It takes months to prepare to leave home for a week, and only a week to actually be gone… but in this case, it’s totally worth it. I can hardly believe that I’m writing this, but I leave for London and Paris with my sisters-in-law tomorrow!
I am a jumbled ball of emotions right now. I feel guilty for leaving my family. I feel a little bit nervous to be in another country where I won’t know the language. I feel grateful to my husband, Evan, for encouraging me to go, and to other family members and friends who are helping hold things together while I’m gone. I feel stressed as the months of planning are coming to an end and I still have so much to do. But most of all, I am excited. This is my first trip to Europe, and I am craving the time I’ll have to be with my best buddies and enjoy a break from my mom duties.
Although it will be my first time visiting these particular countries, I actually have a fair amount of experience planning for time away at this point — despite it requiring some extra prep work for others to help with our middle daughter Kaitlyn’s type 1 diabetes. Here are a few tips I’ve learned to make getting away a little bit easier.
Write up the kids’ schedule.
This might seem like an obvious one, but be sure to include even the most insignificant details. Evan is really familiar with our routine, but sometimes I forget that, as a stay-at-home mom, I’m asking him to take over my full-time job. It’s a huge task to take care of a house full of five kids, and even though it’s normal for me, it’s a big adjustment to his routine. He likes me to write out a detailed schedule for each day, with exact times of where they need to be, things they need to remember to bring to school, and their routines for getting ready in the morning and going to bed at night. I even include meal prep ideas and reminders for medicines and site changes.
Run all of my usual errands ahead of time.
Whenever I leave, I make sure that most of the errands are done. I do a huge supermarket run to make sure there’s enough food in the house — especially some easily prepped dinner food and quick grab-and-go lunch items. I also fill the car with gas, and I check to make sure all the prescriptions are filled and the insulin pump supplies are ordered. The last thing Evan will want to deal with is a diabetes supply shortage (but he’s awesome, he’d figure it out).
Cancel as many appointments as possible.
During the times I’m gone, I try to leave the calendar as free as I can. There are some things that can’t be skipped, but for those things that can wait, I reschedule them for when I return. Doctor appointments and playdates are put on hold. I even cancel piano lessons and house cleaning, and I let the kids miss sports practices. Sometimes we let the teachers know that the kids will be out of their normal routine and might need some flexibility in getting homework assignments done. It might sound like quite a sacrifice for the kids to miss all their normal stuff, but it’s actually a welcome break for them to relax a bit at home for a change.
Hold a family pep talk.
Evan and I have found it valuable to sit the kids down and have a family discussion to prepare them for the upcoming week. It’s a lot of pressure on Dad to take over the family responsibilities as well as continue his normal responsibilities at work, and the kids need to know how important it is to do their part to make the week go smoothly. We talk about being responsible with their homework and chores and helping out willingly and happily when asked. We talk to Kaitlyn about being on top of her blood sugar numbers and to check and dose frequently. Of course, it doesn’t work perfectly, and they need lots of reminders, but they seem to step up a bit when we’ve given them a pep talk.
Well, wish me luck… and even more luck to my husband and family while I’m away! It’s mama getaway time!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.