Mom goes on vacation alone: ​​it’s good for the whole family

Her son was nearly four months old when Annick Roderkirk went on a five-day walking holiday to Poland on her own last week. Partly for the travel blog she writes, but mainly because she felt like it. “I love Thijmen, but it was also nice to be out of my baby bubble for a while.”

People around her warned Aniek when she talked about her vacation plans. “They said they couldn’t do it, traveling so fast without a baby. Or they said I would find it very exciting. But my husband is a very good father, he really doesn’t take better care of Tegment than I do. So I had full confidence that it would all work out.”

Danique also likes to go on vacation without her husband and kids with complete confidence. She and her husband have a blended family: two children aged 14, one aged 12 and the other aged 7.

The first time she was left alone was when her daughter (now 14) was nine months old. “Then I went to Curaçao for six days. I had a very difficult pregnancy and my daughter cried a lot, which made me feel very tired. My partner at the time didn’t want to come, he thought it was too unpleasant. But I really needed her. So I went with a friend.”

“Is everything all right at home?”

Yes, it was definitely exciting and complicated, Danique says very bluntly. “I was just a mother and the people around me gave their opinion about it. I took this with me. So in Curaçao I was regularly thinking: Is everything all right at home? Then I was having a drink and I thought: She or: Now he’s alone at home with a crying baby. But things went well at home. Now I go away now and then with no problem – just as my husband sometimes does.”

Both women are surprised at the inequality that exists in this area. “Sometimes my husband has to go to work for a few days,” says Annick. “He never takes feedback from others. While my son has two parents, both of them can take good care of him.”

“The first few times I got a tsunami of comments I peeked out: ‘Can you do that for your kid?'” says Daniek. “While I’ve had girlfriends with partners who were away from home on business for six weeks, then came home for three weeks. They weren’t there often, and no one asked if the baby was going to be okay. Why is it any different when he takes care of Father of the child? My partner is a reasonable person, who can handle children well.”

Something to make up with your husband?

Danique heard it last year, after going to Curaçao for twelve days with a business partner and a girlfriend during the day. “full focus” To be able to work in a big job – “And then full focus To be able to refuel on the beach.

“After my return, I presented the project to the client, the director of a large company. I said we worked on it in Curaçao. He asked me: Do you have children? So you must have something to compensate for your husband? I said, “You travel a lot for work, don’t you?” Do you have to make up with your wife every time you come back?” Luckily, I realize what a strange comment he made.”

It’s an outdated idea that moms can’t leave the house for a few days or weeks, says health psychologist Gijs Coppens of OpenUp. “If people think that, it means more about them. You shouldn’t underestimate kids. If you have a healthy relationship with your kids, they can handle it just fine.”

“A dad can’t breastfeed on his own, so if you’re at this stage, going on holiday alone can be complicated. But most dads are very involved in the upbringing these days, and they take the kids to school or gym and cook too. They can really nurture their children “.

A little space to yourself

According to Coppens, it’s also a good idea for everyone in the family if mom (or dad) goes away every once in a while for a few days. “For a partner who has been leaving for a while, it’s nice to be able to look at the family from a distance. Especially if you have children, you live sometimes and there is no place for you outside of work and family. To go, you can come back again. Plus, Sometimes it’s good to realize what you’re missing out on when you’re not with your family, and to crave togetherness afterward.”

But it can also be very beneficial for the partner who stays at home and for the children if one of the parents is not around for a few days. “They build a bond with each other that they don’t develop when the other parent is there. For example, you have children who are very attracted to the mother. If they are alone with the other parent, their connection strengthens.”

“And also that the rules may be different than when both parents are home, it’s good for their bond. That they suddenly eat pancakes on a weekday evening while the other parent isn’t allowed. This creates very beautiful and valuable memories for both parent and child.”

A gift for the partner

Danny agrees. “I really see my holiday as a gift to my partner. I give him time with the kids in his own special way. Because of course it’s different than when I’m there, I’m a bit stricter than him. I also see it as a party: He really makes something of him with the food they don’t get from me or in Movie night on the weekend.”

Annick also sees how her husband enjoyed spending time alone with their son. “I had a really good time with Thijmen,” he said afterwards. “The guys have to go back to work soon after their baby is born. As a mother, you have several days alone with the baby before you also have to work. That time with Thijmen now, he was delighted.” I couldn’t have made my parents, who helped out that week, happier, either. They walked, they cuddled; it was really a win-win situation.”

Aniek was so confident that she would succeed, she chose a vacation where she wouldn’t always be available. “We have a healthy baby, who’s never been sick. I think that makes it easier to leave. But of course I’ve called or called home a few times if I can.”

Danique applies the rule herself: I have to be able to go home in a day. “So I wouldn’t go to Australia without the kids, but if I’m in Curaçao and take the first flight to Holland, I’ll be at the door the next day at the latest.”

Don’t take any chances

She did this once when her 7-year-old son – who has kidney problems – was ill. “We looked at it the first day, but the second day it was much more satisfactory. I was in the Caribbean and decided: I want to go home. My husband works at KLM, so in cases like this I can often quickly join the plane. You’ll see that when I get back.” Back home it was already better. But even so, I’d rather go back once too often than once too little. I don’t take any chances with that. Even if I know my child is in good hands with his father.”

It’s those moments that trigger parents’ greatest guilt when they’re away: when their child is sick and—they think—they need it most. Cobbins says that sentiment is also unnecessary. “Sure, mothers often think that they should always be there, but this is not the case. A sick child needs a figure of attachment. This can be a mother, but also a father, a grandfather, a grandmother or even a neighbor with whom the most important thing is – As in the rest of your absence – is that there is someone they know they can count on.”

No overnight bottles for a while

Annick notices when she returns from vacation that the kids don’t really care who they’re with. “I was glad I could sleep through the night without nighttime bottles, and therefore was really rested. But of course I also had moments when I thought: If only I could cuddle with Thegmen. I was really looking forward to it. But Tegmen was less excited to see me than I was to see him.” He looked at me, then turned back to his grandmother, who sat on his lap. He clearly had a great time.”

No, this does not mean that the bond between mother and child is damaged, says Coppins. “If you, as a parent, travel through Nepal for six months without contacting your child, that is of course a different story. But attachment and relationships develop over years. If you go on holiday for a week or two, contact every now and then with your child and pay attention to your child with renewed energy when You come home, there’s really nothing wrong with it.”

Danique also suffers from this, who has already been on vacation several times without her children. “We love seeing each other and cuddling after this holiday. And when I get home, I really enjoy my time with the kids.”

Aniek has already planned the next trip. “I’m cycling. A race is planned in Italy in March. Then I’ll be in Tuscany without husband and child for a few days. I’m looking forward to both sport and travel. I don’t know how that will go when my son becomes monotonous, we’ll see, but as long as he and my husband and I Fine when I’m not there, there will be trips.”

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