This past weekend, I did something with my husband that I never thought I'd do…
We went on a vacation without our kids!
Every since becoming a mom over six years ago, it's been one of the biggest joys of my life. It's also become a role that has defined me (for better or for worse). I feel guilty when I am away from my kids and really minimize the number of work commitments or travels that takes me away from them. Bob and I make sure not to be away for work at the same time because we already feel bad about leaving them for work when we need to. So, we have never both left them both at the same time for fun. However, this past weekend, we took a three night trip to Maui…just the two of us!
This was us 12 years ago on our honeymoon—the last time we went to Maui. People always say that you need to make time to focus on your relationship because that's the relationship that made your children, and it's one that needs to be nurtured first and foremost. And, yes, I know that must be true. But with everything else going on in our busy lives, our relationship always came after kids, after work, after bills, after all the other things that needed more attention. That's not to say my husband I haven't given each other attention. It's just that most of the time we are pretty good. We communicate well, and we are mostly on the same wavelength. So in some ways, it felt like we didn't need to feed the relationship as much. But we did…everyone does no matter how good things seem to be. Despite knowing that my marriage needed to be nurtured, I didn't really want to go…
The reasons I almost didn't take a vacation without my kids:
1. Guilt. It feels like luxury to go on vacation. It feels like an even bigger luxury to go on a vacation without your kids. I felt guilty for doing this totally luxurious thing.
2. I worried I would miss them. And I did…miss them. A lot. But we Facetimed everyday, and I was texted regular photos of them throughout the day so I knew what they were up to and that they were okay. Of course, everything we saw and did while we were away made us think about much our kids would have loved seeing those things, too.
3. I thought my heart would collapse. Especially after last week's horrendous shooting in Florida, I wanted to hold my babies forever and never let them out of my sight. So to go away without them felt torturous.
Honestly, I would have never initiated doing this. My husband had won a vacation package at a charity auction last year and surprised me. He knew I would never do it unless he somehow made it happen without asking me. And, he was totally right. We completely needed to reconnect and redefine us…separate from our kids.
The reasons you (and I and all parents) deserve a vacation without kids:
1. Reconnect with your partner. It's not just the "sexy time" stuff I am talking about here because you can do that at home, too. It's the dinners out just the two of you with no one else to feed. It's walking around, holding hands, exploring just the two of you—without no one else to take to the potty. It's that stuff you used to do before grown-up life took over.
2. Extra sleep. Although I am well past the sleepless nights newborn stage, there are still nights when kids are sick, they need to pee, they lose their lovey, and you find yourself woken up by a small child. Or you wake up at the faint sound of someone coughing or crying on their sleep even though they are okay. Over this trip, I slept ELEVEN hours each night. ELEVEN! I maybe get 7 hours of sleep on a good night at home. I had no idea I was sleep-deprived until I just let myself sleep with no kids, house work, anything to keep me up or wake me up.
3. No schedule. Our lives are so go, go, go! We can all exist without a schedule for just a few days. We went on this trip with no plan, no itinerary, no reservations at any restaurants. We just winged it.
4. Learn that your kids will be okay without you. I worried that my kids would forget us. Or they would be upset that we left them. Or that their day and life and schedule couldn't possible go on without us. Going away helped me learn to trust they will be okay in the care of others who love them, too.
5. Reflect on how much life has changed (in a good way). When you have time one-on-one to reconnect with your partner away from your everyday life, it reminds you how far you've come (individually and together), how much you've done, what amazing kids you've created, and all the other things you have to be grateful for.
Last night, we got home late from the airport after our kids had already gone to bed. After a few nights away, I missed them SO much and had to go into their rooms and kiss their faces otherwise I thought I might burst into a million tiny pieces. My husband said that I was finally able to relax once I got home. And it's true. Being back home with my first love, back to our little loves is where I'm meant to be.
Have you guys gone on a vacation without your kids? Did you find it hard? Please tell me your ways so I can try to relax a little more next time!