Confession time: Last week, I spent a few sunny, enjoyable days at Disney World. All by myself.
That’s right. Even though my kids have never been to Disney, and have begged me practically since birth to take them to the magical land of Mickey Mouse, I left them at home while I attended a three-day conference.
Now before you proclaim me the World’s Meanest Mom, let’s back up. A few months back, I was invited to speak about Pinterest as a content marketing platform at the Niche Parent blogging conference. I knew the speaking gig would be a great opportunity to promote my company, and meanwhile I could also meet with and learn from lots of bloggers and experts throughout the event.
Niche Parent purposely organized the conference to be family-friendly (kudos to Nadia Jones for that!), choosing Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando as the location. Before I booked my flight and hotel reservations, I thought long and hard about whether to bring my children and husband along for the ride.
Here’s what the pro/con list looked like in my head:
- They’d get to go to Disney World!
- I could expense my flight and our hotel (for two nights, anyway).
- I could have the proverbial “best of both worlds”—gittin’ ‘er done and galavanting with the kiddos.
- The conference was family-friendly, so childcare and family activities were included.
- My husband would be stuck with the kids by himself a lot of the time (which I knew he would not be crazy about).
- We’d still have to pay for three plane tickets, plus extra hotel room nights (if we stayed more than two), and of course park tickets.
- I’d be pulled in two directions the whole time, debating whether to attend sessions and network with other attendees or hang out with my family.
- The whole thing would just be a big ol’ pain in the butt.
I half-considered bringing only my 8-year-old daughter along, which would significantly reduce the cost and she’d be a lot easier to deal with. But the thought of how unfair that was to my 5-year-old son—I just couldn’t take the guilt.
So, all guilt aside, I decided to leave the family at home and go to the conference alone. I told the kids that I was going “to Florida for work” (no need to mention Disney) and headed off for a focused conference experience.
How it turned out
I ended up having a pretty nice time, actually. My presentation (along with two other lovely ladies, Kim Vij and Amanda Boyarshinov of The Educators’ Spin on It—a fabulous parenting resource, by the way) went well. I hung out with some amazing people, including some working-mom bloggers I’ve admired for a while now but never met in person.
We even got VIP access to see Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando, which was not only highly entertaining, but also the most popularized form of contemporary performance art I’ve ever seen. Bully for the Blue Men!
There were moments of awkwardness and twinges of guilt, for sure. Like when I rode the Disney bus with a bunch of families and was asked “Where’s your family?” and “Are you here alone?” I loved seeing the cute lil’ guys in their Halloween costumes at the conference, chilling with their moms and dads, but I also thought of my own sweeties and how much they’d enjoy Disney.
In the end, I decided we would plan a separate family trip to Disney. I knew it would be expensive, but I also wanted us to have the full Disney “experience”—with my kids at great ages to soak up all the magic and delight, and Hubs and I as partners planning our vacation how we wanted it.
Soon, I’ll share how we planned our trip to Disney. And of course, I’ll follow up with a recap of how it all went, with tips, pics and anything I think working moms might find helpful.
7 thoughts on “That Time I Went to Disney World (and Didn’t Bring My Kids)”
Susan it was a treat to get to meet you in person and be able to present with you about Pinterest. As you know we were there too without our kiddos and even for me on my birthday. There are sacrifices we make to better our careers at times and this was definitely one of those times for me. No worries though we have a trip planned for December with our kiddos to Disney with my ticket from the conference where I will have time to be a full time mommy to my family. Hope we are able to present again an future conferences, you were a rockstar with your content!
I completely understand and support your decision! I made the same choice recently for a work trip to DC. Too hard to be pulled in two directions.
I think you made the right choice… now you can really enjoy the time with your family. You probably would have missed out on some of the fun while you were attending conference related things. 🙂
I love this Susan! And let me tell you I can relate to it all! lol You were definitely not the only mommy there enjoying the conference without their family. We, too will be planning a separate trip, focused only on family to Disney and can’t wait! I’m so sad we didn’t get a pic together but I’m super happy to have finally met you in person.