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We're going to grandma's!

I remember when I was a kid, I'd beg my parents to let me stay at my cousin's house for the weekend.  The first night was so fun - we'd stay up all night, set up sleeping bags in the living room, watch movies.  By the second night, though, I'd miss my bed, my own pajamas, my room, and my parents.  I'd get homesick, even on just the second night.

When I was ten, my parents decided it would be a wonderful life experience for me and my brothers to spend the summer - three months - in the Philippines.  We rotated houses, staying with my grandmother and a myriad of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I definitely thought it was novel, since I convinced my aunt that I was allowed to have ice cream sundaes every day.  But, after the first week, I was homesick.  And, I had several, several weeks to go.  My two brothers were 6 years old and 4 years old that summer.

When we came home, finally, my mother gave us each the hug of all hugs.  She clung to us like she'd never let us go.  She told us, "We will never, ever, ever leave you for that long again.  Ever."

Our girls are lucky enough for have four grandparents - my parents and my husband's parents.  For a long while now, they have been trying to finagle a way to get the girls to spend a week in San Francisco (with my parents) or in New York (with my husband's parents).  The girls and I have spent only a few instances apart.  Just a handful, really.  I didn't spend a night away from either of them until they were each three years old, at least.

Maybe it I am the one who is having a hard time being OK with the time apart.  But, I do think that the time apart may be more challenging than they may think.  Have you had your child(ren) go away and spend time at the grandparents' or with other family?  How has it been?  Have you loved the time apart or hated it?


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My little girl is just a few weeks shy of her 1st birthday and I have to say that the thought of being away from her for even one night sounds like the absolute worst torture I could conceive of.

Ask this question again in 4 or 5 years. :-)

Hi Olivia,
Our kids started staying overnight at their gparents at a young age. Two nights in Seattle when my daughter was three months (that wasn't even worth the extra pumping!) A weekend night probably once a month. My kids are now 3.5 and 2 and last November we went to Mexico for a week. They had a great time because all the gparents devoted all of their time to just them for that week. This Saturday we will be leaving for Europe for two weeks and the kids will spend time with all three sets of grandparents. This trip is really the first trip I've been nervous about just because of the length of time. And I really think that we will miss them more than they will miss us. They are excited to go on their own vacation (as we've been calling it)and we've talked a lot about what they can expect and what we'll all be doing. I think every family is different, but for us we need to make sure that our marriage is on track and that we are healthy as a couple and that that's more important to our family in the long run. I also think that our kids are use to spending nights away so although this next trip is a little bit longer than I'm comfortable with I know that they will be ok. My husband and I are are both former teachers and we both strongly believe that kids learn security and independence by having some separation from their parents because they learn that they always come back.
That's my take. I'm interested to hear other people's views.

As a single mom, I can tell you that the nights away from home are crucial! The first one, I pulled out of the driveway alone, and cried! But I quickly got excited at the prospect of a good night's sleep. And it was worth it! It's that "healthy, happy mommy leads to healthy happy kids" thing. To be completely honest, my 2 year old is spending the night with a friend tonight so I can get a break! I hate to miss any time with her since I work full time, but it makes the time we do spend together seem even more special! I only do this maybe once every several months, but I do know of a lot of parents, single or married, who utilize grandma much more often to get a break or go on a little husband-wife (or wife-wife) break. It seems pretty healthy to me.

Ever since my twins were just months old, my Mother-in-law and her partner have taken the kids overnight. It was hard at first, but as Melanie and Debby said it is really good for the Mamas. I find that I appreciate the kids more when the "party" is over. The grandmas love having them! They will call us to find out when the next slumber party is. They take them all over Portland on lots of fun adventures, and the kids love to come home and tell us all about it. They have taken them to the beach for a long weekend, and when hubbie won a trip to LA thru work for 4 days, we were able to rest easy knowing the kids were having a blast.

