It took me 8 years to take a break from parenting and go away for a weekend with my husband. The first time we went away my husband’s mom came out to stay with the kids while we reconnected, relaxed and got away from it all. Except I kinda didn’t, I was stressed and sad and felt remorse for going. I felt guilty that I wanted to get away from my kids. Since that first time, my husband and I try to get away every year if we can, although we have always been a phone call away, never venturing more than an hour from home.
This year we are going farther and longer than we ever have. We have an opportunity to go to Hawaii and I never once considered taking the kids with us. Instead they will stay with their grandparents, who are over the moon excited. Yet there is a part of me that knows the kids would love Hawaii, the beaches, the hikes, the entire experience. It is by sheer determination that I am allowing myself to be selfish and do this trip with my best friend, my husband, the guy I chose to spend the rest of my life with. I know I am going to miss the kids like mad and I will allow myself to feel a teeny tiny bit remorseful that the kids are not with us to enjoy the vacation. However the benefits of us as parents vacationing solo are so worth it and outweigh the Mom Guilt.
- A break from the pressure. Parenthood is hard. Everyday there is something to manage, influence, untangle, scoop, cook, decide, clean, organize, etc. I didn’t realize the weight of that pressure until we were away this weekend. I came back and I felt like I was stoned I was so blissful. It was so obvious I was in a different state of mind, my husband kept saying he wanted to do whatever it took to keep me feeling that way.
- Reconnecting with your spouse. My husband and I are very close, and talk constantly. However on our weekend away I avoided talking about the kids, to free up the air time for other stuff. It helps that there were no interruptions, no talking about video games and no one to compete with for attention.
- Enjoying the little things. We got to stay up late, sleep in, we listened to music in the car that we wanted to listen to, I got to go pee uninterrupted and we got to eat a variety of “adult” food. We also went for a 2.5 hour bike ride, we walked on the beach, shopped without worrying someone would break something. It was easy to remember why we got married, we are awesome together!
- The kids have an experience too. This past weekend, my three kids stayed with another family with three kids the same age. It was a giant, awesome sleepover with friends they do not get to see everyday. They got to eat different foods, sleep on the floor, talk late into the night, watch movies and be somewhere new. We had hosted the three kids in the fall and it was such a great experience.
- Making our marriage a priority. We are role modelling to our children what a healthy relationship looks like. Marriage takes work, and I think it is important for the kids to understand that. It also gives the kids an added sense of security, knowing that we love each other and are working to remain in a healthy relationship.
- Moms are people too. I want my kids to recognize that I am important too. I almost always put their needs first, and I happily do so. However, like I care for them, at times their Dad cares for me and takes care of my needs as a person.
We are all super excited to take a family vacation this summer to Ottawa and Montreal, as well as some camping trips. I think that it is important to travel with my kids as much as it is to do so without them. It will be a little more intense for me emotionally to go so far away from them when we go to Hawaii, however they will be in excellent hands. Again, the kids will get to experience staying with the Grandparents, something we live too far away for them to experience normally.
Have you taken a vacation without the kids?