Should Parents Take Vacations Without Their Children?

Gillian Sisley

And if one is forced into childcare, is it really a vacation?

Family dynamics aren't easy to navigate, and that can get more complicated when bringing children into the mix. It's predicted that 100 million Americans go on vacation every year.

And so, as we enter the Christmas season, survey results also show us that 85 million Americans will travel to see family for the holiday. About 40% of those households will have children.

But that begs the question -- when it comes to vacations involving rest and fun, should the kids come along, or be left at home? Alternatively, should parents make an effort to accommodate trips that can include the kids?

If one chooses to vacation with their kids, should they be open to babysitting other children too?

A recent popular post on Reddit offers us a case study of these two possible alternatives -- vacationing with, and without, children, and the complications that can come from either decision. A woman who goes by u/Natural20criticalhit has taken to Reddit to ask strangers if she's in the wrong for refusing to babysit her sister's children while she's on vacation.

The woman explains that she will be returning to her hometown with her husband and three kids in January 2022. The visit is specifically to see family, and thus the children are coming along as well. This would be all well and good, but the woman's sister has seen a chance to have a child-free vacation of her own, and thus has made a presumptuous choice.

The author then explains that her sister called and told her that she had to stay at her (the sister's) house, and to not book a hotel during certain nights of the vacation. The woman declined, stating she would be staying at the hotel she'd booked.

The woman finally learned that the sister had just expected the visiting sibling to babysit the nieces and nephews while the sister went on a child-free trip away.

Child-free vacations are fine, as long as you make the proper accommodations.

The above example shows two possible valid outcomes for vacationing as parents; either bringing the kids along, or leaving them behind for a 'break'. While both choices are justified, there's a general consensus that online readers could agree on: if you want a childfree vacation, go for it. But don't dump your kids on an unwilling participant just to make that happen for yourself.

One online user, TibbleTabbs1114, made this point by stating,

“If she wants a kid free vacation, she can find and pay a sitter like other parents have to do. Her assumption was ludicrous.”

No one can fault a parent for wanting a vacation away from the kids. In fact, over half of American parents believe it's important to do so. In a survey conducted in 2018 by YouGovAmerica, 7,000 respondents weighed in as to whether or not they felt that parents should take vacations without their children.

23% believed that parents should 'regularly' take vacations without their kids, while 54% believed that parents should take those vacations, but only on 'special occasions'.

The potential of a great vacation shouldn't be taken lightly, either. The New York Post reported that, in a poll of 2,000 people, 3 in 5 Americans say a vacation saved their relationship. 61% also stated that they had used a vacation as an opportunity to reignite the romance in their relationship.

What do you think? Are child-free vacations not only valid, but important for a couples' relationship and mental health? Or should those who chose to be parents accept the fact that bringing the kids on vacation just comes with the territory?

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