Oh what a topic. I share your experience as a child. I was so excited to go to my grandparents' in California when I was about 10, loved the first night or so, and then was miserable because I was homesick. I remember crying myself to sleep after that. We tried this two years in a row, and then stopped because it just didn't get any better. When I was around 16 we did it again, and it was okay because my grandma and I went travelling together, which had more excitement, but I still was a little homesick. Frankly, I feel that way a little still! But, as for my kiddos, ages 3 and 1.5, I haven't spent the night away and don't plan to any time soon. My parents live an hour away and the offer certainly has been there, I just can't do it and don't think they're ready either. I know this because they still wake at night, the little one still nurses in the night, and the older climbs into bed with dad and I most nights. I can't imagine he would feel okay at someone else's house. I will say I was away from home when I had the second babe, but the older stayed in our house with grandma and seemed to do okay because everything was still familiar. Believe me, there are nights I long for a good night's sleep, but at this point just don't think that is the way for me to get it. And as for the experience for the boys, we go to grandma's regularly and spend the night. I'm just with them.

Interesting conversation.

My husband and I just returned from an amazing trip to Greece for 10 days without our 2 year old daughter Edie. We had only spent a night away before, so to make it easier we had my parents come down and stay with her in her own environment. That made it much easier. French fries and ice cream for breakfast, she loved it. My objective with my parents care was, "keep the kid alive". They succeeded. She was a bit needy last week (we just got back). But other than that, it was WELL worth the time away. We got to reconnect in a way that time never allows for here at home. Highly recommended! Also, a quick note about financial burden of travel...we used frequent travel miles and went to a spot in Greece that wasn't very pricey. The whole trip was quite reasonable.....

I think it kind of depends on your kids and the details of your situation...I grew up in a family of 5, and I was the kid who was always hitting up friends and aunts and grandma for a sleepover, I think it was my way of getting the attention I needed or something! But I had plenty of friends who would not even spend one night at my house because they got too homesick, so I was always the one to stay at their homes.

Having said that, I think time away from mom and dad benefits everyone, if you have the option to do so. We're finding this to be the one, huge downfall to not having grandparents/family in town, or pretty close. If we stay here, it will likely be at least 4 years until Anders would be old enough to fly alone to visit my parents in AZ. And who knows how old he'll be before he can make the trip to Norway to be with my inlaws unless we did some complicated dropping off kind of thing.

If we had the option, we'd definitely choose to spend more time alone...we're stressing out about who's gonna take care of Anders when I go in to labor in the coming weeks! And that's just so that we can have a day or night to ourselves to focus on bringing a new baby into our family!

We've done the same as Harper above: My mom comes to our house to be with our daughter, so that my child is on familiar turf. Mine is a little one, so haven't had real need to cross the "ship her off to Nana's in Florida" bridge yet.

This conversation makes me somewhat sad; the situation is so different for my child than it was for me. My grandparents lived a mere 25 - 30 minutes away when I was growing up - I was at their house all the time, not for extended sleepovers (because they were deemed unnecessary), but for lots of weekend overnights and daytime visits. I really benefited from having such easy access to them. They were wonderful people who let their grandchildren have free run of their home.

We are lucky in that both sets of grandparents live within 45 minutes of us. Our three-year-old son visits at least one set every other weekend for an overnight. He has so many wonderful traditions that happen only at their respective homes and feels pretty special when 'he' gets to stay overnight and we don't. Granted, he's been doing this since he was an infant so the separation anxiety isn't nearly what it would be otherwise. Though when he was tiny, I called every few hours to check on him. He always seems really glad to see us - absence makes the heart grow fonder. And it works both ways. :) We also went on a week's vacation last year. His grandparents shared the watching duty, and it worked beautifully. It certainly depends on your child and your family's preferences, but for us, some time away from each other is a positive thing.

Interesting thread! My son is 14 months old and I've had to leave him for three separate overnight work trips. Next weekend I'm going for fun -- a girls weekend in San Francisco. But in all these cases my husband is home with him which somehow feels different. My husband has also had some overnight travel while I stay home. We've talked about whether or not we're ready for us both to go away without him and we're not there yet. Fortunately for us, we have all three grandparents nearby, at least for most of the year. I do think that some time away just us would do wonders for our relationship, but it's all a matter of timing.

I dropped my 9 month old at my brother's /SIL's house for the night to celebrate our 6th anniversary. They have 3 kids who are glued to Lillian's side as soon as they are in the same house so she got non-stop attention for the 24 hours she was there. I am looking forward to more of these overnighters with her cousins. We already have one planned for a wedding in a couple months.

