My husband and I are leaving in a week to celebrate our anniversary in Jamaica with another couple. I was voted three to one against bringing our children. I have a difficult time leaving our son. It seems as though we both have separation anxiety when we’re apart. When I think of the fact that I'm leaving for a week without him, I feel physically ill. How do I explain this to my son, and how do I actually enjoy myself while on our trip?
Thanks for writing about your concern. You are far from being the only mother who prefers to not leave her child. It seems with some of our children that the connection is both physically and emotionally inseparable. You did not share with us the age of your child, so it is difficult to understand how traumatic this may be for the two of you.
Many parents who have similar concerns have shared what they have done in situations like these. They include:
• Call home during the time your child is able to talk.
• Select a caretaker who is familiar with your child’s normal schedule and routine. When a certain time of day occurs, you can take comfort in knowing what your child is engaged in at that time.
• Leave notes or little "prizes" for your child to find in your absence.
• Leave a piece of clothing with your fragrance on it for the child to have at night since that is something he is used to sensing before he sleeps.
• Leave a card or piece of paper with a lipstick kiss and a note under it stating "I love you."
Remember that your ultimate goal as a parent is to help your child become independent and confident. Sometimes it truly is more difficult for the parent than it is for the child. Doing whatever you can to prepare for the separation will ease your anxiety. Good luck and have fun! Bring home pictures and tell your son all about it. Have fun shopping for an awesome souvenir for him.