This is one thing that Mike and I never regret. Granted we never regret any time we travel. But even more so is travelling together, and creating amazing memories when we are on the brink of bringing a new life into this world.
So to be clear, a babymoon is essentially a special vacation you take with you spouse, usually while pregnant, or just before you intend falling pregnant. (In other words , it’s much like a honeymoon, except this is that special time together before your step into the incredible and deep waters of parenthood. Or deeper in the waters, in the case of more children.)
Sure, some might argue that you’re whole life together so far has been one big babymoon already – what’s so special about this trip. BUT, nothing brings on focus and clarity quite like being on the cusp of a new reality – of a whole new life. Babies have a profound effect on one, no matter which way you slice it, and sometimes – wait, no…whom I kidding, it’s always a trying time. Some may even argue that babymoons may be a waste of money. But I say, if you’re in the position to do it, then do it, for we have found that it really was a real investment for us. And in us.
And here’s why I think you should totally invest in each other as well, and should just book that babymoon:
1. Because, right now, you CAN!
Sure you can travel with kids – we do.We’ve done so when they were babies and as toddlers. Yes, Paris, Phuket and Kyoto are going nowhere and will still be ripe for the picking even when the kids are there. BUT trust me, travelling with kids is different. The whole dynamic is different. The considerations, the timing, the spontenaity- it’s all different.
Your life as you know it is about to radically change. Yes, you do so willingly. Lovingly. But trust me, you won’t know how different until the day that kid is in your arms. Or even that second kid ( because just so you’re clear, having the second is not merely just doubling the impact and effort of one kid, it’s a complex extrapolation on that.) And Im suspecting the third as well.
The freedom of choices you have available to you now; Doing things on a whim; Spontaneously catching a plane tomorrow is no longer a fun option. Or how about changing plans midway of your travels – just landed in Fort Lauderdale, but heard there’s a party up in West Palm Beach? Cann this hotel and roadtrip up and find a place to crash when we’re there! Not something you’d do very likely when you have kids…But before then,it’s fair game!
Don’t worry, having kids is not a death sentence to all your life’s fun, it’s just different, and lots of fun in and of itself. But it is different. So take conscious advantage of your freedoms now.
2. Time-out for moms and dads
Before you’re knee deep in nappies, and then later, blue in the face from counting till three and sending your kids to timeout, send yourselves into one. Into a nice glorious time-out out of town, or even up the Amalfi coast. Because, let’s face it, nothing beats escaping the daily grind. Also you’re going to need to be at your best for the upcoming life changing event. So escape all the energy draining bits of life for a moment to relax and indulge yourselves. Time away with relaxation and filling up your energy stores is the best thing for both of you. And is undoubtedly good for both body and mind. The upcoming journey can hold many twists and turns, so it’s no brainer that it’s better handled when one is mentally and physically in a good place. And what better than a fun little getaway to give you that boost!
3. Rest up
Speaking of which, you’re going to be need to be rested. Don’t fool yourself: this parenting gig is an exhausting one – it’s amazing and a true honour, yes, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to feel like death warmed up a lot of the time. Especially for those first three months. That zombie shuffle you do for your pyjama drill tenure, can be killer! So rest up! Many people tend to get their best sleep whilst on vacay and feel ready to take on the world on their return, so why not?
4. Uninterrupted quality time with your spouse/partner
Let it be known that eventually having an uninterrupted conversation with your spouse will become one the highest craved for experiences in your life, once kiddies are around nattering away. Yes, I relish being allowed into their little minds through the non-stop conversations they have and often impose on us at all times. And I also love that our home echoes with laughter and the loud & crazy imaginative play of our kids, but when I need to have a decent chat with my man, it can really become a battle of volume or who is able to focus the best through the thickness of the din. So much so, we sometimes just give up and end up waiting till later, just whispering in our bed while we’re waiting for the kids to fall asleep in their bedrooms. Not really idealistic conditions for heart to hearts.
Granted its not like that all the time, and we are teaching the kids about boundaries and respecting and sharing space with others, but still, know that it’s not about your parenting skills. That’s just a reality. Also your time is much less as a parent, so those special moments together become precious moments you’ll need to carve into life. So take this time now to truly connect with your partner.
Having that child changes the dynamic drastically, and that newborn baby will take center stage from the very moment baby comes earth side. And often, if you’re not prepared, it can put strain on a couple. So use this time to prepare together, and invest time in each other.