I've been away from my 1 year old son twice so far. Once when he was 8 weeks old and my husband and I went to Lake Tahoe for a wedding and once for a week when I went to New Mexico for a work trip. The second one was harder because I didn't have my husband either. He's going to his grandparent's house today for 8 days as we go to Canada for an outdoor adventure trip. Maybe when he's a little older he will come too, but for now we could use our time away and his grandparents definitely love the time with him all to themselves.

My two and half year old has been staying overnight at either of her two sets of grandparents in the area since she was 4 or 5 months old. At first I cried -- but then I realized I really needed the time for me and for me and my husband. It's so great having date night -- time to think and talk about things other than the kids!!! She is so comfortable going to either place that when we started toddler day school one day a week -- she had no problems leaving me. It was like -- don't let the door hit you on the way out Mom!

And now that we have a new 3 month old -- it's really great for my older one to have the kind of one-on-one attention that only grandparents can give. She loves going to grandma's!!!! And it lets me have one-on-one time with the new one too!

It's not always easy -- but I think it's good for them and for us!

Good luck!

When we moved to Portland we had no one there to help with the kid, then kids.
The grammas and grampas would make lots of visits from CA, but it was never really a break for me or us. This was incredibly difficult for me. While I love being mom to ella and jack, I longed for a break longer than a trip to Target.
We have just recently moved back to CA and as I write the kids and Matt are on their way to his parents for the weekend, while I prepare to go get a pedicure.
For us, visits to the grandparents are necessary so they build strong relationships with them and so that I can relax, be quiet, be myself for a quick moment. Sure, I miss them, but they'll be back. Ya know?

This is such a good topic! We are pretty good about having weekly datenights, but we have never both been away from the kids at the same time. Our kids are 8, 5, and 18mths and next week for our wedding anniversary we decided to have them spend the night w/the family that watches them on Fridays. We figured we'll be home in case anything goes wonky and they need us, but this way we can maybe plan a trip w/o them (how risque!) in the future.

totally off topic, but monica! i didn't realize you had moved! i'm sorry i didn't get to see you before you headed back to cali. we'll miss y'all up here!

omg, my 4yo son just spent 5 days at grandma's. i saw him on the day he left and the day he came back, obviously, and then 3 days of no seeing him. up until now, i've never been more than one night away, RARELY, except 2 nights when i had my 3rd son. even though i talked to him everyday, i found myself getting into a real funk, and then it started to feel like he was gone. as in, gone gone. i can't even say the word. it was so yuck, i won't be doing that again for a long while. i couldn't even let my kids go to grandma's for an afternoon till they were way over a year old. i think it's just me. i must have some separation issues.

Yep, we took off last week. We are close to friends and fam again which is good - feels like we have come home. Now if we could just sell our dang house up there. ARRRGHH. With all that said, WE LOVED PORTLAND and I miss it. My email is red@monkcheese.net, let's keep in touch! Give Milo and Calvin and big smooch!

This is such an interesting conversation. I was glad to read Shannon's response and see that I'm not the only one with separation issues. My 5 year old spent the night with grandma last night and I felt really sad, though I know he was having a great time. I think it mostly comes from working so much and never feeling like there is enough kid time, but mother's guilt is truly useless most of the time!

Thanks for all the insight! It's been a few weeks since I posted. Turns out that my in-laws have scheduling conflicts, so they can't come out to pick up the girls to bring them out to New York for a few days. I suppose I am happy with the outcome, though I was certainly bracing myself for time away from the girls.

All four of us are going out to New York for a week, and Dave & I will spend a couple of days in the city and leave the girls with his parents upstate. I think this is a nice compromise.

But, oh, each night apart from them can be tough for me. I have separation issues, I know!

My 4-year old daughter just got back from "grandma and grandpa bootcamp". As a single mama it can be tough to play the dual roles of nurturer and disciplinarian, and so each summer (ok, this year and last year) she's gone to grandma and grandpa's in the midwest for three weeks. They spend a lot of time teaching her how to help around the house, as well as get totally doted upon. Each time she's come back it's been a joy -- she is more willing to listen and cooperate and we are in a great groove of enjoying one another again. Of course i missed her the moment she left, and didn't quite know what to do with myself sometimes (i am so used to bustling around, cleaning and cooking for her), but i got over it and was able to hike, bike, and camp in total freedom. Boot camp is the best thing that's ever happened to our two-person family!

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