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Jun 25 2013

How to Vacation Without Your Kids Without Missing Them the Whole Time

By at 10:07 am

bed and breakfast“I want to hug that couple’s baby. Is that weird?”

I asked my husband this as we are sat poolside at our condo last year in the Turks & Caicos. Little Man and Bun Bun were 9 months old at the time and were staying with Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie while we took some much needed R&R. I was thrilled to be away, but suddenly, here was this little blonde Austrian baby-man, a doppelganger for my Little Man, and all I wanted to do was scoop him up in my arms, give him belly kisses, and maybe even wipe his cute little nose boogies.

Yeah, that wouldn’t be weird.

Luke and I were lucky in that we got to do a good deal of traveling before we became parents to the twins. We slurped over-sized gelatos in Sorrento, walked on a glacier in Alaska, and lounged on a black sand beach in Hawaii. The concept of a getaway BT (before twins) meant taking a break from our jobs and the stress of city life. Nowadays, the thought of vacationing sans Little Man and Bun Bun seems like a blissful relief from our duties as servants.

Sure, I enjoyed the requisite pina coladas and the post card-perfect sunsets in Turks & Caicos. But I also spent a good deal of time missing Bun Bun and Little Man. Austrian Little Man was on vacation with his parents, and they had brought grandma along to help. Brilliant! Why hadn’t we thought of that? These good Austrian parents were making blissful memories by the pool while I was on my laptop with a weak internet connection, Skypeing a grainy outline of my son and daughter who by then had probably learned how to make themselves a bowl of Cheerios and forgotten all about me.

This year, we knew we needed at least a night away as husband and wife. Five nights in the Caribbean with helpers in tow sounded great in theory, but this time we opted for a shorter trip–one night away at the luxurious Stonover Farm in Lenox, MA. The location was super-convenient–less than a half-hour from grandma and grandpa’s so we could drop the twins and be a short car ride away when we wanted to get back.

Booking a trip is one thing; actually allowing yourself to enjoy it is another. Up until the moment we left for the B&B, I fretted that it was too much for my parents–or more specifically, my mother–to handle. (My dad tends to take a more supervisory role where grandchildren are concerned.) At the last second, with our bags packed and thoughts of getting naked and donning a complimentary terry cloth robe dancing through my mind, I decided that I would give the twins their baths to take one task off my mom’s plate. So at 4 in the afternoon, the twins were all jammied up for the night and we finally drove away and didn’t look back.

When we arrived at Stonover,

The owners Tom and Suky greeted us and showed us to our suite, which was peaceful and charming–you could actually hear birds chirping outside the window–but also had every modern amenity you could desire from a flat screen TV to a huge marble soaking tub (yes!). Luke and I have stayed at a lot of inns and B&Bs including one that had a crocheted cozy over the tiny cube of a television set. This place was definitely more our speed.

Normally it takes us three days to unwind when we’re on vacation. We didn’t have time for that so we accepted Tom’s offer of fine wine and even finer cheese and got down to the business of having some kid-free fun.

During our short stay, I tried to keep in mind the things I had learned from our last trip away from the twins including:

1. Stop imagining what the twins are doing/eating/saying. Because this trip was so short, I knew it made no sense to spend it thinking about the exact two people I needed a break from.

2. And conversely–don’t feel guilty talking about the twins. I know that lots of parenting magazines say that you should stick to non-baby topics on your date night, but Luke and I enjoy discussing Little Man and Bun Bun and laughing about the silly things they say and do. It’s not the only thing we talk about, but we do discuss them at length and they are one of our favorite topics.

3. We deserve this time together. Doing stuff together as a couple is important, and it’s important to make time for little trips like this (or even just date nights). Being together while parenting is NOT the same thing as being alone together!

4. Don’t feel pressure to make every moment romantical. Stonover, with its chirping birds and picturesque, Mallard-filled pond, looks like something out of a movie, but we know that this is real life and that it’s okay if one of us falls asleep by 10:30 while the other sits up watching Sideways while eating coffee ice cream straight out of the container (something I never get anymore–two toddlers on caffeine is not something this twin mommy ever wants to experience.).

5. Go for luxury. In Turks & Caicos I chose an off-the-beaten path place thinking we’d go food shopping and cook our own meals like in the BT days. This time all I wanted was an amazing bathtub and for someone else to do the cooking.

In the morning, Tom made us his delicious goat cheese and mushroom omelettes and Suky gave us a tour of the grounds. Even though we’d told my mom we’d be home by 1 o’clock, by 10:30 a.m. we were pulling into their driveway, both of us eager to see our little guy and gal.

Did everything go smoothly? Well, not exactly. Apparently while I was lounging on 800 thread count sheets my little guy was throwing up in his crib. But you know what? Grandma handled it just fine. Hopefully it won’t be another 364 days before she agrees to watch them again because I’m already fantasizing about my next trip.

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