Parents have a natural instinct to protect and guide their children. This is why it is so tough to let go of their hand when they start school or go to friend’s house for the afternoon. Playdates soon become day trips to the mall and sleepovers. These small steps for independence can still be pretty heart-wrenching for us parents, though! Eventually, the time comes for your baby to take their first vacation away from your hometown without you. Time to celebrate, or is it time for endless worry (and a little sobbing)?
There are so many opportunities for your children to spend time away from home these days. We may live in a connected, digital world, but the activities our kids enjoy most are the ones that involve real-world social connections. Sports, music and community organizations provide many activities. These often take the kids out of town to meet other like minded individuals.
It may be a recital, a sports match, or help-in-the-community initiative that piques your child’s interest. No matter how good it is for them and the others they’ll be with, parents can’t help but feel a lump in their throat. Your child will be out of town, accompanied by a non-relative adult. No wonder you feel nervous!
Of course, with so many great opportunities, you know your child will be learning new skills. They’ll be networking and bolstering that all-important resume for the future, too. Perhaps they’re taking part in summer mission trips to help with community projects? Or maybe they’re off to their first summer camp to enjoy the great outdoors for a couple of weeks? What you need to think about now is filling your time. Don’t waste the opportunity to do some grown-up things for yourself and your partner. Enjoy an extra date night. Go shopping. Eat in a fancy restaurant. See some friends!
You can also take this opportunity to give the house a clean or tackle that renovation project. When the kids are away, it is much easier to have a clear-out without the guilt factor! You can sleep in on the weekend, and stay up late. Do you remember all those things you used to enjoy before the kids were around? Dare to revive one or two of them, if only for this weekend!
Has your child got their own email account? If not, why not set one up and aim to send them a quick message every day they are away? If you don’t feel they are old enough for that, there is no harm in doing it anyway. You can give them the account, complete with historical emails when they come of age. It’s a lovely way to let them know you’re missing them, even if they don’t read the messages for a while.
Yes, it will feel peculiar when they’re not around. Yes, you will miss them enormously and fret every moment. But you’ll also have those few precious days to devote to yourself and your grown up relationships. Make a plan, and enjoy the peace and quiet.