Vacations as the Non-Vacationing Parent: How to Cope

Vacation blog

Vacationing without your kids sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? What if that actually means your kids are vacationing without you? As the other half of a divorced couple, this might actually happen sometimes. As a mother, particularly a mother to young children, this can be very nerve-wracking. How are you supposed to know if their father is looking after your little ones in the same way you would be?

But as the parent who is not taking the kids on vacation, you… we… have to stand to the side and put our whole hearts and souls into trusting that everything will be JUST FINE. Since the separation is relatively new (less than a year) in my case- and this is their first time on a big vacation without me- it is taking all my strength to not have an anxiety attack. If you’re anything like me (as either a mother or a father) here are some things that might help you to get through the inevitable unknown while your kids are on vacation with their other parent:

1. Watch a movie (or 20).

I’ve watched so many movies the past 4 days. I watch plenty of movies on a regular basis anyway, but Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have really gotten a good use from me these days. I might even indulge and go to the theater. New ones, old ones, movies I haven’t seen, genres I hadn’t perused in a while. Make a date with yourself and watch. Invite your significant other if you have one. Popcorn optional.

abstract analog art camera
Photo by Skitterphoto on

2. Go out on the town. 

If you have the money to spend, go out on the town. Check out an art gallery, bar hop with friends, check out a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to visit. For me, it’s dancing. Not just the club scene (I feel like I’m a little too old for that, since Usher’s “Yeah” remains in my top 10 club picks), but country dancing. The particular country bar I frequent has great drink specials and if I get in before a certain time, there’s no cover charge. If country music isn’t your thing, then do some searching in your local area for the best dance clubs with drink specials and I’m sure you’ll find something that piques your interest.

3. Clean your house.

Okay, this one might be just for me. Seriously, though, I took advantage of the time without my kids to clean without interruption or having my progress destroyed immediately. I might just have to take a picture of all the cleanliness. However, after I finished cleaning a room to my satisfaction, I was pleasantly surprised to find that several hours had passed and I was that much closer to another day gone by when my kids were gone.

brown wooden floor
Photo by Pixabay on

4. Engage in conversation with your significant other.

My boyfriend and I do this all the time. Usually it’s over drinks, but quite often now we just sit and chat. About anything. We talk about the past, the future, pirates, the kids, random weird topics, really just anything. I don’t think I’ve quite conveyed how much I love this guy, but he is so much different and SO MUCH GREATER than my ex was. It’s great being able to talk with someone about so many things and never seem to get bored with it. So… find someone to talk to. It doesn’t have to be a significant other, just someone who is likely to engage in conversation with you and keep it up.

5. Let it go.

Yes, I’m channeling my inner Elsa here. My mantra since the divorce has basically been this simple phrase (sometimes replaced with a few choice, colorful words). Sometimes the conversation in number 4 helps me to let it go. Other times, I write in my journal. Other times still, I have to muster up all my energy and just LET IT GO. My kids are with their dad, someone who loves them. I can’t constantly be worried about what happens when my kids aren’t with me.

If these things that work for me don’t work for you, you might need to search for your own distractions. Find what your heart desires that’s not your kids and put your energy towards that. Yoga comes to mind.

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