Sure, the Internet can be a pretty judgmental place, but this mom blogger’s screed against hotel kids’ clubs takes it to a whole new level. Writing under the pseudonym Laine White, she confesses: Yes, I Judge Parents Who Dump Kids At Hotel 'Kids Clubs' During Family Vacations.
I burst out laughing when I stumbled across the piece. You see, I plan to “dump” my son at a kids’ club when we go on a family vacation in October. In fact, I’m currently putting him through potty training boot camp because the hotel's kids' club requires its little campers to go diaper-free. Mission: Accepted.
“Who goes on a family vacation and leaves their kids for hours and hours with complete strangers?” She asks. Me, me meeeee! I happily plead guilty. In fact, I plan to do it next weekend when we go to a friend’s wedding in another city. But according to Laine, this makes me “suck” as a mother. Because apparently she watched in horror, grasping her son tightly, as children frolicked in a kids’ club on her last Caribbean vacation.
“I wondered what their parents were doing: A quiet lunch? Massage? Parasailing? Afternoon delight? Getting drunk? Whatever they were doing, I decided they sucked immediately,” she muses.
To answer her question: All of the above. That’s what my husband and I plan to do while my son is tucked away, happily playing with other kids in the club. That’s because, while I’m a working mother like Laine and I deeply value every second with my son, I also know it's important to nurture my marriage and my mental health, too.
And isn’t that the point of a vacation, to rest, relax and recharge the batteries? And, if you’re traveling with your partner, to rekindle old flames?
Hey, I get it. For working moms, vacations are a rare opportunity to spend hours of unstructured time with our kiddos. And I plan to do just that. I can’t wait to play in the pool and build sand castles and all of the other activities she describes enjoying with her son. Just not every. Single. Second.
That’s why this is where Laine lost me:
I have trust issues and will not leave my son with strangers in a different country near large bodies of water. But I don't even count that as a trust issue. I see it as completely normal to spend family vacation with... my family. Also, what if my son wandered off and no one noticed? What if a stranger eyeballed him as a soft target and snatched him—child trafficked him to a land far away like in the movie Taken and Taken 2 and Taken 3!?
I realize these are extreme what-ifs, but I own them. I also own the fact that as a mother, I act unselfishly when it comes to my son. I've been on one solo vacation since becoming a mom and left my son with trusted family at home. When I'm not with him, sure I let my hair down and drink and flirt with men, but when we're together, I want him to know it's all about him.
So yes, a day at the resort's luxe spa sounds amazing. An adult wine tasting, even better. The opportunity to curl up in bed for a nap, glorious. But my son has his fair share of sitters when I have work events or can't drive him to baseball practice because I'm stuck at the office. To leave him in a hotel kids' club on an island so beautiful it could have been a dream, is incredulous and absurd to me.
Here’s what I’d like to tell you, Laine: You’re letting your working mom guilt get in the way of your own happiness, and that’s a shame. Just because your son spends time with a “fair share of sitters” doesn’t mean you have to spend every second of your spare time with him. I bet your son wants you to be happy, and I bet he wouldn’t mind a bit if you booked a pedicure or two while on vacation.
And if being with your son 24/7 gives you far greater satisfaction than a pedicure ever could, that’s great. Enjoy it! But there are plenty of moms out there who desperately need a few quiet moments in the spa or a quiet candlelit dinner with their partner. Or just a damn nap. And I do mean need—those rare moments of rest are what enable them to be a better wife and mother. Surely you understand that we all recharge our batteries in different ways?
So Laine, I’d like to encourage you to be a little kinder to your fellow moms, and a little kinder to yourself. Here’s one thing I know about all moms, everywhere: We’ve earned a little R&R.