A couple of weekends ago, we celebrated the wedding of our dear friends Cort and Sarah. It just so happened to be the weekend of our own wedding anniversary and their wedding was at a swanky hotel in Philadelphia – conveniently just a half hour away from all the grandparents. The stars had aligned for a perfect overnight getaway!
While Larry periodically travels overnight for work, that weekend was the first time I’d be overnight and away from Judah since he came home from the hospital nearly 8 months ago. I was nervous the week of our big overnight away, but everyone survived and we all managed to have a marvelous time!
If you’re thinking about an overnight away (or even just an extended date night out) here are my tips to help you prepare, stay sane, and actually enjoy yourself!
Photo by Nicole Shilliday/Shilliday Photography.
Make your overnight plans well in advance.
As nice as it would be to make spontaneous plans, if it’s your first time being away for a night from baby, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your sitter booked ahead of time. That way, in case someone backs out or can’t commit, you’ve got time to find another. Since we were going to a wedding, we had plenty of advance notice thanks to the Save the Date reminders!
Nervous about a sitter? Try asking relatives first!
I’ll confess… I was nervous about leaving my baby with someone I didn’t know. Since we were staying so close to my parents’ home in New Jersey, it only made sense to ask the grandparents first. Thankfully, my parents were more than happy to oblige!
Pack the essentials, but don’t forget baby’s favorites!
Judah is a pretty easy baby to take care of, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t his own little man full of preferences and tastes, just like any of us. He has some favorite toys and teethers, so we made sure we packed those few favorites in with all of the necessary things like diapers and wipes. And, speaking from personal experience – pack plenty of extra outfits for baby. Diaper blowouts are no joke! Since we were traveling, we had to take everything with us; if you have someone coming to your home, make sure everything is clearly set aside or labeled for whoever will be watching baby.
Grandmom and Judah letting me know they’re a-ok while we’re away.
Set an alarm for the inevitable “How are things going?” phone calls.
This was a hard one for me. I am rarely without my cell phone within arm’s reach and being overnight away from Judah was no exception. I wanted my hand on my phone at all times in the event of an emergency. But really… I didn’t need to! To make sure I wasn’t stalking my parents all night, I set one alarm reminder in my phone to call just before Judah’s bedtime. That way, I knew I wouldn’t forget and I could limit myself to just the one call that night instead of pestering my parents. This is especially important in order to…
Enjoy yourself and have a good time!
As a work-at-home mom, I’m with Judah pretty much around the clock all day, every day. It was a really big deal for me to be gone as long as I was: almost a full 24 hours – and yet, we both survived! Not only that, I managed to have a fantastic time knowing that we were only a phone call and a short drive away and, more importantly, that Judah was in good hands! It all comes down to trusting other caregivers to take care of your child and to a degree, trusting yourself that you’re still a good parent. Every parent deserves a night off once in a while. In fact, I think I can parent better knowing I can survive the periodic overnight away or night out.
A few other miscellaneous tips…
If you’re still nursing, don’t forget to take a breast pump and don’t forget to pump while you’re away. I brought my hand pump and made sure to pump before I went to bed (Judah’s not exclusively breastfed, so I didn’t need to pump more than once). Share a copy of your baby’s schedule with his or her caregiver. I gave my mom a printed out schedule of when and what Judah eats, the basic outline of his nap schedule, and his bedtime routine. Ask your caregiver to send you a picture update! My mom was kind enough to text me a picture of Judah happy as a clam that night. Seeing his sweet, smiling face was just the right amount of reassurance to keep me calm, confident, and able to enjoy the rest of my night!
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you and your partner deserve a night off, so make those plans for your big night out and have a good time! And remember: you’ll be there in the morning to scoop up your baby and cover them with kisses. Baby will be okay!