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A Mom Wants To Leave Her Daughter Behind While She Takes Her Other Kids To Disneyland Because She's Already Been

Photo: Becerra Govea Photo, Benjamin Suter / Pexels
Family at Disney

A mom wrote to Slate’s Care and Feeding advice column seeking guidance on how to handle planning a family vacation with her three kids while hoping to leave her oldest daughter behind.

The mom gave context for their family situation, explaining that she has a biological daughter, “Annie,” who’s in middle school, and two adopted children, a daughter who’s turning 10 and a younger son with medical problems. The mom stated in her letter, “My oldest, ‘Annie,’ was 3 years old when we adopted her sister and 6 when we adopted her brother.” She explained that Annie visited Disneyland when she was 2 years old and that all three kids have been to Disney World.

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The mom wants to take her two younger kids to Disneyland and leave her older daughter at home.

She attempted to justify her question with the fact that Annie has been to Disneyland as a toddler, while her other two kids haven’t. She also stated that if she takes her younger children on vacation, “we would take them during the offseason (fall) to save money.”

 Photo: Rick Han / Pexels

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“If I took Annie, it would cost more, and since Annie is in middle school it would be a lot more work to make up. Is it okay to leave Annie behind since she’s already been?”

The mom went on to say, “I know life isn’t supposed to be fair, but it seems weird to leave a kid behind, even if it’s only for a long weekend,” which makes it seem like she’d answered her own question as to whether or not it’s okay to leave one of her kids out of a family event. The financially-conscious mom signed her inquiry, “Three Kids, One Vacation.”

Slate’s advice columnist, Doyin Richards, offered clear and concise advice to the mom— take Annie along. “Assuming she wants to go, you need to find a way to bring Annie on this trip with you,” Richards stated. “Do you remember anything from when you were 2 years old? I don’t.”

Aside from what Annie might remember from her toddlerhood, at middle-school age, she’ll unequivocally remember if her mom takes her siblings on vacation without her. Richards explained that “whatever the cost would be to bring her along would be nothing compared to the cost of the resentment she would feel if you left her behind.”

'Unlike the initial trip when she was a toddler, being kept at home is something she would remember for the rest of her life,' Richards wrote.

While the price of raising children is higher than it’s ever been, kids themselves shouldn’t be made to suffer for the economic realities of how much vacation costs. Richards advised the questioning mom to “ask Annie if she wants to go, and if the answer is yes, then you need to do whatever it takes to make it happen and create memories as a family.”

The pre-teen years are a tender and vulnerable time in which kids are acutely aware of being included or excluded from social situations. While the mom is attempting to be practical and save money, she’s potentially causing emotional harm that her daughter wouldn’t soon forget. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.