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LAmom

Would you leave your kids for a week and head out of the country?

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I have the opportunity to go with my husband to Japan (free tickets--work related). I'm having a little bit of anxiety thinking about leaving my 5 kids, ages 2-10. The in-laws are flying in to watch them ... If I go. Should I do it? Would you? My 2 year old is very attached to me and still wakes up at night crying for me (in which I then pull her in bed with us). Anyways, tell me it will be ok. Lol. Will I have a panic attack while I'm in Japan. Ok, we rarely leave our kids. I mean, date night is once a year, and we don't mind. We get plenty of time together/have good relationship.

 

In-laws are not the greatest babysitters but kids would be fine with them. I think.

 

If we die, the kids have no one. Just saying.

 

Ok, God's in control. Would anyone else struggle with leaving or am I crazy?!

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I know it's not what you want to hear, but I wouldn't do it.

 

Is there any way you can bring the kids with you?

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I would. Every Mom needs a break now and then and this is yours. If your inlaws are totally on board with all things important to you and your kids are sufficiently familiar with them, go for it. It is sort of a vacation for everyone (except perhaps the inlaws :)) The kids get a change in the routine and so do you!

 

PS: Make a will or put a plan in place who takes care of your dc if something happens. Things can happen right where you live, not just when you travel.

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I have been to Japan on business 6 times over the years.

It is unbelievably expensive.  I haven't been keeping up with the exchange rate in a while, so maybe it's better now.  Check on this before you go.

Now imagine having no street signs in a recognizable alphabet.  You need either a guide or a very very good guidebook.

Now imagine your husband's hosts wanting to take him out to dinner most nights.  It's very unusual for wives to join that kind of thing.

 

I dunno.

 

I don't think I would go.  The combo of the lack of likely togetherness and the horribly bereft 2 year old would keep me at home.

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Where in Japan?  And what month?  Street signs shouldn't be an issue.  They don't use them like we do here.  Directions are given mostly by landmarks or more likely someone will go out of their way to show you where to go.  All adults have at least learned English in school from junior high on up and some retain it to some degree and will want to try it out on you!  What Carol said about wives and going out after work is true but as a foreigner they will give you a lot of leeway to do things differently.  

 

I'm not going to speak to the leaving the kids part.  I wouldn't have done it with in-laws that are "not the greatest babysitters".  But many people do.

 

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I always want to be the type of person who says, "Yes! Woman, live your life, take care of yourself and have some fun!" But in reality, I wouldn't. The two year old being so attached and what you said about the ILs not being the greatest would make me say no.

 

 

However, I wouldn't not go just because the two of you are going and what if you both died. (Ok that was a poorly worded sentence that I'm not changing). And I do honestly think that kids are resilient; as long as the ILs are safe to leave them with, they would be fine.

 

Are you nursing the 2 yr old? When is the trip? Would you have time to change how you handle night-waking between now and then?

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Carol may have some valid points. I was mostly answering from a viewpoint of "can I go and not irreparably harm the dc?" I think it would also depend what your dh thinks since he may know what the program will will be and how involved he will be while there.

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I wouldn't, but that's more to do with the fact I was still breastfeeding when my youngest was 2. Plus, anxiety about leaving the kids. So I don't think what I think about it should affect you at all!

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I would probably struggle a little but I would go. I love traveling and being alone with my dh, and I do think that occasional time away from kiddos is a good thing.

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I know it's not what you want to hear, but I wouldn't do it.

 

Is there any way you can bring the kids with you?

 

Yeah, I agree with Catwoman. I couldn't do it. Sorry..........

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My 2yo isn't nursing and my husband is going to see if she will fall asleep in her room with him (upon waking at night). We would not be able to bring the kids as we would have to pay for their flights. My husband is a pastor doing lectures for our denominations seminary/conference. We will have many hosts (families in the churches there) and many know English. I would be able to be with him at all times, lectures, meals, etc. My biggest stress is just leaving the kids. Will they survive? Most likely. Do I have some kind of guilt about leaving them? Yes. Should I? I don't know. It won't be a pattern of running off. They will generally enjoy time with grandparents.

 

I just don't know!

