Once the wedding is over, the next potential minefield is the honeymoon. Once again, planning a honeymoon with kids is different than planning a romantic getaway when you’re childless.
Should you take the kids with you on your honeymoon?
To take the kids or not take the kids? There are potential landmines in each direction. On one hand, many newlyweds who choose a ‘family-friendly’ honeymoon have come to regret it. As one parent states, “We took our kids on the honeymoon with us. I thought it would help the family bond sooner. What it did was create a lot of tension from the very beginning. If my wife and I had to do it over, we’d take a week by ourselves to catch our breath before reentry.” (Shimberg, 1999, p. 6) “Should you take the kids on your honeymoon?” ask Artlip, Artlip & Saltzman. “Many of our respondents did. Many of them also had nightmarish honeymoons.” (1993, p. 57)
It’s easy to understand why couples would want to get away for a week or two without the kids and embark on a honeymoon. This alone time can also be important for couples to strengthen the marriage. On the other hand, this often irks the children and causes an estrangement from the very beginning of your marriage. If the situation is somewhat tenuous, as it often is, then abandoning the kids to relatives for a week or two may be the worst way to start your new family. While you’re vacationing in the Bahamas, the kids may well be sitting at home angry and miserable, missing their parent and thinking up sinister ways to punish you for this perceived insult.
The best way to avoid this conundrum is simply to plan your honeymoon during a time when you’re without the kids, if you’re lucky enough to have such times. The kids may still be jealous of the trip you’re taking without them, but at least you’re not disrupting their life to do so. If you don’t have this luxury, however, it’s probably best to find a compromise between the two.
Creative ways to honeymoon with kids
There are many ways to create a hybrid honeymoon that accommodates both you and the kids. One that works especially well is to go on a family oriented cruise that everyone can enjoy. Large, family-oriented cruise ships are set up so that you can basically abandon the children to wander around and do their own thing. The crew is trained to act like caretakers, and the ship is designed to look after everyone and keep them entertained.
Do a couple of family things together during the day, so that you can indeed all bond together. Then make some alone time for yourselves and spend romantic evenings together. You can even rent a separate room for the kids if you want further privacy; they certainly won’t argue against having their own room. This idea is probably the best approach. The kids will be having so much fun they won’t even realize you’re not there, and the two of you can have plenty of time alone.
Another technique is to invite along a couple friends or family members, and this can work no matter what type of getaway you have planned. It should be someone the kids are familiar with and someone they like. This way you can alternate between family time and personal time, with your helper taking the kids while you’re out romancing. Granted, this may not be the most economically feasible arrangement, but if you can afford to pay the way for grandma or some other helper to tag along (or get them to pay their own way), it will give you someone who can handle all the little things that come up while the two of you focus on yourselves.