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How Often Do You Vacation Without Your Kids?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

It finally happened. We took a vacation! A real honest-to-goodness vacation. As I'm typing this from the plush bed at the Encore Hotel at the Wynn in Las Vegas, it's Sunday night and I'm still in the middle of my relaxing weekend getaway with my husband, and our cousins, Jordy and Ally. Preston's been staying with my parents since Friday (we get home very late on Monday night so we won't see him till Tuesday). Jay and I haven't taken a vacation together since last May so I didn't feel a twinge of guilt about going on this trip without Preston. (Incidentally, we haven't even been on a family vacation either since February of 2010 -- remember, we had to cancel our Miami trip with Preston last month because Jay hurt his back?) Vacations are not only a luxury; I believe they're a necessity, now that I've taken one. That is, if you want to keep your sanity (and marriage) in tact...

We're big Vegas people, Jay and I -- this is where we went on our "babymoon" in 2009. (See pics and read about it here.) For one, it's a relatively easy weekend getaway (about a four-hour flight from Chicago); and two, it has something for everyone: great shopping, beautiful hotels and spas, amazing dining, nightlife, entertainment, gambling, and great weather. 

Obviously it's March Madness -- so Jay and Jordy have been keeping busy watching games and gambling all weekend (if it's possible, Jordy is as big of a sports nut as Jay), while Ally and I have been keeping busy talking, shopping, talking, pampering, and talking some more. Did I mention the Encore spa is the most magnificent place on earth? Bottom line: We're all getting to do what we want. We also saw Ray Romano's stand-up show on Saturday night, but apparently I was too tired to keep my eyes open for a 10 o'clock show (I was that person in the audience with her head bobbing). Every time I opened my eyes, I had just missed the punchline of a joke. I caught a few of them though -- and he was hilarious, especially with the references to his kids. Highly recommend seeing him if you can...

Another thing I love about Vegas is the food. World-renowned chefs have opened restaurants here, and I've probably eaten at a quarter of them (I've been coming to Vegas every year since I turned 25). On this particular trip, we've been to Strip Burger (an especially delicious burger joint); El Segundo, a casual and amazing Mexican cantina; Strip Steak at the Mandalay Bay; and Serendipity across from Caesar's. Yes, the same Serendipity from New York (none of us had ever been, it was great). And Sunday night we finally got a chance to check out the new Cosmopolitan Hotel -- yes, The Cosmo Mom hung out at The Cosmopolitan, har, har, har. The hotel is literally swathed in sparkling chandeliers, it's so chic. We dined at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, and ordered like kings (the wasabi fried chicken was the best fried chicken any of us had ever had -- at a sushi restaurant!). We've pretty much eaten our way through Vegas on this trip. Again, no guilt whatsoever.

Though I've definitely indulged a little on this trip (in a few minutes I'm headed back to the pool to sip cocktails until we leave, guilt-free) -- I feel very deserving of a vacation like this. (Full disclosure: Our cousin Jordy won this trip through work, so everything from the flight to the hotel was paid for, including some spending money. I know, I'm in the wrong field too. Thank you, Jordy and Ally!

I've had some rough weeks and months lately, and been working like a dog -- sometimes it's nice to take a break from your life and give yourself a big pat on the back for simply surviving. It's given Jay and me a chance to reconnect, too, away from the daily grind of our crazy schedules. But I do miss Preston a whole helluva lot. Every time I see a couple with their kids here, I wonder if we should've brought him with us on this trip (then I promptly overrule that thought). Frankly, we both needed this break. And when we come home, we'll be recharged and refreshed and, ultimately, that will be better for all us, especially Preston. Plus, he's getting to spend quality time with his grandparents, and my brother and sister-in-law and their three awesome kids, Preston's darling cousins who love him to death.

My mom said he's been a perfect angel while we've been here, which only makes me miss him more. I can't wait to see him on Tuesday morning, but we've been deliberately not checking in an overly obsessive amount, to let ourselves really vacate. I wanted to Skype with him, but I realized that could turn out to be a bad idea (what if he wanted a hug?).

How often do you go away without your kids? Do you make it a priority to go out of town with just your spouse once a year -- or is it not a priority for you? And when you do go away, how often do you check in? In my ideal world, we'd take one vacation a year with the kids, and one without.