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How to Take a Weekend Away Without the Guilt

Last weekend I rolled two kids deep by myself and not surprisingly, I’m exhausted. While it was tiring, I had so much fun and it was a huge learning experience. So how did I end up with two kids in tow? About a month ago, my girlfriend texted me to ask if I’d be willing to watch her son for three days while she and her husband went to Atlanta for a wedding. They had initially planned for a family member to watch him, but it fell through and they were in a bind. I could feel her hesitation and guilt as she text messaged me to say I was the only other person she trusted to watch her son. And you know what, I get it. Leaving your kid is never easy, let alone for three days, and it’s a big favor to ask of someone who has a child of their own (it’s even big to ask of someone who doesn’t have kids!). No matter what, it’s a lot to take on. Naturally, because I love them both, I said of course I’d do it!

Zelda and Luca head to the Swissotel in Chicago.

At the time, Spiro and I thought it would be awesome to watch two kids. We wanted to see what it would be like to test the waters a little. As life would have it, a few days later Spiro found out that he had to travel internationally for work. He was leaving me alone in Chicago, outnumbered two to one. Luckily, I had about a month to plan my three-day adventure with two toddlers. I knew I had to make a solid schedule of activities to keep them both entertained so I decided to make a staycation out of our weekend together. The weekend came and we immediately checked into the Swissotel Kid’s Suite. (If you follow me on social media you might have seen it. If not, don’t worry I’m going to make a full post about our experience soon!)

Welcome to The Land of Nod Kids Suite at the Swissotel.

When all was said and done, it was the cutest weekend ever! We went to the park, ate frozen yogurt and hit the pool. It was a blast! Obviously, there’s a lot of in between time there, like trying to keep two littles on the sidewalk and convincing them both to eat and nap at the same time. Then there was the 5:30am joint wakeup call because they both thought it was hilarious. I guess that’s just part of having children! As sleep deprived as it might make me, I try to enjoy each of those moments because I know they won’t be around forever. 

Two toddlers hanging out in the lobby at the Swissotel.

It was during this crazy weekend that I had a grand revelation. When my girlfriend and her husband came to get their son, she kept saying “thank you” repeatedly and reiterating how grateful they were. I knew they were thankful because I would be too! I didn’t like that she seemed to feel guilty for leaving, it’s total bullshit that she should have to feel that way. True friends should be supportive of each other as parents. She shouldn’t feel guilty (and neither should anyone else) because that’s what friends are for.

Two toddlers playing in the park near the Swissotel in Chicago.

That’s when I had the idea that parents should come up with a system. You find another friend that you trust to care for your child, just as you would a family member, and then you make a travel pact! Simply agree on a time (I’m thinking two weekends a year), and on your two weekends your friend watches your babe, and on their two weekends you watch theirs. It gives you two long weekends (or longer if you choose) to do whatever you want.

That way, when a wedding rolls around (or when a weekend presents itself), you aren’t scurrying around trying to figure out who can watch your kid. It takes the guesswork out of trying to budget how to afford for someone to take care of them for four straight days. That person is already there for you, and maybe it’s not the person that always watches your kid (they deserve a break). It could be a way of building a stronger friendship with someone you already value. That’s my priceless idea and little does my girlfriend know that she has signed up for life (she started it!). I can’t wait to take my weekend away with Spiro next!

Eating at Yogurtland in Chicago near the Swissotel.

Another lesson I learned was that having a boy is much, much different than having a girl. I always hear moms of boys talk about what it’s like and I would think to myself, “How much different can it be?!” Let me tell you, it’s completely different! My most valuable takeaways from the weekend were that boys like to growl and grunt rather than speak, they sometimes think they are animals (my friend’s son thinks he is a dinosaur) and when boys are potty training they are kind of lazy.

I was battling a dinosaur posture all weekend and every time I looked at him he was hunched over insisting that he was a T-REX. Also, if you’re about to encounter potty training with your boy you might get asked to hold their pee-pee. This was a first for me and as you can imagine, it was shocking, confusing and prompted a few Google searches. I quickly came up the wonderful solution to introduce the candy monster, who left him sweet treats if he went to the bathroom on his own.

Two toddlers in white bathrobes going to the spa at the Swissotel.

The next time your girlfriend tells you that having a boy is different don’t question it, it is 100% different! My weekend with two toddlers was an adventure and I loved the experience. I challenge you to go and find that trusted person in your life and come up with a travel pact so you can both get out and have some fun!

Toddlers sleeping at the Swissotel.Leaving the Swissotel with two toddlers.

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