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If you are visiting churches you will be well taken care of.  How long would you be away from the kids?  I think the oldest 3 would do just fine.  The younger two might have trouble at bedtime but I'm sure they would be fine too. 

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My 2yo isn't nursing and my husband is going to see if she will fall asleep in her room with him (upon waking at night). We would not be able to bring the kids as we would have to pay for their flights. My husband is a pastor doing lectures for our denominations seminary/conference. We will have many hosts (families in the churches there) and many know English. I would be able to be with him at all times, lectures, meals, etc. My biggest stress is just leaving the kids. Will they survive? Most likely. Do I have some kind of guilt about leaving them? Yes. Should I? I don't know. It won't be a pattern of running off. They will generally enjoy time with grandparents.

 

I just don't know!

 

I don't think you should feel any guilt, as long as you are 100% on board with the grandparents as caretakers.

 

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I would TOTALLY go!  What a great opportunity!  What an adventure!  What a lesson for the kids that moms get to have fun too!  Your kids will be fine.  Yes, there may be some tears, but you know what I bet grandma and grandpa will do just fine.  And the siblings can help each other.  And it is only for a week.

 

You sound like a really great mom.  That doesn't mean you have to be available every minute for the rest of your life.  Take the time.  ENJOY the new experiences (the street signs you can't read, the food you don't know, the new language, new culture, new everything!!!)

 

 

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Those saying they couldn't do it, can you share why?

I wouldn't have weaned for a holiday, plus, I suffer from anxiety, and it would be too abrupt a separation from my younger child. I prefer to build up an ease with separation gradually.

 

For someone not breastfeeding, not anxious and happy with the family caretakers, it sounds like a fun experience. Just not MY fun experience, kwim ?

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It's hot here in California and probably will be in September too! I do think they all would do ok except the 2yo. We have a month to work on her sleep. It would be about 7-8 days! Yikes! Would people be answering the same if it were a week in the country? Say going to DC while my kids were in CA?

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Across the country or the ocean wouldn't make a difference for me - it's all about being away from the little guys, especially if I'm imagining them crying for me at night. :-(

 

But, if you could resolve the 2 yr old getting to sleep, I'd probably go. The kids will all be together and they generally like the ILs. I mean, my ILs are not the greatest either, but they love my kids and will keep them safe. So, really, that's enough.

 

Would you feel better if you made a shorter trip and flew home separately after 4-5 days?

 

What would make *you* feel better about the trip?

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I would also be concerned about leaving 5 children with the in-laws. That's a tremendous amount of work, stress, and responsibility for them. Are they used to having several children around the house for several days at a time?

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Provided I was ok with the in-laws I think I would go. But I would be anxious, nothing would change that, and I'd be calling twice a day to check on them! But I have never left this side of the country, so for me it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just couldn't pass up, the kids aren't infants, and the older ones would be there to help the younger ones feel secure. If your DH is likely to go again sometime, then I might be more inclined to miss this one.

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Sorry to be another downer, but I wouldn't do it, mainly because of the 2yo. I think that many nights would be rough on a young child that still needed me at night. A night or weekend, maybe, but a week out of the country, no.

 

Another reason would be my in-laws being not the greatest babysitters. I would have to feel 100% comfortable with my kids being as content with the caregiver as they would've been with me for something like this. I think the strain of my being away for 7-8 days, coupled with not-so-great sitters would be more negative than I'd be comfortable with.

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I would go. When you look back in 10 years, you will be happy to have gone. Also, you will be able to tell your children about your travels. It is healthy for children to realize that their parents have interests and passions beyond the immediate family.

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I just turned down a week-long trip to France. DH is going on business. Yes, I would love to go but have an irrational fear of being so far away from DS10. :(

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I would absolutely go. What an opportunity to see another country! And to have some longer-than-date-night, couples-only time with your dh!

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Go to Japan with your spouse. Do your best to enjoy the trip to Japan with your spouse. Your 2yo will not die from sleep deprivation, your 2yo will not die of starvation. The house will not spontaneously-combust because you are absent, and your children will probably miss you, but survive and grow in your absence.

 

When you get back, do a "unit study" on Japan with your kids, it will be all the more realistic/fun because mom was there.

