Attempting to Handle Disappointment When Plans Change as a Parent

This weekend I was supposed to be on a romantic getaway with my husband in the San Juan Islands of Washington. We would eat, sleep, tour the island on mopeds, and say hello to a few whales. We would reconnect in a way we haven’t been able to do for more than a few hours since our sons were born. That all changed when I heard “Mommy!” just hours before we were supposed to leave. My oldest son Dek had thrown up. He was covered in it and so was his bed. Now normally this is not a great a way to wake up in the morning. Who among us really likes dealing with puke? Before a trip is even worse. My euphoria for our trip began to sink.


Confessions of a bad mother

A good mom would cancel everything immediately, comfort her son, and not make her friend even think about coming over to deal with such a mess. I am not a great mom. I’ve never claimed to be. Apparently I’m not a good friend either. I called my friend Beth, told her the situation, and gave her the choice. I could cancel, she could watch the boys for the night anyway and we would just cut our plans short and head home the next morning, or I could turn this into a girls getaway with her. Being the much better friend she opted to stay with the kids anyway and let us leave. So we did.

Now before you get up in arms about my bad parenting, I knew what was wrong with Dek. A stomach bug had been making its way around town and every kid ran the usual course with it. He wasn’t feverish or particularly lethargic. He was happy playing, watching movies, and hang out. If things turned for the worse I knew we could be home relatively quickly. Mike and I hopped in the car with our bags and were on our way to catch a ferry with very little hesitation.


It’s all downhill from here

Half way through our drive Mike turned to me and said, “I think I need to pull over.” I looked at him. He was white as a sheet. This was not good. A powerful wave of nausea had hit him. It passed, but we both knew this could just be the beginning. I made the call. We were going home.

To say that I was disappointed would be putting it mildly. The logical side of me knew this was the right choice. If Mike got sick our romantic getaway would consist of him hanging out in a bathroom for 24 hours. Not exactly either of our idea of a good time. If I got sick it would be double the porcelain fun. On the inside I was sobbing though. We needed this break. I needed this time to reconnect with my husband, who had been working late hours for more than 3 months. I needed to have him all to myself, without interruption, without 5am wake ups, and without needing to take care of anyone for 24 hours. I wasn’t going to get that time, and honestly I don’t know when we will be able to reschedule.

In order to make myself feel better I threw myself into booking our summer tickets when we got home. I even played with the idea of flying to Spain next week with my frequent flier miles to visit a friend. My immediate reaction to my cancelled travel plans was to make more travel plans. Surely that would make up for my lost weekend? If not, at least I knew I was going somewhere again soon, even if it wasn’t alone with my hubby.

Hanging in the yard with the boys. Tasting a few rocks.
Hanging in the yard with the boys. Tasting a few rocks.

Lesson somewhere in all of this

At the end of the day I’m glad we all stayed home. Dek was comforted by the fact that his parents were around. We were able to keep solid foods away from him and then dole them out slowly to make sure he kept everything down. Mike was able to crash in bed for a few hours when we got home. He did not end up hugging the toilet all night, but food was not a big favorite in our house for a while. Mercifully Ty has stayed healthy through the weekend.

The lesson in all of this (I guess) is that plans change. We’ve got kids, that’s just life. This doesn’t mean that I can’t be sad when my one couple’s getaway in over 4 years gets cancelled. I can mourn, I can get a little angry, but in the end, this is life, and that’s OK. We’ll have more adventures; we will have more disappointments. I’ll just keep rolling with the punches, complain a bit about it, and make plans for our next trip. I guess this is a good time to get creative with my Perfect Date Night in list.

How do you handle disappointment when your plans get derailed?

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6 thoughts on “Attempting to Handle Disappointment When Plans Change as a Parent”

  1. I know that disappointed feeling very well, and usually make myself feel better by making new plans. Sometimes the disappointment continues but eventually a plan works out… Or something spontaneous happens making everything better.

  2. Oh, Keryn! I am sorry to hear that you couldn’t go on your trip. I had a similar experience in that I was standing at the boarding gate about twenty minutes after my friend dropped me off at the airport only to get a phone call from her saying that my daughter just puked all over her car. Like the amazing friend that she is, she forced me on the plane and I was able to complete a house hunting trip while my daughter got through a quick bug. I hope that you are able to reschedule your getaway with your husband soon!

  3. What a huge bummer! So sorry about your poor boys & poor you…I can feel your disappointment. And know that I’m thinking I’d do exactly the same thing–still try to pull it off. Just happened to us on a much smaller scale when my mom was here visiting…Slaed and I were just walking to the restaurant for a night out when she called to say Bergen had thrown up his entire dinner. I figured she’d be fine with him, but Slaed had to talk some “sense” into me. 🙂 That was the end of date night.

  4. I was just catching up on your blog b/c I wondered how your weekend away went – oh how sad for you guys, but good that you turned around. I think the worst thing about travel is when you get sick away from home. Something about the comforts of our own home make it slightly less difficult! Hope you didn’t get the bug!

  5. The Educational Tourist

    Oh, what terrible timing! I think we have all been there and it is totally normal to be sad that things didn’t work out the way that you planned!!

    What a great post. Now everyone knows they aren’t alone!
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

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