There is a giant controversy dividing the parenting community. Big surprise, right? This time the subject of debate is at what age do you leave your newborn to go on vacation?
Rebecca Eckler decided it was a good time to take a vacation to Mexico and left her 10-week-old newborn son with her fiancé’s mother and the nanny. She wrote an article about her decision on Mommyish.com and received a lot of backlash from her readers.
This made me question myself. When did I first leave my girls overnight with someone other than my husband? My answer was when my second child was 3 years old; she is 5 now.
Why did I wait so long? I waited so long because I couldn't have left the girls with someone else because I would have freaked out. Not because they are not good caregivers but because I am totally overprotective. I didn't (I still don't really) trust anyone else to care for my child the way that I would, and I needed to know that they were old enough to convey their wants and needs to a caregiver.
All the worry and stress over leaving my children that first time wasn't really necessary. Once I let myself relax and realize they were happy and well taken care of by my in-laws, I had the best birthday celebration ever. Yes, my first time away was to go into the city and spend a night away with my husband in a bed that didn't have little people sleeping between us and kicking us in the head. We had a room where we could sleep in until we woke up. We went to a show and had a fancy grown-up dinner and went dancing with our closest friends.
By the time we returned home, I was happy to be back with my girls, but I am forever grateful for those 24 hours. I was also relieved to know that I could leave my children in someone else’s care if I needed or wanted to with the knowledge they would be perfectly taken care of and happy. Truthfully, I’m not even sure they missed us at all with all the fun activities that Grandma and Grandpa planned to keep them entertained.
I also wanted to kick myself for not doing it sooner. Moms need a break once in awhile. Those breaks, time away, to decompress can make us better mothers to our children. If we never leave or have time to ourselves, it becomes too much. Even if it’s just an overnight trip to a local hotel while your mom watches the kids, you need that time to just be you and not just someone’s Mommy. We all need a night to ourselves every now and again.
I don’t see what all the anger toward Ms. Eckler is about. Maybe it’s jealousy because, honestly, I kind of wish that I had the balls to take a trip to Mexico when my girls were smaller. Hell, I wish I had the balls to go away for a week without them now. Baby steps, my friends.
How old was your child the first time you left them overnight with a caregiver?
Image via SCA Svenska/Flickr