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I would go and I did something similar when my kids were 2 and 4.  I went to Greece with my husband for a week when he was on a business trip.  I did end up spending the days on my own exploring (some with his partners wife) and then we had dinner together every night and spent the last two days together exploring.  It was AMAZING!  I had never been to Europe before and don't know when I may get the chance again.   My kids were watched by their grandparents - my dd went to my mother and ds went to MIL.  We spoke to at least the grandparents every day, Skyped a few times - both only if we thought it wouldn't upset them "seeing" us.

 

If you think they will be safe with the grandparents, even if it's not an ideal situation where they will do everything exactly as you will, I would definitely go.  They will have each other as well.

 

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I would if my 2yo was weaned. My kids are similar ages, my youngest is only 20 months old and isn't weaned so it wouldn't be an option right now. Fwiw my husband often has a bugger of a time with the 21 month old but she was just at the grandparents for 12 hrs yesterday and did great. I think something about being home and expecting me makes he more grumpy for him. I know I would miss the kids and they would miss me but I think we would also have fun as well.

 

Also, fwiw a few years back my answer would've been different. There is no way I would consider it but after so long of not having any time or space I'm desperately craving it. I wouldn't feel guilt, assuming they are competent caregivers. They don't have to be the best but safe, loving and willing to try is good as well.

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Yes, of course. I head out of the country by myself once a year( meet my sisters somewhere) and the only reason I have not headed out with DH is that we have no childcare. Soon we are doing a child swap with my sister and will be able to get away together.

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Unless I knew the in-laws would be perfect with the kids, I wouldn't go. How often do they see your kids? Do they know them well? Would they invite the 2 yr. old to sleep with them? If not, can you get one of the older kids to sleep with her? Can they set up a tent in the bedroom for it to be fun and different? I left my 8 month old son with my cousin to go on a week long cruise. Of course I had some fun, but I was really worried the whole time I was gone and when I got home, I swore I'd never do that again. I couldn't enjoy myself fully.

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I would. Your 10 yr old could help with the 2 yr old, and everyone will be fine. Do not worry about dying, people are more likely to die at home than on vacation, so their is a cheery thought lol.

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I would go. Definitely go. I would be anxious, but I would go. You've got airfare and hote/housing covered. That does not sound like an opportunity that comes up often if ever.

 

I would arrange for some babysitters to relieve in laws a few times during the week. You do not need to find another person who will watch all the kids at once. A few different people who can watch or take some of the kids to an activity would help.

 

 

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Yes your kids will live. They aren't just being left with in laws, they are being left with each other in their own house.  We always took our dc with us because we didn't have family to stay with them. You can leave a treat in a jar for each day you'll be gone. When the treats are gone you will be home!

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Yes, yes I would.  Then again I just spent most of the summer sans kids having shipped them off all over the place.  It sounds like this opportunity is one of those rare if not once in a lifetime ones with the most expensive parts of the trip covered.  Go, enjoy it, trust the il's with the kids, bring back souvenirs for everyone.  It's only 1 week out of the last 10+ you have been parenting them never leaving their side.  They will be just fine

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If my youngest was 2, I would go. It depends on what you mean about the grandparents though. I can certainly see myself describing my inlaws as "not the greatest" but that's because they do things like tell the kids they will buy them a puppy. The kids actually have a great time with them and I know they do things safely.

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I would and have. I earned three trips through my company. Two were out of the country and the third was Alaska. My youngest at that time was 4 (then 5 and 6). We went and had a wonderful time. It was great to be alone as a couple. The kids loved their time with grandma.

 

Your kids will be fine. You will have a wonderful time! Go!

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I would do it, but only if I thought I could enjoy myself.  No point in going if you are worried to death the whole time.

 

This.  And if your husband is looking forward to this time away with you, and you are a worried mess all the time, it will also ruin the trip for him.  Don't ask me how I know that. :ohmy:

 

Even if the grandparents are not perfect, if you know the kids will be safe with them, AND if you can relax, then go! 

