As my husband and I approached our 15th wedding anniversary, we started thinking about how we had never really taken a vacation without our kids. In the nine years we had been parents we had never left for more than a night or two, and hadn’t gone more than a few hundred miles away. The idea of being much further than that from our kids just seemed too overwhelming.
We reluctantly started looking at trips because we just really felt like we needed to get away. We found an amazing 8-day trip to Costa Rica and decided to book it. Of course immediately after, I was filled with worry and guilt that we were considering leaving the kids for that long. I worried that they would just miss us terribly. I worried that we would miss a week of soccer and t-ball games. It even occurred to me that we were just being irresponsible parents in general.
I couldn’t have been more wrong! Taking a vacation without kids turned out to be one of the best things we have done in a long time. We’ve been back for less than a month, and I’m already ready to plan our next getaway. If you are like us and are unsure about leaving the kids behind while you vacation, you might be interested in these reasons I think you should go ahead and book that vacation right now:
- No one will call you Mom or Dad the entire time. While totally awesome, this might have been the weirdest part of the trip. I found myself struggling to call my husband Mike instead of Dad. A few times I even stopped and turned around when a child said “Mama.” It was strange to realize that I didn’t have to be on high alert listening for a child to call out for me.
- You have a chance to remember who you are. Remember how it was when you only had yourself and your spouse to consider? Yeah…me neither. Going on a vacation provided opportunities for my husband and I to think outside of the box and try some new things. Repelling down a 135 foot waterfall in Costa Rica was about as far from my normal “mommy life” as possible, and it was exhilarating!
- Your kids will see you placing importance on your marriage. Day in and day out I place the highest importance on my children. Their safety and happiness is my number one priority. But…I want my kids to see that their Dad and I are partners and we value our relationship. The foundation of our family is our marriage, and we have to nurture it just as we do the children. When my kids grow up, I want them to remember that Mommy and Daddy loved each other immensely and that we had a strong marriage.
- You can stay in touch with the kids easily. This was my biggest concern about leaving. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pick up a phone and speak to the kids if I needed to. With wifi access available in even the smallest towns on our trip. We were easily able to Skype or send messages to the kids. It was nice to be able to unplug completely, but we also had the option to connect back home when we needed to.
- It’s good to miss the kids. We all know that from time to time you can start to get bogged down by everyday life. You can basically just forget what a blessing it is to get to be a parent. When you are in the middle of a toddler meltdown, it is often hard to have this perspective. There were moments on the trip where I seriously missed the kids so much I thought I might cry. Who knew I could feel sad that someone else was wrangling the kids to bed in the evening? I’m not saying I’m a perfect, patient parent since we’ve returned, but it definitely helped me to appreciate the kiddos a little more. They bring so much joy to my life and being away was a great reminder of that.
- The kids need a vacation from you too. They had a blast while we were gone. They got a break from Mom and Dad fussing at their every move and got to break free from the normal routine for a week. Our kids got to have some special time with their grandparents and aunts and uncles while we were away. They had a chance to make some fun memories, and to miss us a little too. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been hugged as tight by my boys as the day we returned from our trip. They genuinely missed us and were so glad we were home.
- You will come back refreshed and ready to jump back into Mommy and Daddy mode. Unplugging from the worry of daily life left me feeling calm and less stressed when we returned. Sure the hustle and bustle was right there waiting for us, but I felt renewed and energized to tackle it all. I am now a firm believer in the power of a little grown-up time away.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting away, I hope you will go for it. If a week seems like too much, start small and leave for a few days. Trust me when I say you will not regret it.