Something most couples are consider while planning their dream weddings is another exciting event on the horizon: the dream honeymoon! It is extremely common for the newlyweds to get away for a romantic rendezvous together after they tie the knot, but what if you or your future spouse has children? That seems to add some complication to the mix. Do you bring the child(ren) on the honeymoon with you? Should you?
A lot of people who are blending families, especially if both partners are entering the marriage with children from a previous relationship, wonder if they should bring the kids along for the honeymoon and turn it into a family affair. It’s often viewed as a great way to kick off the bonding as a newly formed family unit, as well as a way to potentially temper any negative emotions the children may be feeling during what can be a complicated and confusing time for them. Some parents also feel pressure during this time to include the children on the trip because they don’t want to make the kids stay elsewhere for the duration of the honeymoon and further change their lives and routines at a time when their family unit is already changing in a major way.
Quite a few families choose to forego a traditional honeymoon and replace it with a family vacation instead. Some do have a positive experience with this, and only you can know exactly what is right for your family, so if you’re feeling like this would be a good fit for you, and all parties are on board, then go for it!
However, most stepfamily experts would recommend a newly married husband and wife do not bring their children on their honeymoon. Bringing kids on a trip that is traditionally meant to build and establish a romantic bond for the couple has a huge potential to build up resentment in one or both partners, which is a dangerous thing for any marriage, but especially a second or third marriage, which often include much more complicated family dynamics. If one partner’s expectation for a honeymoon is quality alone time and intimacy with his or her new spouse, and instead is instantly thrown into a parental role — making lunches, listening to Disney songs, and breaking up fights during vacation — the marriage is immediately starting off on the wrong foot, causing resentment toward the other partner or even toward the child(ren).
Every parent knows that there will be times when the health and happiness of the children must come first, and that’s absolutely an important thing to establish in any relationship where there are kids in the mix, but in the case of a honeymoon, it is not a necessity that the children be included. Kids understand that adults need time to themselves, particularly around a wedding, and they certainly have the ability to understand and accept the idea of a honeymoon. Of course, the children may want to be invited and included (“Time at the beach AND the pool?! Count me in!”), but it is essential that the couple is allowed to cement a bond as a team, both for the adults and the children in the family. Putting the children’s’ wants over the well-being of the couple is not a good way to find yourself in wedded bliss! Establishing to the kids and to each other that your relationship has massive importance and priority is crucial to the health of your marriage and future as a family.
Of course, many parents and their partners alike feel guilt about leaving the children alone while they take some time to be together, but remember that it’s healthy for children to spend time with other trusted adults. Spending a week at Grandma’s will be good for them, and the truth is, they’re probably going to have such a blast getting spoiled that they’ll be a little bummed when you come home.
A great idea, if you’re still feeling unsure or guilty about the choice to take a separate honeymoon, is to schedule a family vacation together sometime after the wedding, once the planning chaos has died down, the family has had some time to get to know each other a bit, and the marriage has been able to get a steady start. It will be fun for everyone to have something to look forward to, and you can involve the kids in the planning of a vacation where they can be more of the focus. Plus. it will allow you to establish boundaries for your new family from the very first day.
Stepfamily life is all about compromise. Figure out a way to get the kids excited for a future family adventure, then pack your bags, send the little ones to Grandma’s, and go on a nice, romantic honeymoon! You and your new spouse deserve it!