 

A side issue:  get your kids' guardianships in order, either before you go or right after.  That will add to your general feelings of security about your kids.  When ours were little we had no family we wanted as guardians, so we asked some close friends.  They agreed, and it was like a weight had been lifted.  Now my kids are in their teens and some of my nieces and nephews have grown and matured to the point they could be guardians if needed for the short time remaining as well. 

 

You may come back to a 2-year-old with no more sleep troubles!  

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I would definitely go. I have taken several trips without children with my husband and each has had its blessings and challenges. Honestly, the children will probably adjust more easily than you will. They live more in the moment. You will also be blessing your in-laws by helping foster a deeper relationship with your children. That benefits everyone too.

 

Prepare as well as you can. Pray without ceasing. Have a wonderful time building a deeper relationship with your husband. That is of immeasurable value to your children.

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If you and your dh are alright with your decision, then do it. You will find that everyone has their own opinion, but really it comes down to what works for you, your dh and your dc.

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I would and did earlier this year. My in-laws are living in Tokyo and invited us to visit on their dime. It was a one in a lifetime chance for me. We left our kids with my parents and went. I was nervous but I'm glad I went. We were gone 10 days and I would do it over again if given the choice.

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My mom left my sister and I to go to Italy when we were 2 1/2 and 10 months. Her mother was supposed to keep us but backed out at the last minute, and a neighbor insisted on keeping us. I am fine. My sister is fine. I have a lovely broach that I say is my first 'guilt gift.' I am glad she got to go and do that when she and my dad were young!

 

I would try to find a teenager who could come over and help a few hours a day if your in laws might find that responsibity exhausting.

 

Go. Kobe is very easy to navigate and you will have hosts.

 

I would take seperate flights though.

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I'm sure your kids would be safe.

 

I, personally, would not have left my kids for a week when they were that young. Each of mine was very attached to me at two and unused to being away from me. In fact, my daughter still has unhappy memories of being taken to one of the "kids' club" childcare facilities at Disney World when she was five or six.  She was an unusual kid--unusually intense, unusually bright, unusually imaginative, unusually attached to me. I'm sure her experience was not typical. My son at two was only just then verbal and was a ball of energy with a gift for getting into trouble.

 

While I loved my in-laws very much, their parenting style was quite different from that of my husband and me. And, because they lived several states away from us, they were not super close to our kids. I'm 100% certain they would have kept our kids physically safe. However, in our particular combination of circumstances, I would have foreseen too much potential for unhappiness and drama to have felt good about leaving the kids for that long to do something that was highly optional for me. I don't think I would have been able to have a good time because I would have been thinking/worrying about what was going on at home.

 

For me, the only difference between leaving the country and staying somewhat more local would have been the feasibility of cutting my trip short and going home early if I felt it were necessary. 

 

Only you know your family's situation. If you're comfortable going, then go for it. In answer to your question, though, would I? I'm really sorry, but the answer would be no.

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I would not go. If the kids were older, I'd consider it, but as long as one or more of them needed me the way it sounds that your 2yo needs you, I would not be gone for that long, anywhere farther away than across town where I could get to them quickly if they needed me. If there was a trip like this that I wanted to go on, it would have to be planned far enough in advance to do a few trial runs--spend a night away, spend a weekend away, spend half a week away. First trip, Dad stays with the kids; work up to several nights of you and Dad both being gone. My daughter would absolutely freak out if Daddy and Mama both disappeared for a week without some serious prep work, which would take months to do properly, no matter who else was staying with her. But then, she's a particularly sensitive 4yo with a history that's made her even more sensitive to separation from her parents. But then, it does sound like your daughter needs you to be there overnight. A week away is too long.

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Yes, I would go, and I'm about as anxious as they come about my baby! If your 2yo isn't weaned yet, you can leave breast milk for her.
You can express, store and freeze breast milk for up to 12 months with a deep freezer and anywhere from 3-6 months in a regular freezer.

If you are worried that the IL will be overwhelmed with 5 kids, then you might arrange for a young person to come over 2-4 times during your absence and take care of the kids.

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I think you should go. My dh travels internationally all the time and I never go. He always asks and I always decline. My children are much older than yours and would be fine without me but I am a worry wart. Don't become like me. Go. Have a great time!

 

Elise in NC

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