Vacation Trepidation: Fears of Leaving Kids at Home


Before we had children, my husband and I did a lot of traveling. It was kind of our thing, and I knew that it would be something we would miss when our littles came along. Yes, I know there are people out there who will take their kids EVERYWHERE. And while we will gladly take our children to the beach or on a weekend trip to St. Louis, we aren’t the type to tote a two-year-old to France. Sorry, that’s just the way we roll (or don’t).

All that being said, having two kids back to back meant that, not only had I been pregnant for a million years straight, but my husband and I also hadn’t had any time to ourselves, much less a vacation, in more than four years. I was a little hesitant to leave my babies—in fact, it terrified me—but with the encouragement of other mamas, we booked a cruise.

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I decided to break out the journal to document my feelings leading up to this grand vacation, so here is how everything turned out…


So, we did it. We booked a cruise. I can’t believe we are actually going to go on vacation without our children. I am so nervous. It’s not that I don’t trust our two wonderful grandmas who will be staying at our house with our boys; I think it’s more a worry that I’ll miss something or that they will need me and I won’t be there. There is a lot of guilt. Am I being too selfish? But I consulted my mom tribe, and (thankfully) they all reminded me that I was more than just a mom…that I was an individual who needed some recharging, and I was a wife who needed to spend some quality time with her husband. So, we did it. It’s booked. However, I’ll have you know, we bought trip insurance. I guess we will see if we actually go.


I swear it happened, what seemed like seconds after we signed on the dotted line and purchased our cruise. Our first-ever call to 911. Our first-ever ride in the ambulance. Our first-ever trip to the ER for our baby boy. Our older son had croup…which developed into a nasty cold…which evolved into a horrible ear infection…which necessitated antibiotics that gave him a painful diaper rash. Then, once he was healthy again and back at school, baby brother started acting uncomfortable; and, wouldn’t you know it? Baby had an ear infection too. Do I really want to leave them for a week? What if something like this happens again? Isn’t it my job to be with them every second of every day to make sure they are okay and have everything they need? I am so worried that I’m going to step aboard that cruise, and only be on the “I’m on vacation” high for about 24 hours. I fear that I’ll spend the rest of the time worrying about my boys and wishing away our vacation just so I can get back to hug them. (And how annoying would that crazy-anxious mom be? My poor husband.)


I’m feeling okay right about now about our upcoming vacation. Taking care of littles can be a bit like Groundhog Day, so it’s nice to have something to look forward to. I really am ready to relax, and I am very much looking forward to hanging out with my husband. I feel like we need some adult time together, sans baby monitors, sans midnight bottles, sans diaper changes. I know we will benefit from the recharge and return home with renewed mommy and daddy energy.


I’m ready. I’m so ready. I’m nervous. I know I’ll miss my babies. But I’m ready. Royal Caribbean, take me away! I’m going to read so much and nap so hard. Let’s do this.


It’s here. We leave in a little more than a week. I have to admit I’m a little nervous about ruining our vacation by worrying about the kids too much. My husband recalls our honeymoon where we spent a week in beautiful Jamaica, and by Day 3, I was crying because I missed my dog too much. I’m wondering if this will be a repeat and I’ll obsess over the boys. For right now, I’m just keeping my mind busy with packing. I’m a weirdo…and it’s one of my favorite things to do.


We’re baaaaaaacccckkkk! Okay, here’s the honest truth. I really did miss my kids a lot. We got to FaceTime with them every day, and that was very helpful. And, of course, the grandmas spoiled them like crazy; but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was ready to get back to my babes. When we came home, the baby had sprouted his first two teeth! (I feel you, Serena Williams.) And I have to tell you, I swear every family with kids on that boat had two little boys who were close in age. Really, universe? Isn’t that a little much?

Kidding aside, my husband and I had a great time. We relaxed, we read, we played cards, we ate way too much, and we enjoyed exploring the ports on our itinerary. It was nice, and I know we needed some good together time. And, yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I just know now that whenever we go anywhere without our children, there will be an added emotional element to deal with: trying to have a good time while still managing the tiny heartache of being away from our tiny humans.

So, next up….planning a cruise where we can take both of our boys. Now, that’s a whole other level of crazy, I know. But it will be fun!

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Cara is a freelance journalist and strategic communications consultant living in Germantown. Born in Illinois, she moved to Memphis at a young age; and, having moved away a few times for college, graduate school, and other adventures, she likes to joke that she’s moved TO Memphis more times than anyone she knows. Mom to the cutest little boys, Everett (March 2017) and Gavin (October 2018), and wife to Rob, who works as a financial planner, Cara is adjusting to her new gig as a stay-at-home mom after almost 20 years as a magazine editor and corporate communications practitioner. When not “momming” or consulting, Cara spends her time volunteering with the Junior League of Memphis, where she served on the Board of Directors for several years. Admittedly, Cara has an unreal obsession with escape rooms, an unhealthy addiction to Frappuccinos, and an uncontrollable desire to correct every grammar and punctuation mistake she sees. Learn more about Cara at