The hardest part of planning a trip alone with your husband—as healthy as it is—is the guilt parents feel when they leave their kids. You can make the experience a positive one for both parents and kids.
Before you start feeling guilty about even wanting to go away without your kids, remember that your kids will also gain from your vacation. Besides for the benefit for you and your marriage—of which the kids end up reaping the rewards as well—being away for a few days makes your children notice and appreciate what you do when you come back. Also, it will make them all more independent, and possibly the best part is to see the way the kids are there for each other when they’re without you.
So here are a few pointers to make the separation a bit smoother:
Make sure to leave the following items with your kids/babysitter:
Insurance cards for kids
Phone numbers for you, the pediatrician, and an emergency contact. These are especially important if you are flying and won’t be able to be reached for a few hours.
Let the school know who to contact while you are away.
Think of what part of the day will be the hardest for your children and prepare something special for every day at that time.
For example, for my children it’s getting up and dressed and ready in the morning without me. So I leave each child a letter which they get every day when they are up, dressed, and ready for school. In the letter I leave a little prize (candy, sticker or eraser for little ones, $1.50 for canteen for older ones.) You can do the same thing for bedtime or homework time. If your kids don’t like to bathe—buy a new bath toy and every day when they are in the water they get another prize.
Give them little treats to make their day without you a bit better.
For example, the days I’m away, my kids get to have Shabbos cereal instead of regular cereal. And they get 15 minutes later bedtime when they go to sleep nicely the night before. A new Lego set they can work on together goes a long way for a peaceful afternoon/evening.
And if you can’t travel or afford a trip…you can still have a break and quality time with your husband.
Send your kids to family or friends for a weekend. You and your husband can staycation at home. Buy a ready-made Shabbos, and enjoy your time together without interruptions. Sleep late, or go to shul together with your husband. And motzei Shabbos, when there is no cleanup, go out together. By the time you get your kids back on Sunday, you’ll all feel recharged.