5. One last thrill of adventure before baby comes..and provide fuel for the ride ahead.
On babymoon you’ll get to share in so many new experiences. All the new tastes, sounds, smells, traditions, ways of cooking, etc. And I don’t know about you, but travelling leaves me with a buzz. With a new craving for more discovery. And it is often that feeling that fuels me through the mundane but necessary parts of life and propels me to further see my whole life as one big adventure. Similarly, I feel, this babymoon can do that for you as a couple…especially when things may start to feel routine and stuck, then those memories, those last thrills can act as embers inside you to keep you feeling alive and fun. Even though those sometimes rough times in the early weeks with baby are seriously just a small part of an amazing journey for you as a family, its great to have amazing memories to fall back on.
6. Intentional time taken to reflect on the journey ahead
Have the two of you spoken about how you’re going to handle diaper changes? Co-sleeping? Splitting or handling of parental duties? What type of parent you each wish to be? How you will nurture your marriage whilst still nurturing this new relationship with your child? How will you handle possible family unwanted over-invovlement, should it ever arise? Or how about breastfeeding and the kind of support you as the mom may need? These are all very poignant questions, and need to be discussed. And often in life, things get busy. Manic even – with just everyday life things. And before you know it, baby is here and none of it was ever discussed. Taking that babymoon however provides you both with time to intentionally and consciously address all these kinds of matters. And taking the time to discuss it, is a great start towards being an intentional and conscious parent.
(You don’t need to go away to do this- you can merely make time for it. However babymoons provide that carved out time which is especially helpful for people who tend to lead extremely busy lives)
7. Keeping those home fires burning…as in lots of sex
I’m not even going to sugar coat this. Your sex life may or may not take a knock with baby – especially in those first three months postpartum. But taking that babymoon is the perfect time to …errmm…stock up on all those morantic and loving times that may become the last thing on your mind when baby makes her debut. Granted it may not always be the case for you and your spouse. Not everyone hits a drought. Case in point: Mike and I didn’t really take a knock in those early weeks and months but when it eventually did months later, it was not something that impacted our relationship in any way. Either way, neither of you will regret it 😉
Now what’s key to understand is that these babymoons don’t have to be some far off place – local is lekker too. Mike and I have chosen Europe, Mauritius and Mexico for our respective babymoon destinations so far, but have also had small ones in between while I was preggers, like Hermanus and the like. All of which were superb. The point is to getaway and do the unusual. Create those memories, carve out special time for each other. I would recommend that you don’t go to your usual spot. Unless of course, that’s what you really want to do. Or able to do. Whatever floats your babymoon boat, but just do it.
Also it doesn’t have to be kid free – although that is the most popular setting for a babymoon. That way you two can truly focus on each other. But if the kids are with, then you can certainly find a way around it, depending on the city and country you’re in.
Our first babymoon was just us, free to roam the cobble stone streets of Paris, get caught in the rain and kiss till our clothes were soaked (without having to worry about little babies getting the sniffles), or kiss at the edge of the Trevi in Rome at 2am in the morning because we could sleep in if we wanted to, or walk the streets of Venice and savour their markets all we wanted to because there were no kids to get bored of it.
Our second babymoon with a one year old was fantastic as well, even though we made sure naptime was never missed. But we snorkelled, hiked through ungroomed jungle, road tripped across the island and swam with dolphins – all of it. Mauritius has amazing babysitting services, so there was plenty of time for Mike and I to reflect on our lives to come, how good it is now, and how much better it’s going to get.
Our third and most recent babymoon was planned without the kids. They were to stay in the States while we headed out to Mexico, but as things played out, we ended up taking them with us. And we don’t regret it. We love exposing our kids to the world, and watching their fascination with all the new discoveries. And I certainly enjoy seeing just how much that travel bug has bitten my eldest. (already planning her own adventures on her little world map) Sure, it wasn’t quite what we first had planned, but we made the time, and carved out time there to try and tick off all seven of the reasons listed above here.
The point is don’t just throw in the proverbial towel if your circumstances mean you can’t be kid free or if you’re not jetting off somewhere exotic. Whilst all of that is really nice, it’s not the be all to end all of baby moons. What counts is the intentional act of choosing to do this with each other, and making a conscious effort when doing it and being mindful of why you’re doing this.
Either way, moms and dads who are family planning, or already with child, I hope you do it. You wont regret it. Promise.
As for the rest, how about you? Have you gone on a babymoon? Where’d you go?