Can ex’s successfully have joint vacations?

My kids were on holiday with my ex for a few weeks, missing me (as they reported via email, text message and phone call) but enjoying their time with their mom. “Why can’t you be here too, Daddy?” was the constant refrain. Then when they’re with me on trips, it’s clear they miss their Mom too…

A few years ago, when we were separated but not yet divorced (though divorce was clearly the path towards which we were heading) we tried a joint holiday in Hawaii, where Linda rented a condo through Hilton’s timeshare program and I rented a townhouse essentially across the street through the vacation rentals by owner site It really was walking distance between the two places, both had beautiful grounds, cool swimming pools and were both in a pretty area of the Kona coast of the Big Island. We also had separate rental cars, of course.

We were there for three weeks, and basically kept our regular parenting schedule there, which also allowed me to co-host a social media event (the Aloha Summit) with my friend and colleague Andy Beal during the days when I didn’t have my kids anyway…

The end result was that my kids still talk about how fun it was, I had a nice time, but Linda referred to it as “the worst vacation she’d ever had”. There were mitigating factors, of course, including the newness of our separation and the difficulty the kids were having at the time settling into the new two-household world.

Still, I can’t help wonder, as I plan another trip with my kids for later this month and wish I could have even a tiny bit of time to myself, whether it’s not possible to plan and execute a two-household, dual-parent holiday, so that each parent can enjoy a vacation with the kids and enjoy the vacation spot without kids too?

At this point in our lives, neither of us are seeing someone else, so that complication can be avoided: it’s not like it’d be two couples in houses on the opposite ends of a cul-de-sac or adjacent buildings in a complex, just us two parents who are devoted to our children but honor the separateness of our individual lives at this point…

hawaii kids in waves

My kids playing in the waves, Hawaii, 2008

Pipe dream and a recipe for ugly situations, or something that really can be pulled off with clear expectations?

Ever heard of such a thing? What’s your thought about this scenario?

3 comments on “Can ex’s successfully have joint vacations?

  1. I think with the right people and the right attitudes, this can certainly be achieved. My father and my biological mom doing this? Not a chance on this green Earth. My dad and his current wife, whom he is now separated from, without a doubt yes. I think if your you and your ex-wife get along, I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work out. Unless she still has hard feelings about her “worst vacation ever”.

  2. Enjoyed this article. I’m new to your site (came via Copyblogger), but since I work with kids for a living, your site, and this topic, caught my attention. Thanks.

  3. I think it sounds great!! Kids get two ‘leaders of fun stuff’ and each leader gets a break too, it’s like the equivalent of going on vacation with a nanny but the nanny is self sufficient and as invested in the kids as the parents, because you are both parents!
    I’m married but I was a single mom with my oldest before getting married and bearing my younger two kids and I think this would be great if we could all afford to go somewhere. I think living in the same building on different levels would be great too!

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