR house. It gave me a peace of mind knowing that Beckham was in his own, familiar space so even though mommy and daddy were gone, his world didn’t do a complete 360. He was was still home.

Gigi and grand baby
Gigi and Beckham took a train ride.

Leaving my baby was a really hard decision for me, but I knew it was important for my husband and I to have some quality time together. If you’re contemplating on a vacation without your child, do it. Us mamas deserve a break every now and again. Before you leave, confirm you have a reliable sitter, a quick guide about your child, and designate a time of day for “check-ins” with everyone.

When was your first childless vacation and where did you go? Share in the comments below.


Author: Smother Mother Kate

Katelyn isn't a regular mom. She's a cool mom and creator of The Smother Mother.

7 thoughts

  1. You are such an amazing, and REAL “smother mother”! I love how you put into words, your own personal parenting advice. I look forward to catching up on your blogs, and you truly are such an inspiration! I’m so glad you shared with your fellow “smother mothers” your advice about leaving our little ones behind for a Mama and Papa, getaway. I read your detailed list you left for Gigi, and I was hoping to read the last 2 pages. Amazing advice, and I’ll definitely be looking back on your post when my partner and I decide to take a little getaway! I’m sure I can speak for all “smother mothers” out there, THANK YOU for your wonderful advice, and PLEASE keep it coming! I’ll be messaging you about an issue that my partner and I are currently having regarding sneaking away for a little alone time, if you know what I mean. (wink wink, lol) I seriously need some advice regarding this issue. We NEVER get alone time together. Do you have any tips?? Lol! This “smother mother” has definitely been deprived. Ugh! I didn’t even think that was even possible when it comes to a woman. Lol!

  2. My son is almost three and we haven’t tried leaving him with his grandparents more than six. My hub is not willing, he’s more unwilling than I am. I guess we’re both smother parents! Hurray for us!

  3. My son is almost three and we haven’t tried leaving him with his grandparents more than six hours. My hub is not willing, he’s more unwilling than I am. I guess we’re both smother parents! Hurray for us!

    1. AW! I love it! I totally understand. It was such a hard decision for us, but we did it. I was SO happy to get home to my LO though <3

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